Ballin' On A Budget: Franklin Street's Best Deals
Of all of the places I’ve been in the world, Chapel Hill will always hold a special place in my heart. Of course, I’m a little biased because I’m a product of UNC, but that doesn’t make the town any less special (again, check the bias). Chapel Hill is known for its quintessential college town vibe. Franklin Street offers a kickin’ bar scene that puts just about any other school to shame.
I first visited the University over the summer of my sophomore year of high school. It was the first time I had ever actually seen a college campus, much less ever been interested in Carolina. I knew there was something special about the town, but it didn’t come to mean anything to me until after I became a student.
Franklin Street is the social hub of the University. It’s where you go for a bite to eat, a night out, group meetings, and fundraising events. Everyone is a regular somewhere - if not most places. The restaurant staff develop a rapport with the students, and before you know it, you find yourself referring to a bar tender as your friend (or at least if you’re me you do). But college is the time in life where everyone is truly strapped for cash, so how do young Tar Heels even afford to go out?
There’s a new deal every night of the week, helping undergrads be social while keeping Franklin Street businesses afloat … for the most part. Most bars have different deals, specials, and iconic events almost every night of the week, but I’ve put together my favorite that I think best exemplifies the Carolina experience while also giving you the most bang for your buck.
Monday - Mug Night @ Sup Dogs
For just $5 you can get up to 32 oz of beer. Bring your own “receptacle,” choose a beer on draft, and enjoy. Sup Dogs is most famous for the banners it hangs outside each UNC vs. Dook (aka Duke University) game day, their Sup Crushes (which are mentioned later in this post) and their loaded cheesy tots, but this post is about drinking so Mug Night is all you really need to know.
Tuesday - Tequila Tuesday @ The Library
No, not that library. The bar. There’s a bar named “The Library” conveniently located just on the edge of campus lining Franklin Street. Every Tuesday they host Tequila Tuesday - often affectionally referred to as “TT”- where you can get a shot of tequila for only $2. If you’re like me and love tequila, then this will be the time of your life. If you’re not like me and you and tequila don’t get along very well, then this will still be the time of your life.
Tuesday Alternative - $5 Blue Cups @ He’s Not Here.
Hard liquor isn’t for everyone on a weeknight, especially as early in the week as Tuesday. Thankfully, there’s a more laid back alternative: He’s Not. Usually $8, their famous 32 oz Blue Cups are only $5 on Tuesday nights. You get the same selection as any other night, but the joy of saving $2 (which could ironically be put towards TT) plus the pleasure of a smaller-than-usual crowd. These cups make a great collector items and can be repurposed as to-go containers or - more importantly - your mug for Mug Night mentioned earlier.
Wednesday - Pint Night @ He’s Not Here
If Blue Cups are only $5 on Tuesdays, why does anyone bother to go to He’s Not any other day of the week? Because #pintnight. Every Wednesday, you can get a free pint glass when you purchase a Blue Cup of that night’s featured beer. Be one of the first there and you can have your pick of the pint glass selection, wander in later in the evening and you’ll probably have to settle for the glass no one else wanted.
Wednesday Alternative - $4 Margaritas @ TRU Wine & Deli
I hinted earlier that tequila and I are really good friends, so I figured I would share with you the alternative Wednesday night location you’re likely to find me. Margaritas are my DOC, and they’re usually pretty heavy-handed at TRU. 10/10 recommend, especially because you can pair your drink with deliciously hand-crafted gourmet sandwich or salad that usually rings in around $8.
Thursday - $2.50 Everything @ Country Fried Duck (CFD)
Yes, you read that right, everything is $2.50 on Thursday night. Usually there is a $3 cover fee to get in, but that more than pays for itself by the time the night is over. You are actually wasting your money if you go anywhere else unless you really, really want a Sup Crush. Sup Dogs has deals on their Sup Crushes on Thursday nights, making them actually worth their price.
From April 1st to the end of the year, the only other worthwhile deal is $4 Blueberry Wheat at Top of the Hill (aka TOPO). It’s the best beer I’ve ever had, so I definitely think it’s worth your money. In fact, from April 1st to the end of blueberry season I make a point to visit TOPO every time I go out.
Friday - $4 off all bottles of wine @ TRU Wine & Deli
TBH, wine is the only alcohol you should be consuming on a Friday, especially if you’ve had the week of a Carolina student who has just finished their first round of midterms. Also, if you didn’t make it to TRU on Wednesday for their Margarita special, now is your chance to swing by the chill venue and unwind for the weekend. My go-to is a Malbec, but I’m finding there aren’t as many red wine drinkers out there as I had thought.
Psych! There aren’t any deals on Saturday, but that’s probably for the best because if you made it to every other deal on this list in one week, you (and your liver) probably need a break. Take a breather and sip some (Kansas City) Ice Water.
Sunday - $1 Off Drunchies and Cocktails @ Linda’s
There’s an unspoken golden rule for a night out on Franklin Street: Always End At Linda’s. Their famous drunchies and cheap cocktails can help you prepare to battle your future hangover or maintain your buzz until you’re ready to head home for the night. My personal favorite are the mozzarella sticks, but their loaded cheese fries (not to be confused with cheesy tots from Sup Dogs) are also really popular, along with their combo basket, Brussel sprouts (ew), and Mac & Cheese (hint: it’s spicy and comes with Frosted Flakes sprinkled on top). No matter your personal taste, Linda's is bound to have something you'll enjoy.
Congrats on making it through a whole week of drinking! Now go grab yourself a glass of water, heat up some pizza rolls - or leftover cheese fries - and tell me what you think. Franklin Street is full of places to spend a night out, so if none of these places fit your vibe, there's sure to be one that does. Next time you find yourself in the southern part of heaven with a free night and just a few extra bucks, hit the bricks and get to sipping! Around here it's always a GDTBATH and that's something worth celebrating.