You’ve likely heard of the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, who play their home games just 25 minutes from NC State. You may even know of “Bull Durham,” the film which brought this team to the big screen. But are you aware this movie has a closer connection to campus than you may think?
To start with a little background information in case you’ve never heard of the team or the movie, the Durham Bulls are one of Minor League Baseball’s oldest franchises, first playing in April 1913. They’ve served as an affiliate of the Rays since 1998 and have won the Triple-A National Championship title four times since then, most recently back at the beginning of October of this year.
“Bull Durham,” a 1988 sports rom-com starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, brought this team to an even bigger stage, sharing the fictional story of die-hard baseball and Bulls fan Annie Savoy and her struggle to choose between spending the season with young superstar pitcher Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh or aging catcher Crash Davis.
It was filmed at quite a few places across the Triangle, one of which may be quite familiar for NC State fans and students.
Situated on Hillsborough Street directly across from campus since 1974, Mitch's Tavern is one of Wolfpack fans’ favorite bars, and it's even featured in the movie during the scene where Annie meets Crash and Nuke for the first time.
One of the most famous moments of this scene is when the two ball players get into a fight and Calvin mistakenly throws a baseball through a door with "Mitch's Bar Deliveries" on the front in which a replica now sits in the restaurant as decoration.
Recently ranked one of the best college bars in America, Mitch's has been serving NC State fans for generations, and it recently reopened after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tavern's menu features specials such as chili and gumbo, multiple sandwich options and pretzel bites.
There are even some references to the movie on the menu. For example, listed under the Tuesday specials drinks, there's a Crash Davis option for just $5.
This Raleigh small business could always use your support, and visiting Mitch's is the perfect way to experience one of the many places that made the movie “Bull Durham” so special.
Mitch's Tavern is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is located directly across the street from Ricks Hall and Patterson Hall on campus.