The face of the clock determines just what sort of gathering you'll find at La Residence. On Fridays at lunchtime, crepes leave the kitchen stuffed with sweet and savory fillings, from sriracha-spiced shrimp to bananas and chocolate. But as the sky darkens, a more classical air settles over the dining room. The fireplace begins to crackle, and patio lights flicker on above brick flooring. Chefs prep appetizers of baked brie and warm bruschetta?overtures to an innovative French supper. They fill crispy pot pies with fresh seafood while monitoring pink cuts of filet mignon. Every night finds them experimenting with a different risotto and fish, just as each season heralds a new menu, replete with ingredients from local farms.
Even when dusk has come and gone, the restaurant doesn't sleep. Four nights a week, it becomes a late-night cocktail lounge: Cafe LaRez. Guests sip on mojitos, mint juleps, and French 75s made with gin and champagne. A dance floor beckons to antsy feet, but sitting-room corners and a terrace by Rosemary Street provide space for quieter chats. On some evenings, the restaurant even hosts weddings, amplifying the romance of the occasion with its rose gardens and historical charm. Guests can also opt to dine in an enclosed patio and joy an evening under the stars.
The two Rs in R&R Grill represent father-and-son co-owners, Rob and Ross, who moved to Chapel Hill permanently after falling in love with the area. However, they soon noticed an alarming trend; cookie-cutter chain restaurants began to replace local businesses, a pattern Rob and Ross sought to change with R&R Grill. At their eatery, Rob and Ross infuse the menu of casual American cuisine with fresh produce and meats, making every dish in-house. St. Louis ribs glisten under a coating of chipotle barbecue sauce and a jumbo lump crab cake shares plate space with garlic sautéed shrimp. Diners can match their meals with draft beers, wine, and specialty cocktails or fresh air on the expansive outdoor patio.
Chapelboro.com argues that Fitzgerald's does a fantastic job of "toeing the line between high-tech sports bar and cozy eatery." In the tradition of gastropubs, Fitz's embraces the casual environs of a traditional Irish bar, but elevates the food to the next level with a menu ranging from shepherd's pie to blackened Atlantic salmon. And, of course, there's a lot of beer—more than 20 taps dispense brews such as SweetWater Blue, Brooklyn Lager, and Guinness. Regular events include trivia night, live music, and sports games shown on the giant pub's many TVs.
A comedic abode of gut-busting proportions, DSI has hosted hundreds of joke slingers that have corralled scores of laugh-seeker smiles without nitrous-oxide tanks or clips of football-privates contact. A company of 45 active performers lives underneath the 84-seat non-smoking theater, constantly training with dummy microphones and audience dummies to provide optimal quip delivery. Owner Zach Ward leads this comedic cabal, and also has trained and worked with nationally known giggle catalysts of Saturday Night Live and MADtv fame. Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of scheduled Friday- and Saturday-night shows, including improv slams, stand-up, and slide shows of platypus photos.
Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms Cat’s Cradle into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces dance floors with 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, Swedish dance wizards Lo-Fi-Fnk enchant with instant club hits and songs for strobe-light campfires, and pop enthusiasts Dom charm with stargazing Casios.
With a motto like: "Where you don’t have to have a good time to drink," it may come as no surprise that the staff of James Joyce leaves the socializing up to its patrons. The bartenders and servers keep their visitors fueled with a bounty of traditional American and Irish pub food. The kitchen adds a homemade touch to a few classics: they blend a pimiento cheese spread in-house, and brine their own corned beef before layering it onto brioche buns. A few entrees, such as Guinness–battered atlantic cod and chips and Guinness shepherd's pie, round out the menu. A beer list displays American craft brews alongside unique Irish imports.
Clinking glasses and scraping plates aren't the only sounds that echo across the pub's fenced-in beer garden or its dimly-lit, wood-filled interior. The staff organizes regular events ranging from open mics to trivia nights. Additionally, the pub screens Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United football games during the season, and sometimes twice if the players' mothers are visiting.