• Joey Amato

Hillsborough: Where History, Culture and Craft Cocktails Collide


Hillsborough, North Carolina is situated between Chapel Hill and Durham, on Tobacco Road and is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots to live, play and retire.


With a downtown historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and more than one hundred buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, Hillsborough has been called a museum without walls – and rightly so.


Hillsborough is among the oldest communities in North Carolina — it was founded in 1754 — and the small town retains much of its historic charm today.


But it doesn’t take much digging to realize that there’s another world here as well, a world of art, food, literature, craft cocktails and organic food. The past and present live side-by-side and that’s what gives this town its life.


On King Street alone, there’s a bar called Yonder, serving as Hillsborough’s unofficial living room where folks gather to enjoy craft cocktails, beer, wine, and the arts. Live music and local rotating artist installations make Yonder a warm and comfortable place for friends to gather and relax. Next door is Joe Van Gogh, a coffee house where the baristas create art you can drink: ah, espresso! They call this "the art of the bean."


Down the street is Nomad. Nomad specializes in traditional ethnic dishes and craft cocktails with a spin, all in a cozy, rustic interior. It’s modern, hip, and delicious. It’s like a quick trip around the world without ever leaving town.


The Colonial Inn is an iconic cornerstone of downtown Historic Hillsborough. After years of waiting, the doors are now open. The food is four-star and the ambience is too. There are not too many restaurants where you can look up from your appetizer and see a happy bride and groom skipping to their limo and driving away into the rest of their lives or run into one of the many famous local authors who live here. Buy a book at Purple Crow and they’ll sign it. They might even join you for a drink.


Downtown Hillsborough is home to several art galleries, including Hillsborough Art Gallery, and Eno Gallery. On King Street is Thomas Stevens Gallery.


Tom says you cannot beat a great burger and fries at the Wooden Nickel Pub. At Antonia’s he raves about the Fettuccine with pork meatballs and truffle sauce. A favorite menu item at Radius Pizza is the Old Reliable S&P Pizza. Tacos Los Altos is a go to for their Chicken Burrito and the amazing breakfast. Other favs include: Hillsborough BBQ, known for their pit-cooked BBQ,