Review of Bar33

By Harry Flannery

Durham nightlife’s newest addition is Bar33, the undeniably cool prohibition-era speakeasy bar. Situated on Neville street on the first left turn after Loft, it is deliberately mysterious. While Klute is home to an assortment of waifs and strays, Bar 33 requires you to know the door code to gain access. Admittedly this is available to anyone that is able to utilise the interne, however, it does give it an air of pseudo-exclusivity. 

Inside it its no different. On entry you are greeted by a bar that stocks a vast array of drinks and, as I am reliably informed by Brooke the Bar manager, “a selection that no other bar in Durham offers”. For the more alternative amongst us there’s a large selection of craft lagers including oddities such as ‘Curious Brew’ and ‘Camden India Hells Lager’. There is also a plethora of relatively reasonably priced cocktails and a less reasonably priced smattering of champagne if you’re looking to splash the cash.

These classy beverages are accompanied by classy surroundings. While the frontage may be somewhat dubious, walking through the inconspicuous black door transports you to a bygone era of leather bound chairs and wood clad walls. Bar33 has really run with the speakeasy/prohibition theme and has not looked back, in fact it feels like at any moment Rebecca, the University Police liaison officer, is going to burst in and have the place shut down. We can only hope her internet skills are lacking and she doesn’t find the code to the door.

If your idea of a perfect evening is being perched behind a sticky bar drinking lukewarm Foster’s (sounds pretty good to me) then this may not be the place for you. However if you’re looking to add a touch of class to your Durham night experience you can’t go far wrong here. Brooke the manager adds that Bar33 is about “really tasting and experiencing alcohol”, which makes a difference from your average Loveshack evening where your beverage is usually accompanied by a gag and your ‘experience’ tends to involve avoiding a DU rugby player’s projectile vomit.

With plans for live Jazz evenings and a closing time of 2am, Bar33 is a real alternative for those wanting to avoid the cheesy music and sweaty venues that can be found elsewhere in the bubble. With high quality drinks and demure surroundings, Bar33 may not have been a bar Durham asked for but it is definitely a bar Durham needs.

Photograph: Sam Howzit via Flickr

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