a retro-chic hotel with signature sips + festive rooftop patio
by Avivah with Offline
In these unprecedented times, businesses are taking extra precautions both for the safety of their staff and customers and for the ensured longevity of their business. As things evolve, everything is subject to change. Please double-check directly with Unscripted if you’ve got questions or concerns.
- All dining is outdoors on their patio.
- Reservations are STRONGLY recommended, especially since they’re operating at reduced capacity.
- The Studio (their ground-level restaurant, bar + cafe) is currently closed.
- Their super-sized signature cocktails are not offered right now since sharing is discouraged.
- They’ve got contactless ordering,
*as of 11/16/20
- They’ve got a live DJ on the patio 5:30-10:30p on Friday + Saturday nights.
- Friday + Saturday, 5-7p = Cocktail Cruise By (AKA complimentary cocktails samples in the lobby)
- Reservations are STRONGLY recommended, especially since they’re operating at reduced capacity and it’s nearly all outdoor dining.
- If you want to dine inside, swing by for dinner on Friday or Saturday when they’ll have the the downstairs studio open.
- Igloos have a two hour minimum and prices vary based on peak times and party size. Call the hotel directly to book an igloo.
- The hotel is pet-friendly everywhere except for the patio.
- Staying the night? Congrats, you get free parking (and a snazzy staycation to enjoy!)
*as of 11/16/20
After over $19 million in renovations, the iconic Jack Tar Motor Lodge in downtown Durham has been transformed into the Unscripted Hotel. With mid-century architecture intact, Unscripted playfully blends vintage vibes with luxurious modern touches. Boasting over 70 stylish rooms, a badass rooftop pool and lounge, and gorgeous sunset views (plus a coffee shop, bars, and restaurants), Unscripted isn’t just a hotel to recommend to out-of-towners. It’s a new DTD staple—and for good reason.
We won’t beat around the bush here: Unscripted has developed quite the rep for putting on a poppin’ downtown par-tay and is an absolute go-to year-round. It’s a popular spot with serious style (think old school Vegas or 1960s LA but with a tongue in cheek twist), open to everyone 21+.
Their mantra is simple: have fun. Noted. We can definitely do that.
Unscripted could easily coast on the fact that during the summer, they’re the only pool party in town, or that they’re just one of the few spots offering a stunning rooftop view—but they don’t.
Nope, these guys just keep one-upping themselves with special events (read: their November-March winter wonderland pop-up featuring decked-out, fully-heated igloos that make this spot the socially-distant spot of the season), live music, epically oversized cocktails, new menus, and more.
No wonder out-of-towners and locals alike flock to this spot.
What to order
We’ve got to warn you, it’s nearly impossible to get up to the rooftop patio and resist the urge to raise a glass over the downtown cityscape. A word to the wise: don’t even try.
The views are magnificent, the atmosphere is unbeatable, and the menu is as playful as the vibe. Their seasonal cocktails are the icing on the cake.
They’ve got plenty of standout signature cocktails on their menu (including a rotating selection of Tito’s on tap cocktails) throughout the season but we’ve got a few faves.
- 24 Karat: a bright orange drink with Parton, Cointreau, fresh carrot ginger juice, lemon, and ginger, topped with edible gold that’ll wow your eyes and—fair warning—make your mouth look like it’s been touched by Midas.
- La-Di-Da-Di Toddy: served up warm in a throwback thermos, this spicy sippers’ got local Mystic Bourbon, spiced honey, and lemon.
- Fresh Fruit Frosé: look, just because it’s cold out, doesn’t mean our love for frosé goes away; we still love this slush made with floral rosé, a bit of bubbly, vodka, triple sec, fresh strawberries, and housemade strawberry puree get whipped up and served nice and cold.
- Igloo specials: if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat inside one of their highly-coveted igloos, be sure to check their special menu for exclusive cocktails you won’t find outside the bubble.
Being smack-dab in the middle of a foodie city, Unscripted gets held to a pretty high standard— but you better believe they deliver. The menu has got lots of tasty shareables—Sundried Tomato Hummus, crispy chicken Gyoza, and Candied Walnuts—all of which pair perfectly with a round (or two) of cocktails.
We tend to follow the pack and go with their bestseller: Chicky Chicky Boom Boom. Sweet and spicy sauce coat lightly-fried bites of chicken, which are paired with rice vinegar pickled veggies for balance.
If you’re looking for something larger, their Patio Burger is a no-brainer for hungry carnivores (with two types of cheese, balsamic onions, and sugar bacon, it’s easy to see why.)
But the real show-stopper here is The Oscar, a crispy jumbo lump crab cake (with impressively large chunks of fresh crab) with cajun remoulade slaw and sweet toasted brioche.
Most importantly, SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT. They’ve got DIY S’mores that you roast at your table. ‘Nuff said.