The Patio at Unscripted

a retro-chic hotel with signature sips + vibey rooftop pool

by Avivah with Offline

Photo by @justinbeisner

COVID Updates*

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.
  • The pool is open and operating with limited capacity in accordance with state and CDC guidelines.
  • Most events are postponed but you can still catch a few live tunes on their outdoor patio:
    • Friday, 5-10p: Live DJ
    • Saturday, 6-9p: The Wiley Fosters
    • Sunday, 12-5p: Live DJ
  • 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 9/1/20

The Need-to-Know

What: Downtown Durham’s retro-chic hotel with a rooftop pool, snazzy lobby lounge, fancy cocktails + eclectic eats
Where: 202 N Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701
Web: Website | Menu | Instagram

Pro Tips

  • You may not see them on the menu, but be sure to ask about their boozy popsicles.
  • They’ve got a live DJ on the patio 5-10p on Friday.
  • Saturday nights bring The Wiley Fosters, a live band playing from 6-9p.
  • Sunday Funday with a live DJ by the pool from 12-5p.
  • Reservations are STRONGLY recommended, especially since they’re operating at reduced capacity.
  • Rent your own private cabana by calling the hotel. It’s $300-$500 but it all goes towards food and be so as long as you plan on spending that much, you’ll basically get the cabana for free.
  • The hotel is pet-friendly everywhere except for the patio.
  • Staying the night? Congrats, you get free parking (and a snazzy staycation to enjoy!)

Unscripted 101

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, 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 eight standout signature cocktails on their menu (including a rotating selection of Tito’s on tap cocktails) throughout the season and we’re going to break down our faves for you, sip by sip. 

  • Fresh Fruit Frosé: floral rosé, a bit of bubbly, vodka, triple sec, fresh strawberries, and housemade strawberry puree get whipped up and served nice and cold.
  • Mystic Lemonade: spiced, locally-made Mystic Bourbon, gets a warm-weather makeover with fresh berries and homemade strawberry lemonade.
  • Summer Buzz: Durham Distillery cucumber vodka gets sweet, floral notes thanks to local wildflower honey, St. Germain, and fresh lemon.
  • Boozy Pops: okay, this one isn’t technically something you “drink,” but we figured it’s cool enough to make the list here. There’s a rotating selection of booze-infused popsicles, each one made with fresh ingredients and refreshing flavors.

Being smack-dab in the middle of a foodie city, Unscripted gets held to a pretty high standard— but you better believe they deliver. Their Head Chef is legit and his eclectic menu has lots of tasty shareables. There’s fresh Shrimp Cocktail, crispy Perfect Cheddar Bites, and vibrant Tomato Bruschetta, all of which pair perfectly with a round (or two) of cocktails.

We’re also big fans of the Crispy Crispy, which features panko-fried or blackened chicken with sundried tomato aioli served on a local brioche from 9th St Bakery. And we can personally attest to the fact that The Perfect Guac—which is made to order—lives up to its name.

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 don’t fret my famished veggie friends: they also offer the Beyond Burger, which is 100% vegan (and totally delish).

And even though we’re talking about the patio here, it’s worth noting that you’ll find additional items downstairs*. They’ve got homemade quiche, breakfast sammies, and other AM eats, but you can also order any dish anywhere.

Among other notable items, The Studio and All-Day Cafe feature a more extensive wine list and a full-service espresso bar. They’ve also got a Croque Monsieur, Mister Crunch, which, according to their team, will “knock you flat to the floor but you’ll go down with a smile on your face.” Quite the sales pitch if we do say so ourselves. 

*not currently open due to COVID

Go Visit

202 N Corcoran St, Durham, NC
Website | Menu | Instagram