The birth of Carrboro's Bowbarr | Now Serving | Indy Week
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The birth of Carrboro's Bowbarr 

click to enlarge Bowbarr - PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWBARR
  • Photo courtesy of Bowbarr
  • Bowbarr

I am not a parent, but I can imagine how the crying of a baby might prompt the desire for a drink. A bar inspired by the impending birth of a child is another story, and it's one that John Bowman and Amanda Barr can tell. A few months ago, upon learning that they were expecting, the couple took stock of their talents and experience and brainstormed new ways to make a living. Bowman was a bartender at Carrboro's Milltown. He and Barr are both artists. The result: a watering hole called Bowbarr (705 W. Rosemary St., Carrboro, on Facebook).

The bar has been open for about three weeks, and the baby is anticipated in another two. Bowbarr's décor incorporates found objects and antiques—a faux-wooden cash register, a 1970s dining room table that Barr's mother received as a wedding gift—that give it an older, worn-in feel. Barr and Bowman renovated the space with the help of friends, including Patrick Zung and Nora Rogers, who created a concrete bar with wooden inlay where you can purchase a number of specialty cocktails for $6 a pop.

There's the Michelada—a popular drink in Mexico (Barr's mother lives in Oaxaca) that integrates a house-made Bloody Mary mix with a Negro Modelo beer; the Whitfield—Wink soda and bourbon; and the Mezcaltini—mezcal, lime juice, ginger simple syrup and a splash of ginger ale. Of the latter, Barr says, "People ask what's 'tini' about it, and there's really nothing. It's just an arbitrary name."

Bowbarr has Guinness on tap, too, if you're looking for a new spot to enjoy today's St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Also ready for the wearing o' the green are the James Joyce (912 W. Main St., Durham, 683-3022,, Tir Na Nog (218 S. Blount St., Raleigh, 833-7795, and Kildare's (206 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 932-7734, All of these pubs promise a day of Irish music, drinks and food, though Kildare's is the only one that had the audacity to open at 7 a.m.

Tonight at 7 at The Regulator Bookshop (720 Ninth St., Durham, 286-2700,, journalist David Kirby will read and sign copies of his new book, Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment. Kirby's work examines three American families and towns, including one story that hits close to home: hog farms and related cases of pfiesteria near the Neuse River in New Bern.

We've been tracking another Ninth Street happening with no luck. Many readers have reported a big red bus in the parking lot at Sam's Quik Mart (1605 Erwin Road, Durham, 286-4110) that serves masala dosa and samosa chaat. I've tried many times to find the bus, which was reported to operate daily between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., but have had no luck over the past few weeks. Folks at Sam's and the City of Durham cite permit problems for the truck's recent absence. I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that the owners get everything worked out and that curry becomes a part of Durham's mobile menu.

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More by Emily Wallace

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