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Bull City Burger And Brewery

Not Rated.
Bull City Burger And BreweryBull City Burger And Brewery
BEER AVG
3.55/5
Based on:
28 Beers
95 Ratings
Place Score: 92
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: n/a
Taps: 7
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

107 East Parrish Street
Suite 105
Durham, North Carolina, 27701
United States
phone: (919) 680-2333

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @bullcityburger

Notes:
Place added by: atsprings on 03-25-2011

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 16
Reviews by mechamifune:
Photo of mechamifune
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Kind of shocked this place hasn't gotten a review yet.... i'll do my best to give it a fair representation.

Atmosphere is very open and generally laid back. Most of the seating is communal long benches (with nicely refurbished wood), There is a relatively long bar and then a section of more normal seating. It all has a bit of the refurbished warehouse/factory that is so common in a lot of the restaurants and stores in durham.

All in all it is a nice looking place that feels pretty inviting. The crowd is pretty mixed between hipsters, families, suits, and the occasional beer geek or college student thrown in.

The way service is set up, you order at the counter, then wait at whatever seat you want and they bring you the food when its ready. If you sit at the bar you can order from there. The staff has always been very friendly in all my visits there, but I feel like the beer ordering process is less than streamline.

You can order a beer when you order food at the counter.... the problem in this for me has been that sometimes that means you get your beer brought to you as soon as you sit down.... other times i've waited 10 minutes before my beer has been brought out. Basically what happens is that your beer request is forwarded to the bartender and the bartender has to walk out, find you, and bring you the beer. If the bar is crowded, this can take a while.... if the place is empty, you'll get your beer pretty quick. Generally though, I have not had to wait long at all, and the staff have all been very friendly and the bar staff knowledgeable.

From that point forward, your best bet is just going up to the bar (rather than back to the counter) and ordering any more drinks.

On my last visit they offered 6 of their own beers on tap, and no guest taps. The beer trend towards english in style, but they have since started brewing a couple lagers (a lager and a pils to be more exact). From what I have had, i've found their esb, pale ale, porter, and smoked rye to be their most enjoyable. All the beers in general are pretty sessionable and i've not had anything that wasn't at least "ok". For the styles, I think their esb and porter are great.

The food is the real standout here.... they claim everything they serve is made in house, and based on what I have seen i tend to believe them. I've made a point of going to a lot of well known and respected burger places in my travels across the country (places like hodads in SD, and kuma's corner in Chicago, among others) and I truly believe this place matches up with them. The flavor of the meat (ground in house) is amazing unto itself, but the add ons are all of obvious quality and work amazingly with the taste of the beef. The Green Monster is a personal favorite, but really you can't go wrong with any of the burgers.

The fries (one kind cooked in duck fat, one not) and the onion rings (called onion loaf for whatever reason) are great as well. For non-beer drinkers, they offer boylan sodas on fountain, which is amazing (to me anyway.... their black cherry is severely habit forming).

Price might be a little more than you would expect for a burger place, though I think that given the quality of what is being used, it is somewhat justified. A burger and fries will set you back around 10 bucks at the least, around 13 at the most. The beers are all around the $4 mark for a pint, which is pretty good for a pint of high quality beer IMO. I did not see anything about them ever having beer specials. For those interested, they seemed to have a very nice wine selection, and one of the systems where you can purchase different size pours from a dispenser (i know this thing has a name, just can't remember it).

As a whole, this place is a great combination of quality beer and amazing burgers. The beers are made very well to style and aren't overpowering, which seems like the right way to go given the quality of the food. The place is inviting and should provide a comfortable setting for just about anyone. Also, for those with kids, they have a kids menu and a small "play area" in the corner with some toys and such for younger children. The only angle I can think of where maybe you shouldn't absolutely make a point of going is if you are both 1. only interested in beer and not food and 2. only interested in BIG or more experimental beer styles....otherwise, check this place out if you can.

More User Reviews:
Photo of aleckpa
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

I went on a Friday night at around 8:30PM and there was still a decent crowd. I was surprised by this place because I thought it was sit down, wait on, etc. Nope. You walk in, grab a menu, and order your food and beer. They give you a number, and you go sit down at either a 2-4 person table or long community tables. They also have outdoor patio with picnic style tables (even in winter with heat). They bring the food out to you, but you're not necessarily waited on.

The food is all fresh, organic, etc. The burgers delicious and the PERFECT size. Not too big, too small. Now, the beer. The beer was OK. Nothing to brag about. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't come to this place for the beer. I think the beer does compliment the burger well though.

This is an excellent social setting to have great food and enjoy some beers perhaps hitting up the rest of Durham.

Photo of SFNC
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Very good beer and interesting beers. It says volumes thatthe place was jam packed on a Monday night. The IPS that I sampled was atypical but very tasty. Well worth trying if you're in town.

Photo of Yetiman420
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Stop #437 on my world brewery tour.

Really needed to eat dinner here instead of coming late in the night. You name the "movement" in food and these guys are probably on it.

Had a noble hopped pale ale, smooth Octoberfest, and a black lager. Nothing jumped out at me on their beers. It was really cool to see all of their servers are in the Cicerone beer program.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Had dinner with a flight of beers here back in late May/Early June 2014. One thing that really stood out to me was the play area towards the back designed specifically to keep kids busy while their parents eat or drink. This is just brilliant. This should be in every restaurant and more importantly, in every brewery.

I was impressed by what I remember were lots of local ingredients on the menu and that helped to temper the seemingly higher prices and smaller portions. Yes, you may be disappointed by your portions here. But you won't be disappointed by the food.

We had the pickle chips to start and they were very tasty if far too few to feed our big group. We ended up ordering another of these. I had the burger with pimento cheese because when you see pimento cheese on a menu and it's linked to a burger you order that shit and don't ask questions. It was fire.

As for the beer, which of course is why I really decided to eat here, the lineup at Bull City was very respectable. The standouts for me were the Parrish Street Pale Ale with its tad of sweetness and a floral taste and aroma and the 27701 Durham Mild Ale with it's huge, robust flavors despite the tiny 3.5% ABV. I enjoyed all of the other beers with the one exception being the smoked rye beer that had none of the smokiness or smoked ham flavor I like in a beer and was cloyingly sweet.

I also appreciated the bench-style seating and kind of free-for-all, line-through-the-restaurant ordering system as it made me feel more than comfortable about our nutty group of children running around.

The service was fairly quick and polite, there's wine for those of you foolish enough not to enjoy beer, and an outdoor patio as well (if I remember correctly).

Overall, a great stop for us in Durham.

Photo of raleigh_blue
2.55/5  rDev -38.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 2.25 | selection: 2.25 | food: 3

I've been routinely disappointed with the service here, sometimes waiting 40 minutes to be served, including having my family of 4 have our order lost, twice. When I complained I was told, "it's not fast food" which after waiting 40 minutes felt just like being trolled.

The beer is potable. The food is on the plus side of edible with some rare glimmers of tastiness. Portion size and quality has been on a steady decline since they opened. The seating is haphazard open picnic tables that aren't bussed frequently enough and not at all friendly to parents with small children.

There are many many other better places to get a burger, including chain restaurants such as Bad Daddy's.

Photo of jerefreakinmiah
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Always enjoy coming here. Local ingredients, inventive, yet edible options on the menu. For added ambiance, you can peek into the brewery from the dining area.

The beer is good and at a good price. My favorite beer that I've tried from them so far was the Olden Horny, a cognac barrel-aged.

Parking may be hard to come by at times, but it's worth it to walk two or three blocks to hang out at the bar or on the back alley patio.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This place is great. Pretty cool vibe, when you first walk in, the bar is to the left, and you file straight through to the back of the restaurant to order. All the brewery equipment is behind glass on your right. Burgers galore, with some really interesting options. The food is great! They have 6-8 beers rotating, as well as a rotating cask. Also, there is a wine self-service station that you use a prepaid card to access. The servers are fast and polite, and you really can get in and out fairly fast despite the place being packed almost every time I've been there. Growlers for the beer are available to go. This is a great place to hit if you are in the RDU. Awesome place!

Photo of bigkingken
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Admittedly, this was the second time I’d visited Bull City Burger and Brewery. The first time I had just flown into town for a job interview. I was a bit harried, a bit worried, a bit tired, and a bit in no mood to have a swinging good time. I wrote it up, thought I had published it, and moved on. Then, a few months ago, I tried to find said review so I could give my opinion of the place to a friend in passing conversation.

No dice. It wasn’t there.

But that’s all the better for Bull City, because I was much more impressed on my second visit. Perhaps it was just frame of mind, perhaps it was ordering a burger without pimento cheese, which I don’t think I actually like very much. Whatever it was, I only have nice things to say this time around.

As advertised, this place makes everything they serve except the ketchup. And it shows. I ordered a standard beef burger topped with bacon marmalade, sauteed onions, and aioli. Yes, all of that is just as delicious as it sounds. Plus, the burger came out nice and pink and juicy and exactly how I like it. You can taste the difference in freshly ground local beef. Thus, here you can taste the difference.

The beer once again did not blow me away. Everything was fine, but nothing stood out. They did have some higher gravity options – a barley wine as well as a barrel-aged version – but both tasted mainly of alcohol with little depth or complexity. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it all and will happily return and drink it, but I don’t forsee myself taking any growlers home at this point unless they make a killer seasonal.

And finally, there’s the atmosphere. I’m not a big fan of the lining up at the counter and then finding a seat with a number for the runner to find you. It works pretty well for their limited space and likely cuts down on the number of people filling up the few alleys between tables, but it makes it difficult to know how to order a drink.

Do I go to the bar? Do I go back up to the food counter and wait in line? Can it all get on one check? If I just want a drink now while waiting for my wife before ordering food, how do I go about that? Will people give me the stink eye for taking up the end of a table with just a beer?

Perhaps with more practice I’ll figure it out, but I opted to sit at the bar and get the traditional service from the bartender, which was excellent, I might add.

In short, if/when I move to Durham, I’m living as close to this place as possible.

Photo of nc41
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What a great place for a burger and a brew. British style brews, session level ABV with tremendous flavor. The best burger's ever, can build their own. Really IMO a great lunch place, great food, they also make nice specialty drinks my wife loves. Highly recommend.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.75

I like the vibe of this place, slightly upscale for a burger place (even a brew pub) but a really nice vibe. The customers ran the gamut, people of all different ages including students, families, and professionals.

Beer was fresh, well poured, and served properly in the appropriate glassware for the style.

The bartender was really a pleasant chap and attentive without being overbearing, for the food you go to the counter to order yourself and the food just gets delivered by any server. Also, you go to the bar to order and pick up your own beers.

They only serve their own beers that are brewed in the adjoining brewery so that gave about 8 beers to choose from... They crossed a handful of styles mostly influenced from British and German styles. They had pale, golden, porter, and a couple of different barleywines when I stopped in.

Now for the food - this is definitely one of the best burger joints I have been to in the South... The food was delicious, wonderfully crafted burgers with many pre-designed combinations as well as build your own and a special burger of the day. I totally recommend the bacon and blue burger with the duck fat fries.

Prices were quite reasonable ($4.21 per pint of beer) and I would definitely recommend this place both for the food and the beer.

Photo of TheOriginal
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Outstanding brew-pub located downtown Durham. The variety of beer, along with fantastic burgers, make this place a must stop while in Durham.

Located downtown Durham parking is limited. However, I have never had a hard time finding a spot although you may be required to walk a few blocks. I enjoy the atmosphere. Walk in and you can either sit at the bar and order food and drinks, or order from the ordering station and have a seat and the food will be delivered.

The beers is excellent. Always a light golden ale and carmaly pale ale on draft. The beer is the paradigm of session ales. Lots of "light" beer but full of flavor. Constant rotation of seasonals and never disappoint. Recently had a Peanut Butter Porter on tap along with thier fantastic american barleywine winter warmer. Service is always outstanding and friendly. Cheers.

Highly recommend this place if you are near.

Photo of GJ40
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

I stopped in before seeing Elvis Costello at the DPAC. It was my first visit as I don't get up to Durham that often.

It's conveniently located right downtown. The atmosphere is open and very comfortable with a large bar on the side, table seating in the middle and the brewing tanks on the other side. They have a patio in back but I didn't make it out there.

The beer lineup is pretty typical (and pretty safe) with several beers including a Pale Ale, Maibock, Brown, American IPA and a Stout. They were all good but relatively tame.

I'm a big burger fan so the name was a definite part of my stopping in. My interest was piqued early as I started seeing burgers served to others at the bar. They have some really great options on the menu including both standard combinations and an arsenal of choices when building your own. They were outstanding! I especially like and appreciate BC's commitment to serving only local ingredients and using only NC pasture raised beef.

The guy behind the bar was very outgoing, knowledgeable and helpful (even as it got busy).

The beer alone, while good, isn't enough to bring me back (as much simply because we have so many good options in the Triangle) but given the whole package, I really like this place and will definitely make it a regular stop when I'm in Durham.

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

I had heard so many local BAs talk about this place, so I finally decided to stop in. It is exactly what they say it is. Burgers and their beer. They had 8 of their beers on tap, the highlight was a British Pale from a beer engine that I really enjoyed. Its not advertised as a bar, so guest taps are out of the question. Im not going to ding them for it, because thats not the idea.

They focus on session and authentic beers. They brew to style, and use German ingredients for German beers.

Its like an open diner from the 50s, the sound of burgers on the griddle fill the air. Great food, the duck fries are fantastic. The workers and owner are great people. They served me small samples of everything they had, served flights, and pour great pints every time. The owner took time out of the day to talk to me about his beer past, his current operation, and his future plans. He also showed me the brew house and the tanks.

For on premise brewing, the prices arent terrible, but its 4.50 for a pint.

Photo of VaterRoss
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Went here on a whim and really enjoyed it, good beer and awesome food.

The location is in downtown Durham. I went there for a late Monday lunch and the place was close to empty. BCBB is very cool on the inside with lots of brick and wood that are in harmony with the surrounding tobacco warehouses. One entire wall even offers a view into the brewing operation. Seating arrangements include long communal tables and a good sized bar, a counter in there for to-go orders (or when it gets really busy I would imagine).

The waiter was awesome and due to the less than packed conditions spent lots of time going over the menu and beer demonstrating a fairly high amount of beer knowledge: mentioned style characteristics and even compared their beers to more famous iterations of the styles. Food is somewhat expensive (not for the emerging posh downtown Durham but compared to my usual haunts) for a gourmet burger place but the beer is quite reasonable. Despite the somewhat high food price the food is awesome! I had a burger of the day and the best bloomin-onion I have ever had.

Beer is their own and they have a nice wide mix, 8 on tap, of styles from golden ale to imperial stout, even their own barleywine! I had the doppelbock (spelled "dopplebock" at BCBB) and the English pale ale, both were solid 4.0+ beers and extremely quaff-able. I really wish there was a place like this in my town.

Overall this is an awesome gourmet burger brew pub with a great atmosphere and very good in house beers at reasonable prices. I look forward to my return trip and trying more of their beers.

Photo of devilben02
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

I was finally compelled to come in to Bull City to drop off a submission for their first homebrew contest, and I am so glad I finally made the trip downtown. The place was packed during the Friday lunch rush, with a large proportion of the seats at every one of the long communal wooden tables being filled. I ordered at the counter but sat at the bar, and while I waited for my burger, I admired the warm, welcoming combination of wood and earthy paint that defined the decor. The counter staff didn't make much of an impression (good or bad), but the bartender was exceptionally friendly and informative, and chatting with her definitely improved my experience.

When my food arrived, my impression of this place improved even more so. I'm not necessarily a connoisseur of gourmet burgers, but this was one of the best tasting burgers I have ever had. The first taste alone cemented my commitment to return soon and often.

As for the beer, although they only have their own house beers available, the selection of available options should be varied enough to satisfy most tastes, and with some interesting selections being rotated into the lineup frequently alongside the regulars, there is enough to keep people coming back. Since this was a brief visit before returning to work, I couldn't sample much, but the one beer I had was well-constructed and flavorful. Overall, a great burger and a selection of fresh, well-made beer is more than enough reason for me to return to this great new addition to Durham's downtown.

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Bull City Burger And Brewery in Durham, NC
92 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.