The Head Of Steam is a branch of bars and restaurants throughout the country and there is one located in Durham City Center. This bar in Durham is a hidden little gem which offers a sense of peace away from the humdrum of Durham City despite being in the middle of the city. It has it’s own enclosure surrounded by other old buildings and a outside balcony terrace looking over it. It has also recently undergone some refurbishment and now has a larger entrance and a new sheltered decking outside with more seating space.

Outside front of Head of Steam bar/restaurant in Durham

Image taken by Aiden Dawson

Inside the pub, you are greeted with a steampunk style atmosphere, with all kinds of pub art including beer coasters on the walls and ceiling, and metal signs on the bar front. The bar itself stretches along the main room straight ahead as you walk in. There’s hop vines twisted around the overhead glass racks above the bar and the draught taps are all shiny and elaborate giving it that steampunk vibe.

There is also another bar serving drinks upstairs.

One thing that makes this bar stand out from other bars and restaurants in Durham is their abundance of German style beers and other alcoholic beverages. And they have a very luxury selection of meals on their menu. The kind of food they do includes gourmet burgers and skinny fries, stone-baked pizzas, and many more for everyone’s taste buds.

Why you should visit this bar/restaurant in Durham

If you’re looking for somewhere that has an alternative vibe and somewhere where you can really treat yourself- The Head Of Steam is perfect! This could be the place to tie into a Durham pub crawl, start a night out, have a special meal out with your friends/family/loved ones, and even just to chill with a cuppa on your lunch break. We will look into more detail at the reasons why this bar and restaurant in Durham is worth checking out.


They do food like nowhere else in the city. Everything is made to order and is super high standard. They include meals that are served professionally on rustic style wooden platters with condiments that come in a wooden basket. A lot of their meals come with skinny fries served in a little metal bucket and you can even order snacks like loaded nachos served in a cardboard takeaway box. The way the food is served in this alternative, rustic style is part of the experience of eating out at this bar and restaurant in Durham.

Other meals they can whip up for you include kebabs of several varieties, homemade pies, steak and chips and fish and chips. They do brioche bun burgers of all kinds with their Head Of Steam logo actually branded on the top bun! Where else does burgers like that?

As for desserts, you can treat yourself to a bowl of mini doughnuts, waffles and ice cream sundae.

View their menu by clicking here.


The other main attraction of this bar and restaurant in Durham is of course, the excessive amount of alcoholic beverages that you would not find in your average Wetherspoons. The sort of drinks they serve cover all alcoholic beverages including fine wines, craft beers, cask ales, spirits, gin, vodka, cocktails, shots etc. When you walk to the bar you are spoilt for choice for drinks served on draught which ciders and lagers a lot of which are made locally.

Beer and can in bar in Head of Steam restaurant in Durham

Image taken by Aiden Dawson

Their fridges are also stocked with bottled lagers and beers from breweries far and wide and a lot of their beers come from the Bavarian regions of Europe including Germany, Belgium and Austria. You certainly wouldn’t find beers like this in most bars or restaurants in Durham. That is what makes this chain of bars stand out.

They do also serve low alcoholic beers and ciders and soft drinks too for children and anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol. The have a barista machine that serves hot drinks including filter coffee, tea and hot chocolate.


A lot of people visit the Head Of Steam in Durham for their special events that they do quite often. They have weekly live music events on a Friday, these events include jazz, rock, blues and indie music so there is something for everyone of all tastes.

People can also come to their quiz nights on a Wednesday every week, and special offers are included at these events. Half price pizzas, student discounts, deals on cans of Belgium beer, and cash prizes up for grabs! To keep in the loop with upcoming events, click here to follow their Facebook page.

As well as public events, you can book your own private event/party at this bar/restaurant in Durham. Whether it’s for an engagement or birthday party, the Head Of Steam can offer preordered drinks packages, buffets, and even an alternative afternoon tea including craft beer with your traditional scones! Click here to visit their website to inquire.


If you’re heading to Durham City Center to go shopping or sightseeing- the Head Of Steam is one of the most decent bars and restaurants in Durham to include in your day out. It’s conveniently located near to the bus station which has just reopened recently. There are plenty of other bars and restaurants in this area of Durham including the Water House just further up North Road, and the Three Bridges Inn on the corner. Other pubs in the area include the Elm Tree, The Angel Inn, Holy Grale, Curious Fox and Fighting Cocks all within less than a 5 minute’s walk.

The tourist attractions in Durham City are also within manageable walking distance including the Cathedral and Castle, and the newly developed Riverwalk where there is plenty of bars and restaurants and the Odeon cinema. It’s near to all the shops including Iceland and Sainsbury’s and other places to grab food including Greggs and the fish and chips shop across the road.


What makes this bar and restaurant in Durham approachable is the accessibility for people with disabilities.

Wheelchair access

The main entrance is a wide double door but there is a step to get up. They have another glass door to the right of the main entrance where wheelchairs can more easily get in. Getting to the pub itself is through a wide alleyway that is clearly signposted on the side of North Road. There are no steps or bumps to get to the outdoor seating areas at the front of the venue.

One important thing to note is the upstairs rooms and balcony only has stairs to climb to get to. So it’s not easily accessible for wheelchairs.

Toilet facilities

There is a ladies and gents toilets located downstairs just round the corner from the bar area. There is a disabled toilet with baby changing facilities in the same area too.

Inclusive menu

The menu includes options that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, as well as gluten-free options. These are all clearly marked on the menu. Allergy information can be obtained by inquiring the staff. They also cater to those on healthy diets, so you can swap your fries for salad instead. Smaller portion meals and snacks can also be ordered including nachos, nuggets and even battered vegetables.

If you feel like you can’t finish your meal, you can ask staff to put leftovers in a takeaway box.

Seating space

There is plenty of seating space to choose from which includes options to sit outside. They have loads of places outside the building including the upstairs balcony. There are some seats and tables just out the front of the main entrance and their new decked seating terrace. The decked area is sheltered and lit up at night and also heated with overhead patio heaters.

Inside the building, you have options to sit on bar stools or on comfy couches and armchairs around coffee tables. Their upstairs rooms include a lounge area with more comfy chairs and booth seats for a more private feel.


This bar and restaurant in Durham provides highchairs for babies and toddlers.  Also, you can buy soft drinks and juices suitable for children. Snacks can be bought at the bar including crisps.


The place can get very busy particularly on a Friday and Saturday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It may also get quite busy at events on nights during the week especially when the students are out. This place attracts a lot of students around September when it’s Fresher’s Week.


There is plenty of parking in Durham and near to this area. People can park for free after 6pm on most of the streets behind the bus station. The multistory car park at the Riverwalk is also convenient to walk to/from but charges apply 24 hours a day.

Public transport

The new bus station has recently reopened and it’s literally a minute’s walk from Head Of Steam. Buses can be caught from here to as far as Newcastle, Darlington, Seaham, Bishop Auckland and Middlesborough.

Taxis are always available to catch from just around the corner from North Road.

The train station is about a 5-10 minute’s walk away. There’s an easily accessible footbridge at the top of North Road leading to the road going up to the station. Trains run throughout the day and into the evening up and down the country. You can easily catch a train to/from Newcastle, or Darlington and York.


We hope this listing has helped you find somewhere to go with your family/friends. Other listings for bars and restaurants in Durham include:
Revolutions Bar
The Three Bridges
Katie O’Brien’s
The Curious Fox

Q Is food served during all opening hours?

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