Location - West End Wine Bar (601 W. Main Street, Durham NC)
Overall Rating: 3
Recommended for: First dates, drinks with friends and family.
Interestingly enough, when I went to West End a few weeks ago for a first date, I asked my date if he had any favorites on the wine list as he had chosen the date location (and also because he wasn’t making conversation). His response was that he doesn’t like wine, and he proceeded to order an Italian beer.
Anyway, it was a nice night, so I asked if we could sit outside. There were two other groups seated outside; one, a couple on a date (clearly not a first date, as they proceeded to make out a little bit later – though, I do suppose it could have been an AMAZING first date) and the other a pair of friends catching up. The PDA going on next to us was a little distracting, but it’s definitely not West End’s fault. Generally, I enjoy people watching when I’m out in Durham. Really, it’s one of my favorite pastimes anywhere, but there’s almost always something or someone fascinating to watch in Durham, more so than other places.
Except there is never any good people watching to be had at West End.
This has been my chief complaint in going there over the last few years. I love wine, so I want to love West End. Their hummus plate is pretty decent (it’s not the best I’ve ever had, but I generally don’t go to a wine bar for food; it’s good and gets the job done, keeping me satisfied without stuffing me so that I still have room to enjoy my
second glass of wine) and I’ve enjoyed a few other small plates there from time
to time. They have a great selection of wine and I always get to try something
new. But for whatever reason, the people who frequent there (except for
my fabulous group of friends and myself, naturally) are just…well, they’re
there. And that’s about all I can say. I can’t relate one funny story (that my
friends and I didn’t create ourselves) or recall one funny moment I witnessed
at West End, and while I know that those things are far from requirements for a
first date, it is nice to have a decent crowd of interesting people around to
comment on, in case the date goes south. I also can’t recall meeting and
talking to any interesting people there, which if nothing else is a given in
almost any bar or night spot in Durham. I’m not sure why people don’t frequent it
more, but there seems to be a drought of young and lively folk there. Sigh.
However, I do know that I will periodically go back anyway, hoping, wishing, dreaming that I will find amazing wine AND a lively time in one place.
So, I give West End three stars out of five. It is by no means a bad place for a date, but it’s not particularly noteworthy or amazing either. (Especially if you don’t like wine!)