Over the past six years, Bar Virgile has become a trendy bar in downtown Durham, and now, owner Daniel Sartain is opening a sister spot in the basement called Annexe.
The new 1,300-square-foot cocktail bar collaborates between Sartain and friend/business partner Nellie Vail. Basement bars are all the rage, and the new space promises to bring a brand unique vibe that's feminine, funky, and fun.
Annexe, open evenings and nights, affords a new option for the bustling crowds that already pack Bar Virgile. "I wish Bar Virgile could be a bit bigger, but that is part of its charm," admits Sartain. "When a space became available in the same building, I wanted to jump on it." Annexe DurhamBar Virgile has a cozy, masculine ambiance with its tufted leather, exposed brick, and Manhattan-style vibe. For Annexe, Nellie encouraged a more feminine idea by noting there aren't many bars with that foundation.
"There will be turntables built into the bar, vinyl, pink champagne on tap, snacks, exciting cocktails, and sophisticated decor–it's going to be very pretty and very fun," says Sartain. "We are dropping in a mini dance floor equipped with mirrors and a disco ball, with DJs setting up on weekends. Durham needs some energy after getting up from your dining room table or bar stool. We're going to bring that." Downtown Durham barVail, who has been in finance her whole career, enjoyed having this creative outlet and the ability to be very playful in the design of the space. "There were a lot of inspirations for Annexe that came from travels that Daniel and I have done. We spent the last few years going to some of the best bars and restaurants in the country, getting inspiration for something that we might someday want to design, which has now become Annexe," she shares. "One thing that we tried to do is put some of our personality in the space. I love little thoughtful details and funky design that isn't necessarily predictable."
Champagne and cocktail bar Unlike Bar Virgile, which serves a full lunch and dinner menu and the cocktails, Annexe will offer just a few small items to snack on, such as potato chips with caviar and creme fraiche. They will still provide the same level of quality that Bar Virgile has and playful cocktails: "Maybe some you haven't seen on a menu in years, but worth reviving," shares Vail. Bar Virgile Annexe "Something we felt Durham needed is a place to let loose, listen to music, maybe dance, but generally have lots of fun. Annexe is pretty enough to dress up but unassuming enough to pop in after work as-is for a nice drink and some quality music before heading home," says Vail.