Discover the Durham Gay Scene | Gayborhood

Durham's Gayborhood

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Gay Durham – Getting to know this friendly and progressive city 

Durham has been described as a “center of liberal thought” and this very charming university town lives up to its title. Long a bright spot of research, progressive attitude and liberal politics, the city boasts a comfortable scene for gays and lesbians.

Named the “Most tolerant city in the US” by The Daily Breast/Newsweek in 2012, Durham’s tolerant attitude owns in part to the college students and academics and the many tech and medical employees who have moved here. Boasting numerous community organizations and one of the largest concentrations of lesbians in the South, Durham is one of the best places in the U.S. for LGBT people to visit and even relocate. The Ninth Street is one of the largest gay-friendly districts in the state.

An open and friendly city, Durham is a terrific destination for the gay traveler, with plentiful offerings of theater, arts, festivals, music, and dance. Even though there is no designated gay district, most clubs, bars, and restaurants are very welcoming and describe themselves as “gay friendly”. There aren’t too many gay establishments, but they cater to all ages and types and there’s usually something for everyone here. In addition, most bars and nightclubs are located within a five minute walk.

Durham is also home to the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which is the second largest gay film fest in the Southeast.

Whether you are looking for an affordable entertainment hub, for a blooming business center, or for a thriving lesbian scene, look no further than Raleigh.


The BarThe Bar

Nestled in the heart of Old North Durham, in a building that has served as a LGBTQ home base for two decades, The Bar is a popular gay hangout. Melding a “neighborhood bar vibe” during weekdays with a “club attitude” on Fridays and Saturdays, the bar is a great place for after work drinks and late-night fun. Whether you want to watch the game, play darts, or dance, the bar is one of the best entertainment venues in Durham.


The PinhookThe Pinhook

Gays, straights, punks, lawyers, hipsters, and creative types gather at The Pinhook for cheap drinks, live music, and dance parties. Billed as Durham’s premiere venue for live music and creative events, this gay watering hole is a place where natives and visitors alike meet to have glorious times.


Mt. Fuji Asian Bistro & Sushi BarMt. Fuji Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar

Advertised as the best Asian restaurant in the Triangle and Durham’s best sushi bar, Mt. Fuji served traditional Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine. Located in Brightleaf Square, in a unique location that blends classic Asian ambiance with DJs spinning Top 40 hits, Mt. Fuji is a local favorite.


The Regulator BookshopThe Regulator Bookshop

With more than 30 years of experience selling regional books and local magazines, The Regulator Bookshop is more than a common bookstore, is a Durham institution. Located on bustling Ninth Street, The Regulator has an impressive selection of books you can find elsewhere.


Ameila CafeAmelia Café

Located in the heart of Brightleaf Square, Amelia Café serves homemade desserts, gelatos, and authentic French crepes in a charming and mellow atmosphere. In addition, Amelia Café also features an After Dinner Drinks menu, with more than 50 options from all over the world.



Elmo's DinerElmo’s Diner

A local favorite, Elmo’s Diner serves traditional comfort food and breakfast in a comfy and unpretentious environment. The food here is made from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients. The soups are homemade, not “instant” and desserts are baked in their kitchen. Boasting a true dinner ambiance, Elmo’s Diner is a popular eatery on Ninth Street.


Watts GroceryWatts Grocery

Named after old Watts St. Grocery, a favorite stop for candies and snacks of chef and owner Amy Tornquist, Warrs Grocery is a popular Durham dining spot with a unique take out on North Carolina cuisine. Featuring a mix of classic favorites and Carolina tradition, Watts Grocery’s menu is best defined by seasonal and locally grown ingredients. Their menu change seasonally, so check out their website for further information.


Davidson Village InnDavidson Village Inn

Whether you are looking for a charming inn for your romantic getaway or for a convenient location for your business trip, look no further than Davidson Village Inn. Located right in the heart of downtown Davidson, this elegant bed & breakfast offers an inviting Southern environment for families, couples, students, and more. The Davidson Village Inn has 18 guest rooms, all featuring high-speed Internet, hair dryers, iron and boards, and private bathrooms. Breakfast is served each morning and includes fresh fruits, cheese, eggs, yogurt, and locally baked goods.


Homewood SuitesHomewood Suites

Conveniently located, just a short drive away from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and within walking distance of shops, bars, museums, and other attractions, Homewood Suites is an ideal lodging option for travelers visiting the Raleigh-Durham area. Their spacious, well-appointed guest-rooms feature all modern facilities, such as Wi-Fi, refrigerator, and HD TVs. Fitness room, a Kinetics Health Club, outdoor pool, and grills and barbeque areas are some of the other amenities offered by the hotel.


Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bake ShopMad Hatter’s Cafe and Bake Shop

The Mad Hatter is a bakery and café located on Main Street, right next to Duke’s East Campus. Serving homemade cookies, brownies, cakes, and cupcakes, the Mad Hatter is the perfect place for a quick sweet treat. In addition to their wide array of sweets, this charming neighborhood bakery also serves breakfasts, sandwiches, salads and specialties.


Morgan ImportsMorgan Imports

Whether you are looking for gifts, furniture, dining, and kitchenware, holiday decorations, or fashion accessories, you will find everything you need at Morgan Imports. Located on Gregson Street, at Peabody Place, Morgan Imports is the perfect place for finding tradition items or something unique.


Nordstrom Streets at SouthpointNordstrom Streets at Southpoint

Nordstrom is Durham’s go-to place for fashion and beauty items. Featuring a large selection of brands, fashion, and accessories boutiques and beauty shops, this popular shopping mall has everything a fashionista wants.


Nasher Museum of Art at Duke UniversityNasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher Museum opened in 2005 as a major center for the arts on Duke University’s campus and in the surrounding Research Triangle area. The museum organizes and presents leading-edge exhibitions that travel to institutions worldwide. The museum’s contemporary collection features a growing list of artists, including Barkley L. Hendricks, Christian Marclay, Wangechi Mutu, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. More than 100,000 people visit the museum each year.


Vin Rouge RestaurantVin Rouge Restaurant

One of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in The Triangle serves delicious French cuisine in a Southern France ambiance. Set in a warm and mellow environment, this French bistro is perfect or intimate dinners. You will find it pretty hard to choose something from their vast menu – goat cheese tarts, house made pates, seafood specials, steak frites, and succulent roasted chicken. Whatever you eat, make sure to save some room for their delicious crème brulee or chocolate mousse.



A Cuban eatery in Downtown Durham, Revolution is the go-to plates for a small plate before a night out or an event. Featuring both small plates and entrée-seized portions, Revolution offers a cozy dining experience. The restaurant also has a bar, which boasts a well-rounded list of wines and cocktails.