Exploring Durham: Unique meeting spaces

May. 24, 2014 @ 11:41 AM

This month Exploring Durham is looking at Durham as a meeting destination, and all the ways it excels for groups from banquets and family reunions to conferences and conventions.

When thinking about hosting a business meeting, it is more common than ever to choose a location that might just as well be used to host a party or banquet. It used to be that work meetings were held in board rooms or big rooms with auditorium-style seating. Today, in an attempt to make meetings more vibrant and exciting, some planners get attendees involved in the topic at hand by selecting nontraditional venues and using the space around them.

Fullsteam Brewery on Rigsbee Street is one such venue.  Located on the north side of downtown Durham in an area experiencing significant growth and renewal with new businesses adaptively reusing existing buildings, what was once a bottling plant is now a celebrated craft beer brewery. Open since 2010, the space is first and foremost an operating brewery – a fact put on display by the more than 20-foot-wide glass wall displaying the brewery operations to patrons, but the space is much more than that.

There is a proper bar, but the attractive meeting space is an open parlor room filled with cafeteria tables. There is a stage in the corner, a PA system, jukebox, and more. It is utilitarian by design for brewery purposes, but the end result is a space offering flexibility in uses from meetings to presentations to interactive question-and-answer sessions.

The Nasher Museum of Art on Duke’s campus opened in 2005. Not only has it earned acclaim as an exceptional art museum with a world-class collection, but the physical plan of the building is designed to incorporate and comingle the inside with the outside. 

It works well for receptions with its 45-foot high ceiling on the 10,000-square-foot central open hall, off of which three pavilions are attached ranging from 3,600 to 5,700 square feet.  It also has a small theater and several small classrooms.  With considerations for personal experience built into the facility and the grounds alike, the Nasher Museum of Art is a customizable space for groups large and small.

Durham excels in offering niche environments to planners and meeting hosts. With too many to list here, some additional local examples of other unique and creative venue opportunities are to:

-- Host an event on the stage at DPAC – The Durham Performing Arts Center, or The Carolina Theatre.

-- Hold a continental breakfast in the Magic Wings Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science.

-- Look out over the Durham Bulls Athletic Park while meeting in the new PNC Triangle Club, a 5,000-square-foot private pavilion behind home plate.

Learn more about all of Durham’s meeting and event sites online at meetings.durham-nc.com.

Did You Know?  At 6,000 square feet, The Mildred and Dillard Teer Stage at DPAC -- Durham Performing Arts Center can hold up to 500 people for a private event.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) is Durham’s official marketing agency. For more information about things to see and do in Durham, visit www.Durham-NC.com and www.DurhamEventCalendar.com, or stop by the Visitors Information Center at 101. E. Morgan St. in Downtown Durham and pick up the Official Durham Visitor & Relocation Guide.