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n Night Life
The Daily Tar HeelWednesday, October 4, 19895
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By DIANA FLORENCE and TIM LITTLE
It was a night like any other in downtown Chapel Hill.
The students were out, the food was plentiful and the
beer was cold. Everyone on Franklin Street seemed to be
having the time of their lives everyone, that is, except
For more than three-quarters of a century, Sam has
been condemned to silently watch Franklin Street night
life pass by him. But now for Sam's sake it's time
to find out what all this Franklin Street hoopla is about.
Franklin Street fare
Early in the evening, the bustle of Franklin Street
crowds is primarily in the dining and special-item food
spots. And each restaurant and ice cream shop has its
own distinctive mood.
At the Rams Head Rathskeller, fondly known as the
Rat, people enjoy eating hot meals such as spaghetti and
pizza in the cavern-like surroundings that give loners,
friends or lovers a feeling of seclusion. Graffiti by Tar
Heels past and present decorates the walls and tables.
"I think the Rat has the best lasagna in the world," said
Shea Carter, a junior music major from Charlotte. "And
the casual atmosphere allows you to be yourself."
Unlike the private getaway of the Rat, some Franklin
: Street eateries are traditionally known for their openness.
One such place is Spanky's.
"I've always loved Spanky's because it's a great place
to take anyone," said Paul Deavers, a sophomore
business major from Charlotte. "I've taken my girlfriend,
my parents, and it just has a perfect atmosphere for any
Located on the corner of Franklin and Columbia
streets, Spanky's offers a dinner menu including entrees
like shrimp scampi and nightly specials of chicken and
But Franklin Street's collection of dining hangouts
doesn't end there. For a taste of Chinese, there's the
Golden Dragon and the Dragon's Garden. For something
v.r sweet and cold, Swensen's, Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors
j Ice Cream and Ben & Jerry's have taste-scintillating
scoops for everyone.
:s And what would a main street be without a fast-food
s "Sometimes I really don't want to sit down and eat a
' big, hearty meal," said Sean Mitchell, a junior journalism
major from Fayetteville. "Subway and Hardee's are
perfect for when I want something on the go."
But dining out is only the beginning.
"The best thing after a good meal on Franklin Street is
a nice movie to watch. It's great that the theaters are con
veniently there on either side so that you are only steps
- , away from a lot of entertainment," said Julie Greene, a
junior psychology major from Charlotte.
The Varsity Theatre, Carolina Blue and White and
. Ram Triple provide some of the best in big-screen
- . , entertainment every night.
The Varsity is usually known as the "alternative"
movie theater, since it shows many lesser-known films.
, ; For many Chapel Hill moviegoers, this proves to be a
- pleasant switch from big-time, popular movies.
. "Sometimes I like to see a movie at the spur of the
;1 . moment, so I just walk up to the Varsity to see something
original and different," said Wendell McCain, a sopho
- more economics major from Charlotte. "It's available on
' any night of my preference, and I like that."
The larger theaters, the Carolina Blue and White
i Theatre and Ram Triple, show the main attractions that
I play across the country. Both places have often been a
"home away from home" for students.
"Ever since I was a freshman, there seemed like there
' was always something interesting playing, so I'd go to
! the movies and hang out with the guys," said Scott
'. Corrigan, a senior economics major from Greensboro.
'. "It's also a good place to see girls. It's amazing that
'. there are a lot of girls who do the same things with their
! friends," Corrigan said. "Movies definitely have to be
'. part of the best things about Franklin Street at night."
I And after that 9:30 movie lets out, it's time for the
: ultimate in Franklin Street night life the bars.
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On the town
The bright lights of Franklin
Street's entertainment spots
regularly draw hundreds of
students to sample their di
versity. Some like the beer
specials and crowded
atmosphere of Four Corners
while others prefer taking in a
movie at the Carolina
Photos by Jodi Anderson
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After all, beer isn't just for breakfast anymore. And its
not just for 21 -year-olds either. Take Babs for instance.
She hardly looks 19, but she's blond, has a fake i.d. and
flirts shamelessly with any fool carrying a hand stamp.
There ought to be a law.
But what's so great about these bars anyway? Couldn't
you go to say, Durham, and have just as good a time?
According to Jonathan Roth, a graduate student at Duke
Business School, it can't be done. "We come to Franklin
Street because the people here are nicer, the girls are
prettier and the atmosphere of the bars here can't even
compare with the ones in Durham."
The Franklin Street bar scene is a unique mixture of
traditional hang-outs and new bars vying for business by
using countless drink specials and assorted gimmicks.
Sometimes the gimmicks work, as in the case of
Players with its membership requirement and Thursday
night 50-cent draft special.
Other times they don't. The reputation of bars that
have occupied the same location can make or break a
place's success. "I come out to Players on Thursday
nights because I've always come here on Thursday nights
here since it was Purdy's," said former student J.R. Reid.
The timing of a new bar's opening can affect its
success as well. "The problem with On the Hill is that it
opened this summer when no one was really around, and
so now they have to work extra hard to distinguish
themselves to let everyone know that they are here," said
Chad Boswell, a junior journalism major from Cashiers.
But all the drink specials in the world cannot ensure a
popular following. Essentially, it is the established hang
outs that make students put down their books for a night
on the town with friends. One such institution is Four
Corners on East Franklin Street.
Four Corners is where many begin their evening. "It's
the launching pad for the journey down Franklin Street,"
said Jimmy Wright, a sophomore business major from
Miami. On a typical weekend or Wednesday night (there's
a $2.50 special on pitchers of beer on Wednesday), the
line to get into "4 Cs" is well out the door.
Why the attraction? According to Nick Efthimiou, a
senior advertising major from Dallas, it's the atmosphere.
"The narrow set-up of the bar area really packs people in
tight, and I guess being that close together kind of forces
everyone into a friendly, casual mood," he said.
The evening's frame of mind will determine the next
stop. If you're in the mood for live music, then
Magdalena's La Terraza or Cat's Cradle on West Franklin
Street are the places to go.
It could also be the up-and-coming Franklin Street Bar
and Grill where according to Prentiss Vallender, a
sophomore international studies major from Washington,
D.C. "You can find good people, good times, cheap
beer and no sweat."
If the weather is good, it could be He's Not Here. "It is
a great place to come because the atmosphere is so
casual," said Scott Petermann, a junior chemistry major
from Valdosta, Ga. On Tuesday nights hundreds of coeds
dressed to kill are all packed onto the large outdoor patio
area in search of one thing: the $1.50 bucket-sized
Carolina blue cup filled with their choice of available draft
If dancing is what you have in mind, the place to go is
Players. According to Todd Rush, a sophomore biology
major from Kernersville, "Players is always a lot of fun
because the girls look good and if you run out of things to
talk about, you can always ask her to dance," he said.
Although Thursday is its biggest night, the weekends
have been drawing large numbers, especially since this
summer's addition of a pool table and Foozball.
Unfortunately,' N.C. law mandates that all this fun end
at 2 a.m. At closing time, the good times continue out onto
the sidewalk for another 45 minutes or so.
Satisfying midnight munchies
But your night on Franklin Street doesn't end here.
Now it's time for some late-night munching at the several
after-hours eating establishments. These include Hardee's,
Subway, Time-Out, Pepper's Pizza and Hector's.
As a matter of fact, some of the wildest things happen
at these places after the bars have closed.
Paul Wiester, manager at Hector's, said he has worked
the late-night shift for six years and has seen it all. One of
Weister's funniest experiences happened on a jam-packed
night when about 120 people were in and out and around
"I was cooking and this guy walks in, stands up (on the
table) in the middle of the room must have been some
frat pledge drops his pants and starts blessing us with
what God blessed him," Wiester said. "He left but came
back and did the same thing about 20 minutes later. We
got out chrome spray paint, but missed him."
Everyone has a favorite late night spot and will defend
According to Frances Brady, a junior English major
from Dobson, "Pepper's is the place for me because I'm a
But perhaps the most die-hard patrons are those at
Hector's. "Hector's is it," said Steve Jones, a senior
history major from Ocala, Fla. "It's got the tradition, the
variety and most importantly, the Double Cheeseburger on
Pita and the best greasy french fries in Chapel Hill. The
only thing it needs is to be open 24 hours."
After that last bite, students crawl back to their rooms
and the street lights dim as the night life, like all good
things, comes to an end. And although Sam will always be
confined to his lonely station, at least he won't feel bad in
Staff writer Wendy Grady also contributed to this story.
Billy Penny says there's nothing he doesn't like about his job
ove for the late shift
By JESSICA YATES
Assistant Arts and Features Editor
It's 9 p.m. not a busy hour at
Time-Out restaurant and night-shift
worker Billy Penny is relaxing in one of
the chairs, amused by all the attention
he's getting aud chuckling because
someone else is doing his work tonight.
Billy is well-known to fraternity
brothers, Granville residents and any
one else who is often out in the middle
of the night. He works every night
except Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 6
a.m. at Time-Out.
He operates the cash registers and
helps prepare the food, but his reputa
tion for being tough yet entertaining is
what earns him a permanent spot on the
list of people to see in downtown Chapel
Hill at night.
Billy, who is known by most stu
dents by his first name only, is off work
tonight, but he has shown up simply to
sit back and enjoy the show some
thing he doesn't do often. He chats with
the customers and teases the cashier.
"It's like a family here," he says.
Despite the odd hours, Billy says he
enjoys working the night shift. "They
let you do whatever you want ... cuss
students out, jam in the back," he ex
plains. "It's the only place you don't
say, 'can I help you?'"
Most restaurants don't allow such a
down-to-earth attitude toward custom
ers, as Billy knows well. "In other
places, you got to be nice," he said.
"B ut not here." He has lived in Pittsboro
all his life and has worked in other
restaurants in the Triangle, but he has
remained at Time-Out for five years.
"There ain't nothing I don't like
about it. Have to put up with drunk
college kids, but ..." he shrugs. "They
don't fight, just do a little pushing and
I say 'that's it take it outside.'"
So why do people go back to see
"Entertainment!" Billy says, laugh
ing. Evidently, Time-Out can be a real
riot. Billy remembers one Halloween
night when "someone rolled in a casket
and left the casket in here. Someone
was saying, 'Let me out! Let me out!'
"I went home," Billy says noncha
lantly. "I don't know how he got out,
but I say if they got themselves in, they
can get themselves out."
In spite of the occasional prank,
Billy says he enjoys the students, but he
has no favorites. "You like them all,"
Maybe he's partial to the athletes
who drop by?
"You get to meet all the old and new
basketball players, get invitations to
basketball games," Billy says. He goes
to football games too, although he
admits, "I didn't buy a ticket this year,
didn't want to waste the money."
. But during this interview, the week
before the game with N.C State, he
was wishing the Tar Heels good luck.
"I just hope the football team wins.
They can beat State. State just have a
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Students packTime-Out on Friday night In search of food and fun