Archive for September, 2008


News from the ‘hook.

It has been awhile since we’ve blogged, but that’s because we went on a week long expense paid vacation to Guatemala and didn’t really have time to deal with The Pinhook in all of its glory.

Sike. We’ve been a mite busy painting, buying mismatched furniture, hounding permit people, painting, building the floor, hauling out scrap materials, and painting. Nick Hawthorn Johnson let us borrow his paint sprayer, which in turn allowed us to paint the entire bar in less than 4 days. It’s now a rich, shocking and otherwise loud fire-engine red, cut by a deep gray brown for trim and pillars. It looks like… it looks like the most ecstatic hi-five you’ve ever experienced. We got the paint from Paul at the Common Ground paint store on 324 Geer Street. It’s a really great place to grab paint that’s non-toxic so that you don’t die while breathing, and/or painting. Note to self. Aesthetics – usually not worth dying for. We got so into painting that Liz turned to me after the perfect paint job and in utter seriousness said, “Kym, we work really well together. We should totally start some kind of business.” I guess non-toxic paint fumes can still get you high.

Dave Rogers is really kickin’ toot on the bar. He’s welding several miscellaneous metal shards together. In the pictos below you can see some of the progress. It’s art people, it takes time. You can also see outt’s collage comin’ along nicely as well.

There are several more characters that we’ve worked with too. My personal goal of getting pictures with everyone of them has not been achieved. People like Garry from Modern Metal Studios – our awesome sign designer that has amazing hair, Amhad of Graduate Painting- the guy that painted our facade with a paint brush old school style, Nancy – the woman that we bought the couch we appropriately named Nancy from… And by the way she has an old Buffalo Bus from the 70’s with bunks that was used by her gospel group for touring (ahem trekky kids, need another fly ride?) and that guy from guitar center. I’ll tell that story in person.

We did want to do a blog entry about the multiple injuries that we’ve all incurred while working on this project and the few times that each of us have almost bit it, quite literally, during this venture, but it ain’t over yet so we best not be jinxing ourselves.

Aside from spending the last few days in respirator masks feeling like we just crawled out of some bad B-Movie you’d watch at Eric Ward’s house, there are two bits of news I’d like to share with you.

1. Rochelle Woodward from Row Design Studios(WWW.ROWDESIGNSTUDIOS.COM) has almost completed our website. Lookie here:

2. We’re having a “so you said you wanted to help and you really meant you’d like to work a little and party a little more” gathering on Thursday at 7pm at The Pinhook. We’ll provide beer. RSVP using a comment or by emailing us at thepinhook (at) and let us know iffin you’re coming so we can have enough cheap/amazing booze for us all.

kym and co


So What’s in God’s Name is a Pinhook Anyway?

In the long, obscene, and brutal discussions that we had between January and July about what the hell we were going to name our bar, we did some heavy research into the greasy, forgotten corners of Durham’s history. the word “Pinhook” came up in a few places, mostly referring to an old “grog shop.” I’m not sure, but I think grog referred to any alcoholic beverage that came in a big earthenware jug marked “XXX”, and consumed by comical, old-style hobos as they rode the rails with a cadre of bright pink elephants.

Anyway, since we are opening our own drink-selling establishment, we thought The Pinhook would be a very appropriate name.

It turned out to be more terrifyingly appropriate than we could have ever imagined.

A few weeks ago, my friend Jessica (an archivist at UNC) told me that Pinhook did not refer to the grog shop itself, but the settlement where the grog shop was located. There was an entire neighborhood called Pinhook.

The name came from an old term for a small-time tobacco hustler. Pinhookers would buy up leftover tobacco at the end of auctions, repackage it, and sell it for a small profit. It was a pretty crass way to make a living, but it was enough to keep a few people in “grog”. Pinhookers were not people who rode around in private train cars saying “fuck off” to members of the Rockefeller family, is basically what I’m saying.

If the Pinhook settlement was anything, it was raw. The dudes were harsh and grizzled, stoney-eyed men who drank rye whiskey out of their hats and pummeled each other with railroad ties. The women were all over six-feet tall, and even though a lot of them were prostitutes, they took shit from no man. This kind of woman could beat Sylvester Stallone at arm wrestling. (Have you seen that movie Over the Top? I haven’t, but I hear it’s pretty good.)

But Pinhook was also fun, as evidenced by the crowds of 19th-century UNC students who would roll in on the weekends to get their swerve on, and maybe gamble away the money their father made by inventing the Marvelous Automated Butter Churn. Can you imagine that? UNC students coming to Durham to hang out? Craaaazy!

The best story I heard about the settlement came from John Schelp of the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association. Apparently the area acheived widespread fame when a man and a women, both naked as babes, embarked on a curious footrace through the Pinhook streets. The prize? A jug of whiskey!

Maybe it was a jug of grog. The answer is lost to the mists of time.

Anyway, that’s why we’re calling our bar the Pinhook. Thanks to John Schelp of the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association, Gary Kueber of Endangered Durham, and Jessica Sedgwick of the UNC library system for their pro-bono educational efforts.

-Nick W.


2×4’s Aren’t sexist, so why are you?

It could be the flashy monochrome atmosphere, the high stacks of materials that promise heavy lifting, or the incessant reminders to negligent parents that children can get hurt in a hardware store that make each trip to Home Depot more and more agitating.  It’s possible that it’s the drive in the middle of a hot humid summer day that makes those trips at times abhorable.  Most likely, though, it’s the attention that Liz and I get when we’re loading sheets of plywood and 2×4’s.  People stop what they’re doing, even if they’re doing nothing, and ask at the end of a load if we need any help, even if we’re half way through.  I wonder if they think about how we got the first half in the truck before they ask stupid questions.

By necessity, Nick, Liz and I have learned how to do a lot of things.  If your door ever needs framing, call Liz.  If your floor ever needs framing, call Nick.  If you ever need to haggle your AC repair man, you can call me.  I’ll let the pictures speak for now.  We’re in “the process” right now.  We’re working on setting up an awesome PA system with our friend Phil and we are getting a sign made by this hottie metal worker with amazing hair.  It’s late, lets let the captions tell the story…