The Pinhook is a bar, club and live music venue located in downtown Durham, NC. Beyond providing a space for concerts, dance parties, karaoke, hanging out, trivia and socializing, its mission is to provide a safe community space, particularly for the local queer and progressive community. The space has played host to a diverse range of acts, from small town shows to internationally renowned names. Mount Moriah, Shirlette Ammons, Sylvan Esso, The Dodos, Big Freedia, the Mountain Goats and Andrea Gibson have all performed in the space, just to name a few.

The Pinhook's website describes the space as "Durham’s premiere venue for live music, dance parties, basic chilling, and collaborative/creative events. We are a safe space for LGBTQI folks, POC groups, punks, lawyers, cyclists, trivia nerds, and everyone else."

Courtesy of Jennifer Yin


Kym Register, Durham native and front woman for Loamlands, founded The Pinhook with two friends and business partners — Liz Tulachanh and Nick Williams — in November of 2008. The bar first opened its doors on Election Night of that year, and an “Obama ‘08” poster hangs on the wall in commemoration of opening night.

Though they had little experience in owning or operating a bar, the trio decided to open The Pinhook after their favorite hang out spot in Durham closed down. The group felt that no other bars in Durham were as welcoming or appealing as their newly-closed favorite, so they decided to build themselves a replacement.

“(We) love Durham and wanted just a simple and good bar-music venue — run by kids like us, for kids like us,” Register said in a 2011 interview for Triangle.com.

For the past seven years, the bar has been a site for live music, dance parties, trivia, karaoke, open mic nights, and the occasional drag show.

The Pinhook takes its name from an early 1800’s Durham-area settlement of the same name. The Pinhook settlement was a known magnet for “questionable characters,” and was defined by a few key activities: drinking, gambling, and brawling. It was a place where “natives and visitors met to have a rough, roaring, and to them, glorious time.”

“We’re happy to uphold select quirks and values of the old Pinhook Grog Shop, and hope to make just as big of a historical spas on present day Durham,” their website reads.

Courtesy of Paco Scott


Monday - Saturday: 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Sunday: 5 p.m. - 12 a.m. 

Contact & Location

Email: [email protected]

Address: The Pinhook
117 W. Main Street
Durham, NC 27702


Toro y Moi, courtesy of The Pinhook and Ashe Crowe