In 2006, co-owner Fergus Bradley started renovations at 900 West Main Street, turning the former Bull City Bicycles into Alivia’s Durham Bistro. He tried to salvage as much as he could for construction – both pieces of the original building, as well as paneling and the reception desk (now a bar!) from Liggett & Myers, and mahogany benches from the old Weeping Radish Brewery. You can see how the neighborhood used to look here.
Oversized booths: From North Carolina’s first restaurant/brewery. When Weeping Radish shut its doors in Durham, we bought their Honduran mahogany booths. The enormous benches fit three to a side easily, quite possibly more if you squeeze. And with free wi-fi and power plugs, they’re great for business meetings.
Bar and Paneling: When the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company was bought out in 1999, their reception desk and walnut wood paneling had no place to call home. Until we stepped in. There’s something ironic about building a non-smoking bistro with tobacco history.
Tin Ceiling: The Art Deco movement began in the 1920s. It blended geometric shapes, bold colors, and many different materials, chiefly tin. You’ll notice our passion for this artistic movement everywhere in Alivia’s.
Garage Doors: On a trip to Seattle, Fergus fell in love with the city’s penchant for bringing the outside in. Once he found out that Alivia’s was once a garage that serviced old cars like Studebakers and Hudsons in the 1920s and ‘30s, it all came together. Today, the garage doors are all new, the outside is in, and your belly’s the only thing we fill up.
The Patio: With plenty of patio umbrellas, there’s no cooler place in town. The biggest patio in Durham has room to host musical acts, birthday parties, and fundraisers. For the chillier months, we have heaters and fire pits at the ready. Smores, anyone?
The Art: Local artist Saula Finau came up with the celebrity theme and delivered the stunning series that graces Alivia’s walls.
The TVs: Not one, not two, but FOUR high definition televisions – one outside – are on, so you can catch all the action.