An Irish Afternoon in Downtown Durham: Bull McCabes

Though i may not be gallivanting about Eastern Africa this summer, abrim with daring tales of seeing the final installment of Harry Potter whilst combatting a bacterial infection, there are still a number of adventures to be had in my hometown. As i’m now living here as something of a qualifiable adult, i find myself branching out farther and wider than ever before in my choices of cuisine and daytime preoccupation. In a way, then, i’m starting to greet the surrounding metropolis of the Triangle* as a new friend, rather than confining myself to the old news of Chapel Hill/Carrboro (though it will forever be first in my Carolina heart).

For this reason, i thought it might be fun to do a series of blogs entitled The Hometown Tourist Series throughout the remainder of my summer on the fun, quirky, worth-seeing, and sometimes bizarre new restaurants and hometown-tourist joints i uncover. Some will be new loves and others will be old staples, but i think regardless of the longevity of our relationships it will be a good way for me to be a continuing nomad in the land of my never-stagnant youth.

Enough preamble. The title of this post encapsulates the very essence of my new most favorite place in all of the Triangle: Bull McCabes Irish Pub.

I first came to discover this delectable pub on a whim; my mother picked me up from work around 8 one night and we decided to drive until we found a new place to eat. Knowing the City Center District and Historic American Tobacco District of Durham were hotspots for good food and enticing atmospheres (and relatively un-traversed by we), the night was commenced with a scouring the streets for a place still open late-ish on a Thursday evening. We quite literally stumbled upon this low brick building on the corner of Main Street and Chapel Hill Street – a most serendipitous and delightful of circumstances.

Ever a fan of a solid English Pub and totally willing to try an Irish-style venue in the states, we entered into a dark, low-ceiling-ed, wide-walled room abundant in cheering football fans (European connotation implied, per the atmosphere). I knew the moment i saw the walls were lined with fraying book and capped off with those enormous cathedral lamps it was true love.

(i’m not sure any photo could convey how massive these are, but this is my best effort!)

And though the atmosphere to a true hole-in-the-wall is key, the food is what makes Bull McCabes unparalleled. Sure, there’s eat-able pub food, but the cuisine served at this place rivaled the stuff i consumed in the UK. Of the menu, i have sampled (or rather, unapologetically gorged myself on): bangers & mash (my favorite), fish & chips, a BLT with added avocado. All come with their great, thinly-cut and perfectly-seasoned fries. And, of course, the beer selection is vast and (i’m sure, though i have not sampled it) sumptuous.

(the fish & chips)

(my sweet tea)

(though this is a diet coke, the caption on the glas sreads: off-centered ales for off-centered people. (love!))

All in all, going to Bull McCabes is ever a treat. Having now ventured with my mom for some great whimsical maternal-themed wandering, a Sunday brunch, and a delightful evening out i’d easily say this restaurant passes for any occasion wherein you seek good food, authentic and awesome atmosphere, and a splendid time.

(evidence of food consumption being of extraordinarily high yumm levels)

Condensed McMizziview:

Price: 1.5 – 2.3 (0 being fast food, 5 being somewhere super-fancy and of multiple courses (this menu is also contingent on size of portion & time of day))             Atmosphere: 5 (0 being fast food boring, 5 being the full experience of delicious things for eyes and mouth and ears!)                                                                                        Delectability of Food: 4.3 (0 being fast food, 5 being mouth-explosion crazed-good)

Things of interest to future McCabes-ers: website; location; full menu

*for non-locals: “The Triangle” is what we Carolinians confined to the cities/greater areas of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, & questionably Cary use to refer to these very places. This is because Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill form something of a geographical triangle on a map (so clever! Bah!).

current jam: ‘mud on the tires’ brad paisley.

best thing: baskets of chocolate shared and family-growing.

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