Durham’s bustling Rigsbee Avenue is adding another bar to its dance card: Earlier this week, popular Asheville brewery DSSOLVR announced that it is opening a Durham taproom on the corner of Rigsbee and West Corporation.
DSSOLVR opened its brewery in Asheville in 2019 and over the phone, co-founder and marketing director Michael Semenec told INDY Week that ownership is hoping for a “late summer” opening in 2023 for the Durham taproom.
From the start, the business has had ambitions beyond its original brewery concept.
“There’s a reason it’s not Dssolvr brewing company; it’s just Dssolvr,” co-founder Vince Tursi told the Asheville Citizen Times in 2019. “We don’t see ourselves only drinking beer for the rest of our lives. At some point, the brand needs to continue growing and breathing.”
And opening right before the pandemic, Semenc tells the INDY, hasn’t stopped the business from “growing and producing some of the most experimental and surreal beers in the state.”
“We are offering your typical hazy IPAs and fruited sours, but to bolster our portfolio we’ve also dabbled with old-world styles as well,” he says. “We have amazing lagers and pub ales. Now, a bigger part of our portfolio even offers wine, mead, and ciders. We’re trying to really bring a great experience to all of our establishments—if you want something, you’ll most likely be able to drink something at any of our spots.”
Semenc and Tursi got the keys to the new space at 321 West Corporation Street just this week. The 2,500-space sits on the ground floor of the mixed-use Atlas Building, which was completed in February 2022 and also houses 171 studios and apartments that range from $1,325 (the 387-square-foot “Daisy” studio) to $2,800 (the two-bedroom, two-bath “Walter” apartment). Access to amenities like DSSOLVR is built into Atlas’s branding outreach: On its main landing page, the development features a graphic stating that the building is a “4 minute walk to CoCo Cinnamon, 70+ Arcade Games at Boxcar, and 12 breweries located in and around downtown.”
This particular stretch of Rigsbee, past Durham Central Park and down the hill into Old North Durham, has seen numerous high-rise developments go in over the past few months; the block makeup is now almost entirely comprised of apartment buildings and longtime local bars and breweries like Surf Club, The PickleBack 2, Parts & Labor, and Fullsteam; other bars like Accordion Club, Louella, The Glass Jug Beer Lab, and Boxcar Bar & Arcade are also within two blocks.
In its press release, DSSOLVR emphasized its intent to host “frequent volunteer outreach events that encourage community engagement and reaffirm DSSOLVR’s commitment to leveraging its position as a gathering space to generate a positive impact in Durham,” and the parallels that the business sees between Asheville and Durham.
“One of the big reasons we’re so excited about the opportunity to come to Durham is that the people seem really open and welcoming,” Semenc wrote in the press release. “We want to create a space that’s a little different from the other bars and breweries around, something that feels like a natural fit with the community but still has an unmistakable DSSOLVR twist. If you’re in Durham and you want to get weird, this is the spot for you.”
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