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Game Day in Chapel Hill: Week 2 versus Illinois

A weekly look at the best places to grab a bite or drink in Chapel Hill on game days.

Wake Forest v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

We’re back again to guide you down Franklin Street on your primordial quest to stuff your face with tasty treats. The Tar Heels played the Fighting Illini on Saturday, and this alone was enough to elicit Homeric tales of perseverance and valor. And we’re not talking about the football players bouncing back on the road in front of 60,000 hostile fans in Champaign.

We’re talking about UNC fans trying to find the game on television. The game was shown on the Big Ten Network, and after conceding the fact that there was such a thing, there was a mad scramble to get a channel to watch just this one time. Your favorite local sports bar might not have had it either because, well, it’s the Big Ten Network. At least you got to listen to Jones Angell and Lee Pace on the way there. We decided to play the odds and go to a chain restaurant, and it did not disappoint.

Carolina Ale House
419 West Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

A Raleigh-based operation with 25 locations throughout the southeast, Carolina Ale House is a local success story. These follow the franchise model with similar menus at each location, but have a hometown feel that makes it more like your local sports bar than national chains. On Tuesdays, margaritas are $3.75, Wednesdays have $3 pints, and football Thursdays have beer specials on domestics.

For an appetizer or meal, try the CAH Nachos. These are fully loaded with cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeños, sour cream, and guacamole, with your choice of pulled pork, chili, or grilled chicken. The Buffalo Zinger Wrap is a good sandwich option. The wrap has buffalo chicken tenders wrapped with ranch dressing, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

There are over 50 televisions in Carolina Ale House, including large screens visible from all viewing angles. Their full menu offers appetizers, burgers, pizza, wings, tacos, and desserts. There are over 70 beers on tap, including over 30 North Carolina beers available on draft or bottled. Be sure to get here early on game days, as Carolina Ale House tends to have a packed house.

Carolina Brewery
460 W Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Long before local beers were all the craze, Carolina Brewery was handcrafting beer right on Franklin Street. Opened in 1995, Carolina Brewery was the dream of UNC alumnus Robert Poitras who wanted to bring craft beer to Chapel Hill.

Carolina Brewery offers five year round beers that span the beer spectrum, from the light and flavorful Sky Blue Golden Ale to the Oatmeal Porter. The brewery offers seasonal and limited release selections, including the always-popular anniversary ale that is issued for Carolina Brewery’s annual celebration.

Beer at Carolina Brewery
Carolina Brewery celebrating Oktoberfest
Evan Davis

Come by Carolina Brewery through October 5 to enjoy their Oktoberfest seasonal beer and accompanying list of tradition German fare. If you have not been to this bar and grill, it is a must on your next trip to Chapel Hill. There is plenty of space to meet your dining needs, including booths, high-tops, bar stools, and patio seating. Carolina Brewery has a second location in Pittsboro offering a great atmosphere in Chatham County. This is a great Carolina bar for game days and viewing away games.

We’re heading to the tailgate this Saturday. What’s your favorite place to stop before heading into Kenan?