Best of the Triangle 2022: Out & About


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Best Art Gallery in the Triangle

Art space

Finalists: Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Peel Gallery + Photo Lab Carrboro, Lump, Visual Art Exchange

Best Bartender/Mixologist in County Durham

Shannon Healy – Alley Twenty-Six

Finalists: MJ Weber – Corpse Reviver, Bear – Growler Grlz, Kacey Liebes

Best Bartender/Mixologist in Orange/Chatham County

James Peery – The Kraken

Finalists: Zach White, Elena – Nash Street Tavern, Darrick Long

Wake County’s Best Bartender/Mixologist

Joshua Self – The Blind Pelican

Finalists: Jenny – Players Retirement, Kyle Hankin – Foundation, Lucius Cyrus – Person Street Bar

Best Comedy Club in the Triangle

Good nights

My love for Goodnights is well documented in the INDY Week Archives and, I must say, it’s been an emotional year for fans of the venerable comedy club. But while we are losing a piece of history, we still have a lot to look forward to. When Goodnights turns off the lights for the last time at its longtime Morgan Street location (in this grungy, quirky 1920s Art Deco-style building that’s slated for a demonstration) on July 31, I’ll be sad, even though I can’t wait to catch future shows at its new home in the Village neighborhood. First, Goodnights will take over the former K&W space, which has now disappeared. Then, depending on how long it takes to obtain building permits and building materials blocked by the supply chain, the club will open in its final form, an 11,000 square foot lair beneath what was once the Bargain Box but will soon be a Shake Shack. Cool? Yes. Suitably wacky? Yes too. My friends, the building may be gone, but the laughter and the legacy will live on.—JP

Finalists: Raleigh Improv, ComedyWorx, Bull City Laughs

Triangle’s Best Community Event

Festival for Eno

Finalists: Drag Queen Story Hour Triangle, Beaver Queen Pageant, Centerfest, Dix Park Inter-Tribal Pow Wow

Best Draft Slinger in County Durham

Bear – Growler Grlz

Finalists: Nolan – Beer Study, Georgette – Fullsteam, Colby Singleton

Best Draft Slinger in Orange/Chatham County

Cynthia Burkins – Gizmo Brew Works

Finalists: Kacie Walker, Elena McCarry, Dave – Pittsboro Hop House

Best Draft Slinger in Wake County

Joshua Self – The Blind Pelican

Finalists: Alison Williams, Rusty – The Green Monkey, Zach Neuman – Crank

Best LGBTQ+ bar in the Triangle

pin hook

Finalists: Ruby Deluxe, Arcana, Flex

Best golf course in the triangle

Hillandale Golf Course

Finalists: Hope Valley, Umstead Pines, Pine Hollow Golf Club

Best Indoor Fun Company in the Triangle

Boxcar Bar & Arcade

Finalists: Over The Moon Playground, Bull City Escape, Dogwood Country Club

Best karaoke in the triangle

pin hook

Finalists: All King Karaoke, Flex Karaoke, Kingdem Karaoke

Triangle’s Best Live Theater Company

PlayMakers Repertory Company

Finalists: Raleigh Little Theatre, Burning Coal Theatre, Theater in the Park

Best Live Theater Venue in the Triangle

Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

Finalists: Playmakers Repertory Company, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Burning Coal Theater

Best Local Podcast


Finalists: Girls Who Do Stuff, NC F&B, The Bob and Lu Show

Best museum in the triangle

Museum of Life + Science

Finalists: North Carolina Museum of Art, Gregg Museum of Art and Design, Nasher Museum of Art

County Durham’s Best Neighborhood Bar

accordion club

“Hey bartender, let me get a roll of toilet paper.” It’s a question that never came up in bartending school, but at the height of the pandemic, the Accordion Bar had two-ply rolls for sale. Dive bar sensibilities notwithstanding, the Accordion in the NoCo district of Durham is about the closest Bull City has to an English pub. And it screams community. It’s a place where a young black man, after a meaningful conversation over beer and a cigarette with an older white man, declares that such a conversation would never happen in Brooklyn. L’Accordéon, with a white fluorescent sign that promises “cold beer” and “hot dogs” and a list of mostly locally brewed beers, is the quintessential neighborhood bar. “There’s a guy named Grant down the street doing our butchery at home,” Briggs said. “A local woman makes our Spicy Hermit Kimchi.” Accordion has a red brick interior, high-backed green wooden chairs, cylindrical lighting that once hung in a church, and a thick, worn slab of a wooden bar. There are picnic tables behind strings of cheerfully scalloped orange Chinese lanterns overhead. “We get loads of people from the neighborhood,” Brigg says. “Many of the elementary school teachers next to Cocoa Cinnamon are also regulars.”—TM

Finalists: Growler Grlz, Pinhook, Queeny’s

Best neighborhood bar in Orange/Chatham County

The Kraken

Finalists: Orange County Social Club (OCSC), Zog’s, The Belltree

Wake County’s Best Neighborhood Bar

Person Street Bar

Finalists: MyWay Tavern, The Blind Pelican, Hero’s

Best outdoor music venue in the Triangle

Red Hat Amphitheater

When it comes to venues in the Triangle, there are many I would tip my hat to, but only one who would tip theirs. Whether you’re seeing Rex Orange County for the first time or Goo Goo Dolls for the 21st time, the Red Hat Amphitheater is sure to provide a night you’ll never forget. From the lawn to the pit, this huge outdoor venue offers the ultimate outdoor musical experience in Raleigh with concession stands, stunning concert lighting, beautiful views of downtown Raleigh and an open lawn asking practically let your picnic blanket rest on it. This summer’s lineup contains a slew of genres from EDM to country to pop, so everyone in the Triangle can find at least one artist on their gig list.—HK

Finalists: Koka Booth Amphitheater, NC Museum of Art, The Kraken

Best place to dance in the triangle

The Blue Note Grill

Finalists: Pinhook, The Fruit – Durham, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival

Best place to get specialty cocktails in County Durham

aisle twenty six

Finalists: Kingfisher, Corpse Reviver, Arcana

Best place to get specialty cocktails in Orange County/Chatham

The Crunkleton

Finalists: Belltree, Bowbarr, Over There, Orange County Social Club (OCSC)

Best place to get specialty cocktails in Wake County


Finalists: Bittersweet, The Blind Pelican, SideBar

Best place to listen to bluegrass in the triangle

The Blue Note Grill

Finalists: Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, community church concerts, The Kraken

Best place to listen to blues in the triangle

The Blue Note Grill

Finalists: The Kraken, Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, Community Church Concerts

Best place to listen to hip-hop or soul in the triangle

The cat’s cradle

Finalists: Blue Note Grill, Local506

Best place to listen to jazz in the triangle

Blue Note Grill

Finalists: C. Grace, Carolina Theatre, Kingfisher, Sharp 9 Gallery

Best place to hear noise / Electronica in the triangle

The cat’s cradle

Finalists: The Fruit – Durham, Nightlight, Ruby Deluxe

Best place to listen to rock’n’roll in the triangle

The cat’s cradle

Cat’s Cradle, a small barebones gig venue in Carrboro, has made a name for itself in the music world since 1969, helping launch indie rock bands such as Superchunk, Ben Folds Five, Whiskeytown, Polvo and Archers of Loaf . If you want a cheap weekday or weekend gig with your favorite name from Spotify, Cat’s Cradle is the place for you. The place does not claim to aspire to grandeur. The sticky floor and cash-only bar make it a favorite stop for students and concertgoers, who can enjoy close interaction with their favorite musicians. The black box stage is the first stop for non-mainstream bands crossing the Triangle, including some rappers, soul singers, and noise/electronic artists. But seating is scarce, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.—JG

Finalists: Motorco, Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, Carolina Theater, The Kraken

Best place to listen to world or international music in the triangle

Duke Shows

Finalists: Carolina Theater of Durham, Cat’s Cradle, The ArtsCenter

Best place to shoot pool in the triangle

The green room

It’s late Thursday night, and the Green Room has a respectable crowd of people whose deliberative choreography around the beautiful green felt billiard tables is accompanied by the crackle of ivory billiard balls and the sounds of chalk scrick, scrick applied to the tips of the tails of the sticks. All tables in the 3,300 square foot venue are occupied and the former bar is also doing steady business. “We have good music, bad movies and good beer,” says pool hall owner Michael Dearing. “We have bad movies every night. It’s an ode to Wesley Snipes tonight. The Green Room opened in the 1950s and was known at the time as the Broad Street Sport Shop before being renamed in the 1980s. Dearing bought the place in 2005, years after starting hanging out in the venerable high school pool hall. He fell in love with the place. “People from all over the world come here and tell me how much they love this place,” he says. “I tell them, ‘Be careful. You might end up owning it. ‘” – TM

Finalists: Zog’s, Sharky’s Place, The Kraken

Best theater to see an independent film in the Triangle

The Chelsea Theater

Finalists: Carolina Theater of Durham, Rialto Raleigh, Alamo Drafthouse

Best quiz night in the Triangle

Jake’s Tomato

Finalists: Growler Grlz, Durty Bull Trivia, Hammered Trivia at Ruckus Mission Valley

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