The Bullpen is downtown Durham’s social district, which allows people to purchase alcoholic drinks from ABC permittees in a designated cup and walk around outside within a defined area. The Bullpen went into effect on December 1, 2022.
In September 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly voted that cities and towns in North Carolina could create their own walkable drinking district with open cups of alcoholic beverages: a social district.
The Bullpen operates from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Window clings will be displayed at each business to indicate their participation in The Bullpen.
Business has an ABC permit and will sell beverages to be taken out to the social district.
Alley Twenty Six
Aloft Durham Downtown
The Blue Note Grill
Brunello Wine Bar
Bull City Burger and Brewery
Bull City Ciderworks
Chibanga’s Neighborhood Market
COPA Latin Bistro and Bar
Counting House @ 21c Museum Hotel
The Daily Beer Bar
DPAC (select events)
Dram & Draught
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Durham Food Hall
Durham Marriott City Center
Durty Bull Brewing Company
The Glass Jug Beer Lab
Hi-Wire Brewing Company
James Joyce Irish Pub
La Mala Mexican Inspired Cocktails
Liberty & Plenty Distillery
LouElla Wine Beer & Beverage
Mateo Bar de Tapas
Maverick’s Smokehouse and Taproom
Mezcalito Grill & Tequila Bar
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Mother and Sons
Ninth Street Bakery
The Oak House
The Pit Durham Event Venue
Plum Southern Kitchen & Bar
Pour Taproom Durham
PRESS Coffee Crepes & Cocktails
Rubies on Five Points
Tobacco Road Sports Cafe
Torero’s Mexican Restaurant
Unscripted Durham Hotel
The Velvet Hippo
The Waiting Room
Weldon Mills Distillery
West End Wine Bar / West End Billiards
The Wine Feed
Business does not have an ABC permit but WILL ALLOW beverages inside.
5 Points Gallery
Arthur Murray Dance Center of Durham
The Artisan Market at 305
Blossom and Bone Florals
Bull City Records
Carolina Soul Records
Carrie Moore Interior Design
Cecy’s Gallery and Studios
Downtown Durham, Inc.
The Durham Art Guild
Durham Arts Council
Durham Bottling Co
Golden Belt Artist Studios
The He Salon
Kings Avenue Tattoo
The Magick Makers
Miel Bon Bons
Mill & Meadow
MODE Consignment Boutique
Museum of Durham History
Revel Build Co
Sherlocks Glass & Dispensary
Simon Says Dip This
Temple Studio (formerly Arrow)
Through This Lens
Urban Durham Realty
Vert & Vogue
Visitor Info Center – Discover Durham
The ZEN Succulent
Business will NOT allow outside beverages inside.
Altered Image Hair Designers
City of Durham Buildings
Durham County Buildings
Durham County Main Library
Foster Street Coffee
Gavin Christianson Bridal
Hatch Rockers Immigration
Main Street Pharmacy
Mr. Fries Man
Rock Paper Scissors Salon
Self-Help Credit Union
Three Kings Tattoo
Urban Ministries of Durham
Businesses not listed here are not participating in the social district. It should be assumed that customers can neither order, nor enter with, a to-go drink at the establishment.
Businesses located within the Bullpen can submit their participation preference here to opt-in or opt-out of the district.
A business can change its selection at any time by notifying DDI at email@example.com.
It shall be unlawful for any person to possess an open container of malt beverage or unfortified wine on any property owned, occupied, or controlled by the City or County of Durham, including parking facilities, unless that property has been designated by the city or county as eligible for the consumption of alcohol under the rules of the social district and applicable state law. Any city or county properties designated as eligible will display signage accordingly.
The Bullpen meets the following requirements in accordance with North Carolina law and the City of Durham Ordinance:
No outside alcohol is permitted within the district.
All alcoholic beverages must be purchased from ABC permitted establishments located within the district and must be consumed within the district.
All alcoholic beverages must be disposed of before leaving the social district.
Upon leaving an establishment where an alcoholic beverage is purchased, the beverage must be consumed and/or the container discarded before entering a different business that serves alcohol, unless entering a business within the social district that allows outside alcoholic beverages to be brought inside the business.
The Bullpen boundary must be clearly defined with signage posted in conspicuous locations by the city.
Alcohol must be sold in designated containers that meet specific requirements, including:
no glass containers
containers include required wording and social district logo
containers are not larger than 16 oz.
ABC permittees can only sell alcohol on their licensed premises, not elsewhere in the social district.
All North Carolina ABC rules and regulations apply.
A permittee located and selling alcoholic beverages within the social district must meet the following requirements:
The container for all to-go alcoholic beverages must meet all the following requirements:
The possession and consumption of an alcoholic beverage in a social district is subject to all of the following requirements of North Carolina law:
When a special event held pursuant to the issuance of a special event permit, issued by the City of Durham, the terms of the special event permit supersede the provisions of this article within the boundaries of the special event. Any alcoholic beverages purchased within the boundaries of the special event may not be taken outside the special event boundary, even if the alcoholic beverage is to be taken from the boundary of the special event into the boundary of the social district.
Downtown special events with an alcohol permit and selling and/or serving alcoholic beverages: Those beverages are NOT allowed to leave the special event boundary, even if the event is located within the Bullpen social district.
It is the decision of the special event permit holder to choose whether to allow social district beverages to enter the special event boundary. That decision can be made when a person applies for the special event permit with the City of Durham.
A social district is a defined outdoor area where alcoholic beverages, sold by an establishment licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, may be consumed.
The downtown Durham social district goes into effect on December 1, 2022.
Here is a map of the social district. Signage will be posted at the boundaries. Businesses will indicate on their storefronts with window clings if they are participating or not.
The Bullpen will operate seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
10 p.m. is consistent for when most special events end, and it captures the end of the dinner crowd before the nightlife activity.
Businesses can submit this form to opt-in or opt-out of the social district.
All businesses should display a window cling to indicate whether they have opted in or out of the district.
Downtown Durham, Inc. has created a logo for the social district. Businesses are responsible for ordering and managing their own approved cups. Establishments are required to indicate their business name on a sticker or printed directly on the cup. In addition, businesses must write the date and time the alcoholic beverage is served on each cup.
The City of Durham will install additional trash receptacles along the perimeter of the district, directing patrons to dispose of their cups before exiting. Downtown Durham, Inc.’s Clean & Safe Ambassadors will continue to monitor and keep downtown clean. The City of Durham does not currently recycle plastic cups.
By North Carolina law, a single patron cannot be sold or delivered alcoholic drinks in excess of:
No. Cups should be disposed of in a proper receptacle prior to exiting the social district. Alcoholic beverages must be sold by an ABC permittee located within the social district. No personal beer, wine or liquor can be brought into the social district. As of now, cups are not to be reused in the social district.
No. Only drinks purchased from qualified participating businesses within the social district are allowed. No cans, glass bottles or outside drinks are permitted within the boundaries.
Patrons can enjoy their beverage in public gathering spaces and downtown plazas, i.e., Five Points, CCB Plaza, Black Wall Street Garden, etc. Many establishments within the social district have outdoor seating options that provide seating for the patrons of their businesses.
No. Participating locations must be a fixed permanent establishment with an ABC permit for on-site consumption as outlined in NCGS 18B-904.1(a).
No. Participating locations must have an ABC permit for on-site consumption as outlined in NCGS 18B-904.1(a).
All businesses located within the social district have the option to opt-out of the district. Window clings stating the status of each business will be provided to all businesses by DDI.
No. No person shall possess an alcoholic beverage while driving a vehicle, including bicycles and scooters. An open container of any alcoholic beverage is also prohibited in the passenger area of any vehicle per North Carolina law.
Individuals who leave the social district in possession of open alcoholic beverages can be criminally charged with the City of Durham ordinance for open container of alcohol on property owned or controlled by the City of Durham and/or applicable state laws regarding the unlawful possession or consumption of spirituous liquor.
Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) and local Durham law enforcement have jurisdiction over the social district.
You can call the Durham Police Department’s non-emergency number at 919-560-4600. You can also report violations to the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, Durham County ABC Enforcement and Durham Police Department.
Note: In case of emergency, when an immediate response is needed, call 911 as usual to report the details of the crime you witness.