Durham >Food & Dining > City Beverage
4810 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC | Directions 2770735.921656 -78.958638
Mon. - Sun. 11am - 2am
gourmet food at a reasonable price, great retro atmosphere, ever-changing menu – "City Beverage" is a gem amoung the countless chain restaurants of the Triangle. Its unique retro style makes for an entirely unusual dining experience. What surprised me most though was the diversity and quality of the food. From appetizers to entrees, soups and salads to sandwiches, every menu item features truly gourmet ingredients in refreshing combinations. Sandwiches feature freshly sliced buffalo mozarella or other exotic cheeses, along with generously thick, high-quality cold cuts or other unique ingredients. Salads feature hearty mixed greens and fresh veggies (no iceberg lettuce here). City Beverage even fries up its own homemade potato chips, which are deliciously seasoned to perfection! For $8 you can get a truly gourmet sandwich and chips, the likes of which rival any Fosters' or Fowlers' fare. You can also choose from several great dinner entrees like steak or pork tenderloin. The turkey burger topped with sliced granny smith apples and brie is delightful, and the coffee-bar selections are of quite high quality and taste. And with so many beers on tap, a full bar with many martini choices, and a great coffee-bar, there's a beverage offering for everyone (hence the restaurant's name).
The footprint of the restaurant is a bit small though, and it's often tough to get a table on busy evenings. There isn't much of a waiting area either, so be prepared to wait outside or just stand around in the doorway and obstruct traffic. That said, the food is worth the wait! I've found the service to be quite good as well. It's also a great place to stop in for a drink, either at the indoor tiki-like bar or on the heated outdoor patio. Good things come to those who wait, but for the truly impatient who refuse to wait for a table, I recommend that you try City Beverage on a weeknight, or even for lunch on the weekend. You'll be very glad that you did!
Lack of service and long waits for food a constant problem – We've made many trips to City Beverage over the last year because the positives of this restaurant are so appealing: A innovative menu of good food, a comfortable, entertaining environment and decor and their patio seating has been a big draw.
But over the last six months every time we go there, we vow not to go back for two reasons: There is usually not enough wait staff or those who are there just can't handle the guests. Waiting for food to arrive suggests they don't have enough kitchen staff or their kitchen processes aren't efficient enough to keep up. If you go there, it is very likely you'll see either or both of the following: patrons getting up and going to the bar to get more drinks (carrying drinks to their table outside) and/or guests walking inside to find out where their food is after a considerable amount of time.
If we are so frustrated with this place so much, why do we go back? Desperation and hope that they've fixed things. City Beverage is in an area where good, independent restaurants with unique food are hard to find. MOst of the stuff nearby is chains with the usual selection or local places of poor quality food. City Beverage offers good food, they just have a very hard time delivering on it.
All you want in a restaurant – Love, love, love City Beverage!
The food is amazing- a pleasure to the eyes as well as the mouth and worth every penny. You may think a burger sounds good, but you can get a burger anytime- go for the pork chop or the lamb- you will never find their likes anywhere else.
My husband and I have eaten here two or three times a month for the past year and a half. The wait staff are delightful and provide great service. (I have to wonder if others who criticized the service may not have been very kind themselves.) Most of them are well educated and fun- weve had a ball getting to know them. The size and quality of the restaurant mean you will have to be flexible- they know best how to run the restaurant and they do a great job!
Don't go in on a Friday night and expect to be seated right away- this place can be very busy so relax and enjoy a drink at the bar while you wait. Because the restaurant is small, they have difficulty accommodating large parties so we recommend heading in no more than 4 in your party for dinner.
Poor poor service – Horrible customer service. I really want to support this place, because the atmosphere and food are good, and the location is convenient for me ... but rude service every time. I just don't have pleasant experiences there. They ignore you, starting with the moment you walk in the door. If the wait staff were nice, I would be a big fan. It's easy to be 'armchair quarterback', but the owners really need to think about this (this is hardly the first review to comment on poor service). You go out to dinner for good food that isn't cheap, you want to be treated nicely. period.
Great food and a lot of fun – City Beverage has a little bit of everything. I've had almost all of the appetizers at some point, and they've all been good. I particularly like the beef satay, as well as the queso, but the homemade chips are always served warm and are a steal at that price. The salads and burgers are all reasonably priced, and they all go well beyond typical bar fare. The grilled chicken salad is a personal favorite; the greens have always been top-quality, the salsa and vinaigrette are fantastic, and it's topped with a very generous amount of chicken and served in a HUGE bowl. As for the entrees, they are a little more expensive, but they're far from overpriced. The stuffed pork chop is great, and diners in my party have been very pleased with the pasta and seafood entrees they've ordered. The desserts don't change often enough for my tastes, but they've always been satisfying- try the key lime pie if it's available.
I think the service at City Beverage is a strength; the waitstaff is small and there's little turnover, so they'll know you after a few visits. Just don't go on a Wednesday night after 8:00 or so and expect a quiet, romantic evening. Wednesday night is Trivia Night, and because City Beverage is pretty small, it gets VERY crowded. There's a reason for that- the questions are well-written, the moderator is a lot of fun, and the "missing links" will get you hooked (if you're not tearing your hair out trying to figure them out). The trivia starts at 9:30, but it usually starts to get busy at 8:00 or 8:30, and gets a little crazy by 9:00.
So if you're out for great trivia and fun, leave the kiddies at home and come on a Wednesday night. If you want terrific food- AND SERVICE- at one of Durham's hidden gems, either come early on Wednesday, or go any other day they're open. You won't be disappointed.
Horrendous Service, Rude Staff, Overpriced Food, Bad Trivia – I don't know how this place stays in business. When my family arrived and asked for a table outside, the hostess looked utterly confused. She then went outside and hasseled the people who were joining us for dinner who had already sat down at our table. After we were seated, it took 20 minutes for the one waitress to come to our table. After we ordered an adult meal for our 3 year old, she informed us that they had a kids menu that the clueless hostess did not bother to give us. Be sure to order 2 drinks at a time as it takes about an hour to get anything from the bar. After my husband asked for the check, it took the waitress twenty minutes to bring it to our table.
Excellent Food – My wife and I just had dinner outside with our two children. My turkey burger was outstanding. I swapped the homemade chips for a side salad and found the salad to also go well beyond my expectations. When I got a chance to sample my daughter's homemade chips I found them to be among the best I've ever had at a restaurant. My wife gave the thumbs up to her fish taco (I think that's the official name) as well. We'll be back. The only two complaints we had were flies attacking our food and the use of processed cheese on the kids ham and cheese sandwiches. I'm not sure what can be done about the flies but we'd love to see an upgrade to the kids meal for our highly discerning children. Oh... Try the pear cider. It's a very nice summer alternative to beer but there are many good beers on the list to sample as well.
Cool Place – I love City Beverage. It's one of my newest favorite "neighborhood" spots. I love the menu - it's really rather eclectic and I've never had a bad meal there.
The service leaves a lot to be desired. It seems as if they are always either shortstaffed or those that they have waiting tables are a bit preoccupied and/or just not that great at the juggling demands of being a service staff.
The bar is great and the drink specials are cool too. Again, it's one of my favorite watering holes, restaurants, places to surf the net - all of the above.
Hopefully, the chef's good qualities will rub off on more of the waistaff and make it a totally worthwhile dining experience!
Funky fun – One of our favorite places in town - a cool funky atmosphere and tasty food. Try the homemade chips with gorgonzola sauce. They have very reasonably priced sandwiches and salads and well as a few more pricey entrees. Something for everyone! The outdoor patio is great when it is nice out.
You may have to wait for a table, so get there a bit early and have a drink at the bar!
City Beverage-Don't let the name deceive you! – City Beverage doesn't always hit the target, but they do often. Plus, I love, love the atmosphere. The red and purple walls, the lamps made from bowling pins, the hurricane glasses hanging from the humongous polka dots on the ceiling. Enjoy the bucket seats that pull you in and keep you feeling trendy and comfy.
I' can't really recommend the calamari. There wasnt enough batter and what was there was too lightly fried, resulting in a limp presentation and texture. The accompanying cucumber and garlic dip was a bit tangy, but overly flavorless.
The drinks are fabulous. Especially the key lime martini. It tasted just right without any actual lime juice.
For dessert, we had the chocolate creme brulee. I was expecting a warm dish, but found one lightly touched by heat yet cold at its core. It was a great combination and made every bite interesting.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of City Beverage on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.