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 all-female clientele at Women's Only Workout sweats in solidarity during more than 15 types of fitness classes or individual workouts in the fully equipped gym. Members get 24-hour access to exercise machines, free weights, and gym facilities, as well as personal training, boot camp, or group fitness classes.
Nationally certified instructors push physiques through Pilates maneuvers atop floor mats, building core strength more effectively than a reinforced-concrete jerkin. Pedals whiz as legs strive to crest hills during spin sessions, and Zumba's Latin-infused dance steps shimmy off calories with a sassy cardio workout. In the candlelit yoga class, students arch into limb-lengthening tableaus to ramp up flexibility and cast more complicated shadow animals onto softly glowing walls. Other classes include step, total-body conditioning, and Nia—an adaptable variant of nonimpact aerobics that melds martial arts, dance, and yoga.
It takes a village to build a healthy lifestyle at the Chapel Hill–Carrboro YMCA. Fitness and friendship intertwine as positive staffers infuse the community with values such as generosity and perseverance. Teamwork fuels group sports such as soccer and baseball and more than 40 weekly exercise classes, which range from yoga to cycling to Zumba. Solo exercisers can flutter toward physical fitness in a 25-yard pool or chase it down on a host of cardio machines. In addition to building strong bodies, the facility fortifies spirits with fun-filled programs such as youth summer camps and parent retreats. Memberships come with several complimentary perks, including childcare, fitness orientations, and short-term access to other YMCA branches, and a free iPhone app shares updates about class schedules and flying-saucer landings.
A Franklin Street icon, the recently renovated Varsity Theatre has entertained audiences and cineastes for more than 50 years with screenings of current blockbusters, cult flicks, indie films, and classics. A vintage marquee beckons audiences to file into comfy seats as 35mm and digital projectors project movies onto screens. Along with regularly scheduled showings, The Varsity also holds special events such as film forums, dinner-and-movie specials, or interviews with John Wayne's neckerchief. Groups can rent out the theaters for birthday parties, corporate functions, or special events, with multiple media services and catering options available.
In 2001, dancer Carrie Rezabek Dorr invited exercisers to join her in ballet-based workouts. Held in the basement of an office building without a staff, a sign outside, or even a bathroom, Carrie transformed her small business into a national franchise with locations in 33 states. Her Pure Barre system helps sculpt long, lean muscles. Using a ballet barre and isometric movements, the exercisers drastically shape areas such as the abs, hips, arms, and butt.
At Snap Fitness’ 24-hour gym, guests come and go armed with their access keys and are able to work out at their convenience. Around the gym, rows of cardio machines and stacks of free weights stand by as personal trainers show guests the most efficient ways to pump iron and bench-press their old refrigerators.