Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

Franklin Street restaurant tops the list of best college bars in the country

By Elizabeth Bartholf 

Fiesta Frog, a blog about popular college parties and bar specials, rated Top of the Hill as the 16th best college bar and hangout in the nation in July. Chapel Hill’s The Library, the only other ranked bar in town, placed 28th out of 50.

Scott Maitland, owner of Top of the Hill, said his restaurant and bar offer something for everyone.

“I wanted to be exactly what we are — an upscale, casual restaurant during the day and at night a kick-ass bar,” he said.

UNC senior Adam Jutha said Top of the Hill is his top bar choice, for both its locally-brewed beers and patio view, which overlooks Franklin Street.

“It’s a perfect location. I don’t think there’s any better way to enjoy looking out over Franklin Street,” he said.

Jutha said Top of the Hill is especially packed with UNC students on Thursday and Saturday D.J. nights.

“There’s always a line to get in,” he said. “The crowd is phenomenal and the atmosphere is awesome.”

Justin McClain, Top of the Hill’s bar manager, said several sports stars have also visited the restaurant.

McClain said he has met Tino Martinez, a former Major League Baseball player and Entourage actor Adrian Grenier.

“The one person I haven’t see is Michael Jordan,” McClain said. “He’d been in here quite a bit before I started working here, so it’s almost like I’m the plague or something.”

Daniel Surratt, a bartender at the restaurant, said he remembers talking to NBA player Antawn Jamison while working.

“He came in during the NBA lockout and I told him we could probably help him get a job if he needed one,” Surratt said. “He cracked up.”

Maitland said Fiesta Frog’s rating reflects the Top of the Hill’s versatility and popularity as a Chapel Hill venue.

“(We) are proud to be front porch of the University of North Carolina and the heart of the town of Chapel Hill,” he said.

“Hopefully next year we’ll be number one.”