Downtown Durham. Historic Venue. Legendary Events.
At The Pit Durham Event Venue, you'll find Southern hospitality in our lovingly restored 7-Up bottling plant in downtown Durham.
The Pit Durham was established in 2013, carrying over a decades-long tradition of authentic barbecue from its sister restaurant in Raleigh
. Over time, the popularity of our private event spaces prompted a shift. In 2022, we began serving our community as a unique venue in the heart of the bustling Central Park District.
The Pit Durham Event Venue offers an all-inclusive private event experience for weddings, rehearsal dinners, milestone celebrations, company dinners, corporate meetings, and more.
We are conveniently located within minutes of I-85, RTP, Duke University, NCCU, and RDU airport.
The venue was built in 1939 to house the Royal Crown and 7-Up Bottling Plant. It continued to operate as a bottling plant until the early 1960's. The building was vacant and in deteriorating condition when Empire Properties
purchased it in 2012. As the largest structure in the Foster and West Geer Streets National Historic District, its preservation was important to retaining the character of the neighborhood.
The repair and preservation of original materials and features was essential. The building retains its original industrial feel—from the concrete floors and steel frame windows, to the wood joist ceilings and exposed brick walls. Even the black marker scrawled on the walls upstairs to identify soft drink syrup mixtures, was preserved to provide guests a real sense of connection to the building and its past use. With the placement of the bar along that wall, drinks are still being mixed in that space!
In addition to the preservation of historic details, new mechanical, electrical, and sprinkler systems were added in the manner least intrusive to the historic building, reenergizing the structure for use for many years to come.
The common practice in the first-settled coastal plains, or what came to be known as Eastern North Carolina barbecue, was to roast split whole hogs over wood coals and anoint the crispy-yet-succulent meat with the English “catsup” of the time—vinegar enlivened with salt, hot peppers, and occasionally a dash of oyster juice for flavor.
German settlers, who later swept into North Carolina’s piedmont by way of the Great Wagon Road, established the custom of barbecuing only the pork shoulder while adding a little tomato puree and sugar to the vinegar sauce of the east. Over time, this use of dark meat from the pig’s shoulder and other meats, in combination with a sweet tomato-based sauce, came to be known as Western North Carolina barbecue.
At The Pit, we proudly carry on the tradition of wood-fired, free-range, vinegar-based, whole-hog Eastern North Carolina barbecue. We also give a nod to our brethren in the west by serving pulled pork, ribs, and beef brisket with our tangy and sweet tomato-based sauce.