Durham social district, 'The Bullpen', to open Thursday

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Durham social district, 'The Bullpen, to open Thursday
If you were looking to walk around downtown Durham with an alcoholic beverage in hand, legally, you will soon have the opportunity to do so come this Thursday.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you were looking to walk around downtown Durham with an alcoholic beverage in hand legally, you will soon have the opportunity to do so.

Durham's version of a social district will be in effect beginning Thursday at 11 a.m.

It has been branded as The Bullpen. Similar concepts have sprouted up across the state.

Raleigh has a near-identical version called Sip-N-Stroll.

Under The Bullpen, participating restaurants will allow patrons to leave the establishment with a branded cup, along with the time and date the alcohol was served, and go elsewhere within a certain boundary.

"The Bullpen is very exciting for us because we have a very unique business model that people want to take on the go all the time," said Rashonda Mason who operates The Slush on Main Street. "To be able to get this vibe something the city's never had, being born and raised here, I never experienced anything like this nor thought I would."

The caveat is that not all participating businesses will allow outside beverages inside their establishment. Some will. Others won't be participating in the program at all.

"We don't offer food. We're only a beverage location. So our beverages are our entire product," said Mason, who said The Slush will not be allowing outside beverages.

Several doors down at Three Kings Tattoo, artist Lucas Galliher said alcoholic beverages will not be permitted.

"The main reason is it voids our consent form," Galliher said. "On our consent form, it says that you are not under the influence of any alcohol when you get your tattoo. And if people have been drinking in The Bullpen before that, then we can't tattoo you."

Galliher, however, is still excited about the city's new program to bring more vibrancy to downtown Durham.

The Bullpen will end each night at 10 p.m.

Businesses will face fines and punishment if they do not abide by the new rules, which were unanimously voted on during an Oct. 16 Durham City Council meeting.

"I think it's exciting to bring a little more nightlife, social aspect to the city," said Durham transplant Mike Bauders. "I spent a lot of time in Las Vegas where you can wander around with drinks. And so, I'm kind of used to it. But yeah, whether it's good or not, we'll have to wait and see."