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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Bypass Barbecue in North Carolina


5. Oddball Day

Bull City Records sells and trades CDs and LPs, particularly releases from indie and local bands.  

When Merge Records launched in Chapel Hill 21 years ago, the Triangle was a nascent hotbed for what would become known as indie rock. Today, Durham has musical opportunities for every preference. Start at Offbeat Music (905 W. Main St.; 919-688-7022), where owner Patrick McKenna's stock includes Carolina beach music, Piedmont blues, rockabilly, and soul. At Bull City Records, a second-floor CD and record store, ask owner Chaz Martenstein to recommend a local band worth hearing. Grab a drink at pool hall and hangout the Green Room (1108 Broad St.; 919-286-2359) and compile a playlist on the jukebox—anything from obscure Curtis Mayfield to live Steely Dan—dubbed one of the top in the Triangle last year by the alt Independent Weekly. Later, head over to the Durham Central Park pavilion to listen to live funk, world, or old-school R&B bands, playing sets every Sunday through August (5 p.m.). Stop for a wood-fired pizza at the Broad Street Café, where folk, jazz, and indie-rock musicians play five nights a week (from 8 on Saturdays; 7:30 on Sundays). Finally, settle into a leather armchair with one of up to sixteen North Carolina beers on tap or your choice of more than a hundred bourbons at Whiskey, where pianist Ryan Hanseler and jazz bands play live on weekends (7 to 10 p.m.).

Published on Jul 15, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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