106 East Main Street, Durham
If you want to run into people, there's always Surf Club, Motorco, Criterion, Alley Twenty Six, Bull McCabe's, the Federal, or basically any other bar in Durham. The cool thing about 106 Main is that it's a nice place to go downtown where no one really goes. Instead of a trendy scrum, it invites a transient-seeming crowd of Durhamites (without ever seeming crowded) to revolve through its spacious spread of pleasantly dim lamps, dark leather couches, tables, and TVs. The vibe is vague, somewhere between lounge and sports pub, with just a whiff of the airport bar. It's comfortingly low-key, a place you can take a big group after an event, drink alone in peace, or meet someone you don't know. And you'll never be lonely: owner Mike Bourquin mixes good, reasonably priced cocktails with a healthy pour and a warm, open presence.