Over the years I heard the legendary stories about City Beverage, its amazing nachos and glorious selection of beers. But since I don't live in the Woodcroft area, there really wasn't much to take me out this way. As luck would have it, I finally had an excuse to visit this popular Durham eatery. Paired along with the Lava Lounge, City Beverage seems to be a bit of a hang-out for local students and professionals. Out front a large cement patio is dotted with metal patio tables. Inside it takes on a different feel with a large bar, open and high ceiling dining space, perfect for a casual comfortable feel. There is definitely a hipster vibe to the staff but thankfully the service is better than say, the Federal downtown. On the flip-side of City Beverage is the Lava Lounge with hi-boys, small tables and a pool table. Grabbing a seat at the bar, I scanned the menu and it looks like eclectic upscale, pub-grub. I go with the famous chicken nachos along with the spicy pork dumplings.
A tray goes by, quarter sheet aluminum COVERED in nachos and I'm thinking to myself, oh my gosh, what did I do?! Eventually my food comes out and let's just say it was puh-lenty. The dumplings was a generous serving of seven crisped won-tons and a side of peanut sauce. My nachos were big but only a large platter-ful. Overall the food was ok, but not really that impressive. The dumplings were more like fried wontons with a bit of a texture-less filling. The side peanut sauce was ok but not very nutty. Same deal with the nachos, they were covered in beans, tender sweet chicken and a smattering of cheese. Definitely spent a bit too much time under the broiler given the deep-brown color. So what can I say but City Beverage-Lava Lounge is an ok neighborhood spot in my book. Service was fine but a tinge disaffected. And the food was ok but it just felt like large quantities put together a bit sloppily. If I were in the hood, I'd stop by City Beverage from time to time but definitely wouldn't go out of my way for what could have been a GREAT experience. But I'm sure I'll give 'em another shot soon!
City Beverage - Reviewer: Ron Wen - Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars