Just in time for the NCAA tournament, Durham bargoers can take shots while taking in some hoops.
Jared Resnick, owner of West End Wine Bar in Durham and Chapel Hill and The Cellar in Raleigh, has opened West End Billiards, an “upscale sports playground” where customers can drink, watch TV and play bar games, such as pool, darts and basketball.
“It’s not the kind of sports bar where a bunch of guys in sweatshirts show up,” said Resnick, who aims to offer a space that’s nice and makes both men and women feel welcome.
Along with six pool tables, shuffleboards and dartboards, West End Billiards has two regulation bocce courts that are made with high-density foam, covered in hand-packed Chapel Hill gravel and have white ash benches and scoreboards made from black walnut.
“There’s a bounce to the dirt so that gives it a great playing field,” Resnick said. “It plays really nicely.”
The sports bar also has a regulation basketball hoop where customers can shoot free throws or challenge each other to a game of H-O-R-S-E. On a board at the bar, Resnick is also keeping score of who’s made the most consecutive free throws. So far, 15 is the number to beat.
Customers can play games by the hour, and the cost goes up after 5 p.m. Prices range from $2 an hour for daytime bocce to about $9 for nighttime pool. Basketball is free, Resnick said.
Along with the games, West End Billiards serves what Resnick calls “classic cocktails” that are mixed the way they were originally created. Daiquiris are made with rum, lime juice and sugar; gin gimlets are gin and fresh-squeezed lime juice. West End also offers three draft and 10 bottled beers, along with red, white and sparkling wines.
Beers are about $3 to $8; wine is about $9, and cocktails start at $7, Resnick said.
The 3,400-square-foot West End Billiards is a private club and doesn’t have a kitchen, but customers can order handmade pizzas from West End Wine Bar, which is in the same building. Resnick said he also wants to eventually add some other foods.
But Resnick hopes he’s bringing something special to downtown Durham.
“Durham is just awesome,” Resnick said. “There are so many fantastic places. This is just one more space that’s going to add to an already amazing downtown.”
West End Billiards is at 601 W. Main St., near West End Wine Bar in the Walker Building.
Co-owner Zack Medford said the landlord “signed a lease with different people and went in a different direction.” Pete Gillis is creating a new concept in the space and has signed with the owners of Glenwood South’s MYST and 606 Lounge nightclubs, according to a press release.
As a way to thank its customers, Isaac Hunter’s is hosting a farewell party March 29 and having a cookout with burgers and hot dogs the next day.
Medford, who also co-owns bars Paddy O’Beers and Coglin’s on Fayetteville Street, wants to stay connected to the community after the bar closes.
To do that, he will continue to participate in some of Isaac Hunter’s charity events that include the June Triangle Breakfast Club’s Capital Cornhole Classic benefiting the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s BackPack Buddies program.
Medford also hopes he’ll be able to eventually reopen the bar.
“We want to find the right space, the right landlord, and maybe buy a building,” Medford said. “In the next few years, it’s definitely a goal of ours.”
Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern is at 112 Fayetteville St.
The place will offer items such as North Carolina pulled pork barbecue, St. Louis-style pork spare ribs, beef brisket, smoked chicken and turkey, sausage, baked beans and peach cobbler.
City Barbeque will hold a grand opening April 12 at 11 a.m. that will include a barbecue sauce competition and meat samples. The restaurant will be at 1305 Kildaire Farm Road.