Home » Bars, Beer

Surf Club

Posted by DID 16 Dec 2011 25 Comments

Last night was the soft opening of Surf Club – Durham’s newest watering hole. Surf Club, just a block up from Fullsteam and Motorco, is the brainchild of Rhys Botica, a partner or owner in some of the popular bars around town (Whiskey, The Federal, Bull McCabes). A rare Durham site, Surf Club is just a bar bar – no themes, no gimmicks, no food – just a well curated beer and liquor selection. It’s refreshing.


The d├ęcor is dark and lovely – which isn’t surprising as Durham’s decorating superstar Heather Garrett is behind it. Subway tiles, vintage beer signs, dark wood, leather, a single dart board – right now in its newly open state, it is still warm and inviting.

With a staff made up of familiar folks from Botica’s other establishments – Surf Club already feels like our favorite neighborhood bar. Note: Surf Club’s dark lighting means these pictures in no way do it justice.

703 Rigsbee Ave.

Article from the Herald Sun



  • Mother-in-law said:

    Awesome congratulations!
    You own the Durham scene


  • Kathryn Kingsbury said:

    Well done Rhys. Looks like you are taking over the booze scene over there. Merry Xmas to you and Heather


  • Ditchskater said:

    Interested to check it out– but it’s a little worrying how almost all the bars in this town are owned by more or less the same little group of people.


  • JNB said:

    Since this is just a bar, does it require memberships? Can you bring your child inside if they happen to be with you (you can’t at Whiskey)?


    DID replies on December 20th, 2011 at 1:21 pm:

    $1 membership for life. Not sure about kids.


    Bobby Harris replies on December 20th, 2011 at 2:13 pm:

    If an establishment sells alcohol in North Carolina but doesn’t serve food, you are treated as a private club, and memberships are required.


    Bobby Harris replies on December 20th, 2011 at 2:17 pm:

    As for children, I believe the law still stands that in a private club where liquor is being served, everyone must be over the age of 21, which I personally think is a fantastic.


    JNB replies on December 20th, 2011 at 3:56 pm:

    Yep , the membership = no kids which is fine. We were just wondering if we could pop in there with the kid in tow if we were at Motorco or Fullsteam. Thanks!


    CC replies on January 13th, 2012 at 4:30 pm:

    Haters gonna hate.


    emmy replies on September 30th, 2012 at 12:06 pm:

    So sick of parents feeling entitled to bring their kids to bars. It ruins it for the rest of us. We go to be bars to be around ADULTS. If we wanted to hang out with your kids, we’d go to the park.


    Kid Stardust replies on October 1st, 2012 at 11:19 am:

    This. Brown-bag it at the playground if you can’t get through a day’s parenting without a drink.


    TT replies on October 8th, 2012 at 11:56 am:

    You two would LOVE Charlotte. That whole city seems to hate kids for some reason.

    One of the many things I love about Durham is the fact that kids are welcome in nontraditional settings such as bars & breweries. I wouldn’t dream of bringing my four-year-old to places that are obviously inappropriate (Whiskey, Surf Club, etc.), but I love that kids are welcome at places like FullSteam. We actually stopped by Geer Street Garden one day with the kid shortly after they opened. It was pretty empty, so we asked if it was OK if the kid sat at the bar while we waited for our takeout order. The bartender replied, “It wouldn’t be Durham if there wasn’t a kid at the bar.” I realize now that statement would bring scowls from some, but it made us smile…

    don't hate kids but... replies on October 8th, 2012 at 2:24 pm:

    It’s one thing to be at Full Steam at 5 or 6 and have the place teeming with kids. It’s another to be there at 9 and have a bunch of over-stimulated, over-tired, ill-behaved children underfoot. Still, I don’t blame the kids, I blame the parents. All these Peter Pan types who can’t accept the fact that being a grown up and having kids means missing a few Saturday nights at the bar are the problem. Not their children.

    Kid Stardust replies on October 9th, 2012 at 9:29 am:

    Thinking bars are inappropriate places to bring children = hating kids? How did you conclude that?

    Nines replies on October 9th, 2012 at 1:17 pm:

    Looks to me like they were specifically saying that the fact that both don’t want kids at bars and don’t hate kids. Not sure what the problem with that is…

  • Bobby Harris said:

    The Surf Club is not pretentious, it’s dark, it’s inexpensive, and the people behind the bar are friendly. Beers are all 12 oz (draft, bottle, and can) with the exception of the Foster’s oil can. You can get a mix-it-yourself highball, but no fancy cocktails.


  • j said:

    Great another bar opens with no outreach to the local community. Afraid to attract the wrong crowd or just know they can’t afford your drinks? Yes not pretentious at all I’m sure.


    Dan replies on January 13th, 2012 at 11:11 am:



    Bobby Harris replies on January 13th, 2012 at 3:03 pm:

    When you want to open a bar, reach out all you want. Until then, you should probably let the guy run his place the way he wants too. It’s not like this is his first rodeo.


    j replies on February 8th, 2012 at 9:03 pm:

    Ya a monopoly that runs on exclusivity, great, I’ll just leave it then.


  • Snapjack said:

    Surf Club? Really? That’s the name you came up with? I’ve never been so bored but maybe I was there to early midweek. 12oz glass of beer! Yikes, why? The lights behind the bar were so bright I thought maybe I went to the police station up the road instead. Even when they were toned down they made the bar seem backlit. I can’t say as I’ll ever go back, to bad, I like Rhys and his bars.


    Mike Hill replies on January 15th, 2012 at 12:44 pm:

    You should try posting your name so that the people running the place could help you with your decision.


  • Seth said:

    Haven’t been there, but since we are kidless for the night, tonight…it’s on! Some folks on here are a little harsh. Being from NE PA and raised near the Yuengling Brewery, a cold, wet 12oz glass of beer with a shot sounds like a slice of home. Plus in PA, kids aren’t aloud in a bar regardless of age, 21 or nothing, save the VFW’s, Legion and B.P.O.E.’s. Can’t wait! Folks should ease up and have a cold one.


  • Dave said:

    Anyone know what’s going on with SC? They’re still open, right? Tried to go on Saturday, but they were closed by midnight.


    Ben replies on February 13th, 2012 at 4:49 pm:

    Duke energy power outage Sat on that corner


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