What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Heading to a Duke football game? Check out these spots

Posted September 19, 2012
Updated June 11, 2015

Everyone always combines football and tailgating, but there are tons of other places around Wallace Wade to check out for a bite to eat or a drink when taking in a Blue Devils game.

Here are some great spots to check out no matter what time game time is. With Homecoming Sept. 22, there's sure to be a lot going on!

It's essential to get a good meal in even if you are faced with a noon kickoff. So on the way to the stadium stop at Mad Hatter Bakeshop & Cafe for delectable pastries or brunch. From scones to muffins, pancakes to eggs Florentine this spot will satisfy any early morning craving.

Brunch is served from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. With their great breakfast options they also serve sandwiches and wraps, like a Wasabi Salmon wrap or Italian Grinder. Don't forget you can load up on cookies or cakes for the tailgate – call ahead and special order them complete with your team's logo!

Elmo's Diner Durham Elmo's Diner

Another awesome spot for early grub is Elmo's Diner. I love this old fashioned diner and apparently so does everyone else as they win dining awards every year. It's quaint and quick, ideal for a good bite before the game. They have an extensive menu and open at 6:30 a.m., serving breakfast anytime!

My favorite is the Greek Grilled Cheese, a Greek pita with all the fixings plus extra cheese and served warm. All the flavors melt together for a perfect combo. If I'm going for breakfast I'm grabbing Banana Pancakes or a Western Omelet.

Now brunch is great and all, but it's Saturday and there's more than just the Duke game on. If you're like me, you want to see as many football games as you can, so here are a few sports bars close to Wallace Wade.

The Satisfaction Restaurant & Bar in Brightleaf Square has 28 Big Screen HDTVs fully equipped with the ESPN Gameplan for college football. They offer indoor and outdoor dining, plus they have a private dining area available for reservation. Perfect to get your crew together before or after the Duke game.

The converted Tobacco warehouse has high ceilings and a wood interior so it's spacious and accommodating for a crowd. They have some of the best pizza in town and an impressive beer selection, 16 on draft and 84 by the bottle.

Devines: Duke's unofficial sports bar Devines: Duke's unofficial sports bar

They say if it's Duke Sports and it's on TV, there's a good chance you can see it at Devine's. Located on West Main, the restaurant has been around since 1978 and claims to be the Duke Blue Devil's unofficial sports bar. Sounds pretty perfect for a Duke fan! I've even heard that outside of Cameron it's the best place to watch a Duke basketball game.

And to celebrate Duke's homecoming they are having a party starting at 11 p.m. with live entertainment, lots of giveaways, including a Vegas trip, and drink specials. So come by, grab a pint, some good bar food and enjoy the atmosphere with your fellow Duke fans.

With half-price apps on Saturday's you can pick your poison without killing your pocket at Charlie's Pub and Grill. I recommend the Loaded Charlie's Chips (bacon and jalapeno pepper's? a no-brainer) or Fried Green Beans (the spicy remould sauce on them is delicious).

There are tons of TVs and oftentimes a band. The kitchen is open late so head on over after the game to satisfy your hunger pangs and celebrate the Blue Devil win with plenty of beverage choices.

The Washington Duke Inn is easily the closest spot to Wallace Wade, and if you're looking for a more upscale dining experience or a fancy cocktail this is the spot.

Washington Duke Inn

I have spent many an afternoon on the outdoor terrace with a cucumber martini watching the golfers tee-off on the Duke University Golf Course. Between the Fairview Restaurant and the Bull Durham Bar there are plenty of options.

Fairview offers a piano brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and then dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. Indulge in some of the finest southern fare, Shrimp & Grits, Corned Beef Hash and Eggs, or Sweet Tea Grilled Ashley Farms Chicken - you won't be disappointed.

The Bull Durham bar offers a smaller bar menu from 11 a.m. to midnight but smaller doesn't mean it's any worse. The fireplace and golf course view make for great scenery, and the cocktail list is extensive. With beer, wine or the finest mixed drinks you're bound to find something satisfying to whet your palate.

Last but not least, The Federal. According to Deja Mi CEO and self-acclaimed foodie Justin Miller this is "a good spot that is a step up from your normal bar food with a nice patio". Don't let the food menu fool you, featuring Grilled Quail or Beer Braised Pork Carnitas. If you walked up on the place you may not venture in. Take our word for it, it's worth a stop.

What are your favorite game day spots?


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