Durham will be the scene of two very different beverage-related events this week.
First up is the inaugural Thursday Night Throwdown: Latte Art Rumble at 7 p.m. June 25, hosted by Copa Vida Coffee (2816 Erwin Road, Suite 201, 383-4900, www.copavidacoffee.com). Sponsors Counter Culture Coffee, Homeland Creamery and Copa Vida are calling the event "Durham's first barista battle," and all are welcome. "We encourage everyone to come out to cheer on their favorite coffee pros, and for all those former baristas out there, we hope you consider rolling up your sleeves and getting back behind the bar," says Counter Culture's Mark Overbay. Cost to participate is $5; winner takes all. Spectators watch for free.
However, if tea is more your thing, bring your favorite cup to the Triangle Tea Tasters' (www.meetup.com/Triangle-Tea-Tasters) inaugural gathering at 3 p.m. June 21 at The Regulator Bookshop (720 Ninth St., Durham, 286-2700, www.regulatorbookshop.com). Kit Conway, a tea specialist and owner of Tea Chi, a tea consulting and distributing business, wants to gather tea lovers together to sample and learn more about tea.
"Since this is our first get-together, we'll take the opportunity to meet each other, discuss our preferences tea-wise and talk about what we'd like to do in future meet-ups," Conway writes in the event's invitation on meetup.com. She will provide the tea for this event, and future events could include outings to local tearooms and tea shops. There is no cost to attend, but Conway asks that attendees sign up on meetup.com and RSVP, so she and The Regulator can plan accordingly.
Coffee, tea and drinks with a bit more of a kick will be on the menu in Chapel Hill on June 25, when Spice Street restaurant opens its new venue, The Spice Lounge (spicelounge.wordpress.com). Billed as one-stop shopping for dining on Mediterranean fare and enjoying entertainment such as dinner theater, belly dancing and DJ music, The Spice Lounge occupies the upstairs of the longtime University Mall anchor restaurant (201 S. Estes Drive, 928-8200, www.spicestreetrestaurant.com).
During the grand opening events June 25 and 26, $25-$30 covers dinner, a show and late-night music; doors open at 7:45 p.m.
Spice Street has a busy summer ahead, with its new lounge upstairs and patio parties downstairs every Tuesday night. On July 14 at 7 p.m., the Tuesday night party features Local Brew Ha-ha, a local beer dinner featuring the creations of Raleigh's LoneRider Brewing Co. and Natty Greene's Brewing Co., Durham's Triangle Brewing Co. and Chapel Hill's Carolina Brewery. Beer-makers will be on hand to discuss food pairings, and a four-course meal made from local produce and products will be served ($25 per person; advance tickets required).
And finally, Raleigh's Glenwood South district will gain a new pizza restaurant, Sauced (saucedpizza.com), which recently announced plans to open at 410 Glenwood Ave., in the spot once occupied by Enoteca Vin. According to its blog, Sauced will feature pizza by the slice, appetizers, salads, calzones and other casual-fare menu items.
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