Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery

Top of the Hill Restaurant and BreweryTop of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

101 East Franklin Street, Third Floor
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27514
United States

(919) 929-8676 | map

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 45
Photo of pkelly0313
1.9/5  rDev -47.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 1.5

Terrible! Low-grade beer and bad food at high prices. Clearly taking advantage of the rooftop location. I feel embarrassed every time someone tells me they think it's great (which is a clear indication they have no taste whatsoever).

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Photo of daliandragon
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5

So I've been here several times, usually before a football game day. The location is the most important thing, since its basically on campus and within easy walking distance of both Kenan and the Deandome.

The setting is key if you get an outdoor table in the late afternoon, although sun out here can be brutal without sunblock from April to October. Honestly, the beer is average at best, and I usually start with a Bloody Mary since we go for brunch. The service is spotty; sometimes its awesome and friendly, sometimes distant and lousy. The food is generally very good and prices fair, although portions on some things are a little weak. Brunch, apps, and soups in the winter are all good calls but as a whole the menu is very solid.

Not a place to go out of your way for beerwise, but for food and convenience near UNC, it is tough to beat.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.99/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nice selection of craft beers. The local blueberry wheat beer is excellent, as is the food. The atmosphere in the outdoor seating area, which overlooks Franklin Street, is great, particularly after UNC wins a football or basketball game.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25

Very good food. I tried the IPA and the Stout on nitro; IPA was just ok, really enjoyed the stout though. Go here for the food, and drink some pretty good beers while there.

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Photo of HopsAndGrapesHickory
4.88/5  rDev +34.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Top of the Hill took first and second place Best of Show awards at Hickory, NC's Carolinas Championship of Beer on April 21, 2012. Kenan Lager took top honors in the International Lager category. Ram's Head IPA scored second place in English IPA style. 269 beers were entered in the blind-judged, BJCP-recognized competition. Congrats to John With, George Dusek and their brewing team. BTW, TOTH just opened a distillery.

The great beer state of NC boasts 62 craft breweries and counting (soon to count Sierra Nevada and New Belgium). Drink your hearts out!!!!

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Photo of drathbone
4.53/5  rDev +24.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Myself and 3 fellow homebrewers were in town this past weekend for a festival and was referred to this brewpub by a family member.

It was a busy Friday evening (around 7pm). Downtown was crowded and parking was not as difficult as I've read (from other reviews) to find. We parked about a block away and came up the elevator.

First off, the initial scenery of the bar was impressive. The entire brewery was exposed to the right side of the cool, modern looking bar. It was very busy, however we were seated immediately outside.

We were promptly greeted by our server who gave us the drink/food menu. She came back in a timely manner to get our drink order - 4 flights which consisted of all 7 of their house brews on tap and 4 waters. Within a few minutes she came by with 2 large trays with all 32 drinks (28 beers, 4 waters) on them and ready to take our food order. The flights were impressive in volume and came out to about 2 pints total. At $8/flight I couldn't complain. The beer was good but not great, however was worth it.

The food menu was more than just your typical pub food and had some unique offerings. I got the Locavare Burger which was fantastic. The food came out before we were able to finish our flights. After our food, we wanted to try the IPA and Porter that was cask aged and is only served in the back bar. Our waitress offered to go to the back bar to personally order and serve us our pints to add to our dining tab. I have to give her props for this, as the restaurant was very busy and typically we would have had to order these separately after finishing in the restaurant. Our tab was about $25 total before tip.

After our meal, we went to the back bar, which also had a very cool atmosphere. The darts, pool and foosball were all free.

OVERVIEW: The restaurant was excellent, I would definitely return and recommend this to anyone. The service was immaculate all in timeliness, accuracy and general execution, the establishment had a cool modern vibe and was very clean, the food was something different and delicious, beer was ok and price was very affordable. Will certainly return next time I'm in town.

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Photo of nickd717
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Well, this place is what it is. It's a fun college bar that also happens to brew beer. You've got a bunch of dude/bros in their obnoxious Carolina blue (I'm a Duke fan) as well as a bunch of coeds. There were about 5 house brews on tap when I went, although it seemed like most of the clientele was drinking well drinks, BMC, and other crap. The beer is better than I expected, which is to say it's about average. Some selections were enjoyable, while others were uninteresting. I ordered a mushroom and sausage pizza, and that was pretty good. Prices are about average for the area. It gets crowded, so expect to wait for your beer, and don't expect the server to be very patient. As a final remark, not that I'm looking (getting married soon), but the tail quality here is respectable. If you're a young guy looking to find a nice young lady conversation, this is your place. If you're a young woman looking for a nice young guy though, you're probably out of luck because this place is full of Carolina d-bags.

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Photo of mklinger
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Came here on a night's stopover when driving home from vacation. My wife & kids ate here & had some beers.

We sat inside because it was hot outside & there's really only one row of seats that are great on the balcony for people watching. It was pretty dark but tastefully decorated. Brewing setup was in glass and visible as were 6 or so large serving vessels. We tried 3 beers, the IPA & porter both on cask and their seasonal saison. Both of the cask beers were solid but not exceptional. The saison was really quite good.

Food was also good -- I had the upscale fried chicken. My wife had the grit cakes with shrimp, my daughter had the goat cheese ravioli, and my son had pizza. Everyone liked their food and the size of the servings was large.

Service was good although I wouldn't say that the server knew a ton about beer, but he was fine. I'd come back if headed through Chapel Hill..

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Had lunch here while in town for a visit to UNC for my son. I have heard some comments about avoiding this place, but it was pouring rain and we were, we took our chances. Glad we did. Took the elevator up to the 3rd floor and popped out right at the hostess stand. The brewing equipment is behind glass lining the right side of the restaurant. A large, free formed bar fills the center of the room. Nice, large, covered deck overlooks Franklin Street. Our service was fast and friendly. I had the Saison and thought it was pretty well done. The food came quick and was tasty, too. The Lizard chips were great. I bet this would be a great place to hang out for a UNC b-ball game. I wouldn't hesitate to stop back in if I was ever in town, and neither should you.

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Photo of Willibomb
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

The location of this brewery is about as perfect as you can get for the area. Great rooftop location, great setup inside. As you would expect, the inner workings of the brewery are for all to see, and the bar layout is very nice.

The beer is my favorite part of this place. I have been a fan of the ram's head and leaderboard since I first tried them at the "all about beer" beer festival back in '06. They are not brewing anything that is going to re-write the rules on brewing, but everything they make, is very well done and fresh. I like the wild ales as much as anyone, but I like traditional drinks when they are as well done as they are at this location.

The service I had was great. The place was packed for UNC being in the final 4, and despite having eaten, I did not feel rushed out. My waiter was very helpful and attentive.

The selection is pretty standard, although they have recently added a few new drinks to their line. Any brewery with a retail end will likely have a selection ranging from lager-stout with a wit and an ipa. This is no exception.

The food is great, simple and great. Their gumbo was amazing and the portions are decent. I would say that it would be in line with the cost of eating at an applebees but the food is much higher quality, and the beer is fantastic.

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Photo of mechamifune
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

As a warning before reading, this review will be of my visit here about 2 years ago, so it may be lacking a bit in detail.

I think of TOTH more as a restaurant that happens to brew its own beer than as a brewpub. The setting, on top of and looking out onto franklin st, is great, especially on a nice day. The food is not typical bar/grill fare and is well thought out and well prepared.

During my visit however, there were only 4 beers available on tap. All were good, though not overly noteworthy. With only four house brews, it was hard to think of this as a true brewpub.

Still, a very pleasant setting for a nice dinner or romantic night out. For that alone I would highly recommend it. The beers are just kind of an added bonus. I will have to make a return trip soon myself to see what, if anything, has changed.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

atmosphere - great and love the location and area. Views of Franklin street are great as long as the weather is good.

quality- Food and beer was top notch. Actually really good for a microbrew pub. I haven;t been to a lot but this was one of the best I have been too in the category.

service- well our service was perfect and it looked like an efficeint bar overall

selection- small selection but they made their own beer. It was all above average.

food- we didn't eat much there but it looked great and the menu was creative.

value- very good and I would highly recomend this place. Probably the best beer place in Chapel Hill that I have gone to.

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Photo of nocheinsbitte
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

To start with, this is one of the best places in Chapel Hill to get a good bier and good meal. The menu varies, but there is a consistent Louisiana feel to it, the jambalaya is the best in the area--hot, spicy, and mixes well with the bier. The other items on the menu are also very good...this is not a typical sports bar, it is more of an medium scale restaurant that serves good bier.

The bier itself is of the higher quality. The IPA and stout are the best, they also try a hefe and others that pale in comparison to the German versions, but they are respectable.

I go back every few weeks for a good meal and a few IPAs. I strongly recommend this place if you are in the Chapel Hill/Durham area. It will not disappoint.

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Photo of bignick
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I spent a few hours at Top of the Hill at an event sponsored by the Boston College Booster Club, the night before a BC/Carolina football game. The venue was awesome; we were outside in the large balcony that overlooks Downtown Chapel Hill. Inside, there is a tremendous amount of Carolina memorabilia, and the place is extremely clean. I had several IPAs, which were well-balanced with a nice kick. The beers were $5, which is a bit expensive for a brewpub even by Boston standards; luckily the club bought the first keg. All of the other beers appeared appetizing. We had a buffet spread that included excellent hush puppies, spicy diced chicken, sliced roast beef, and pork. The bartenders remembered that I was drinking the IPA by the third round.

I had an excellent time at Top Of the Hill. It is a must-visit for any visitors in Chapel Hill, especially sports fans.

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Photo of jimbotrost
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Wow, what a beautiful place with a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Visited 10/5/08 after the World Beer Fest-Durham. Took the elevator upstairs to the 3 rd floor. Brewhouse is behind glass and runs the length of the East wall, it is spotless. Micro canner is right next to the glass and is on display. Bar and dining area is classy, table tops have engineers drawings of different facets of the brewery on them, sat at the bar and had a beer, it was clean, nice temperature, can't recall the style. One of the more beautiful places I have been to.

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Photo of drperm
4.38/5  rDev +20.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Whenever my wife and I return to the Triangle, we make a point of visiting Top of the Hill for dinner and brews.

They brew all of their offerings on-site (in fact, the large fermenters provide enticing eye-candy from the main dining room), so don't come here looking for 20 taps or something. After all, you can only drink one beer at a time, and each of their draughts is high-quality.

The food is delicious, in good serving sizes, and reasonably priced. Best creme brulee in NC, as far as I'm concerned. The pizzas, pasta dishes, and entree specials are mouth-watering even as I sit here reminiscing.

The ambiance is nice without being stuffy, trendy without being coldly industrial. And there's a fantastic outdoor porch (with heaters) overlooking Franklin Street.

Be warned, though -- this nice date-spot restaurant changes into a college bar pretty quickly after 9:00 or so. For the best experience, go early-ish for dinner. Or mid-week.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Ah Top of the Hill. I've been here once (as of this review) at about 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday. Inside (I didn't make it outside on the balcony) there is a curvy counter around the bar and tables that seem to expand far into the rest of the space. You can see some of the brewery behind a curvy glass wall behind me. Not a bad restaurant interior, and you definitely feel a sense of the outside/top of the hill balcony whether you're on it or not. (At least while sitting at the bar). Their menu is limited at this time of the day but I ordered a decent shrimp pizza. It was nothing that blew my mind but it was good, and good with afternoon drinking. The beer was good. I like picking up sixes of their brew in stores, as its yummy and very nicely priced here, being local. Its breweries like this and Oskar Blues that make me re-appreciate beer in canned form. Well anyways, their tap offerings were of good quality and enjoyable. I probably would have gone back by now if weren't for the local thirsty giant college student population making it hard for me to get my beer.

Not as comfortable and cozy an atmosphere as a brewery should be, though interesting. The beer is good and the food is decent. Service was good when I was there but I have yet to know what its like during the busy hours.

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Photo of nriech
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Was a little warm on the day we showed up so hung out in the bar area until dinner served at 5. Bar menu was decent, we had the crab and artichoke app which was good. The bartender was quick and friendly.

There only appears to be 5 taps available and they are all house beers. One was down, which was the stout I believe and a disappointment. I overheard it isnt served during the summer. :-(

At dinner we were promptly seated at an excellent table right on the balcony outside. The waitress was quick to arrive and got our drinks right away. My wife had wine and the pour was pretty small.
My beer (IPA) was seriously lacking head. I have to attribute this to the way the bartender pours, very sloppily. He must have lost 6 ounces of beer pouring a pint trying to get rid of the head. The mango hefe was served with a lemon of course, you would think more of a brewery if they didnt do this.

The food was pretty darn good. I had the seared tuna which was served with the horseradish mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. The tuna was topped with bit of a wasabi something. Tuna was cooked perfectly but was a bit more chewey than I would have expected for fresh.
The filet mignon was cooked to order correctly and tasted very good.

Overall this is a place to eat a nice meal and enjoy some fresh beer. I cant say I would frequent it if I lived in the area as the prices are a bit steep but not unreasonable. I would get rid of the trough type urinals though, those are OK for sports bar or bar only.

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Photo of mgobrew
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4

I stopped in for an afternoon visit while on business in the Raleigh area. It was a beautiful day for pre-Spring so we sat out on the balcony overlooking the street. Nice place to people watch from above. Arrived around 4:30 and it was relatively busy but not packed so we were able to find a seat right away. The service was slow to say the least. Our eventual server walked by our table several times without even a look or a quick "I'll be right with you." When she did arrive she did not apologize but instead said she though we had beers already, which was strange considering we did not have any glasses on the table we were sitting at. She may have been an exception as it seemed other tables had more attentive servers.

We ordered their IPA and after the barkeep’s first pour hit the floor in a pile of glass and beer we finally were served. The beer was good but not spectacular. There was no head above the orange to amber color. The aroma was of grassy hops but not overpowering. The taste was smooth with bitterness from first taste through the finish. It paired nicely with cigars and the sunshine. They do allow smoking here and sell a number of cigars at the bar if you do not bring your own. This seemed to be a popular past time on the balcony.

I would definitely give it another try based on the atmosphere and cigar friendly balcony. I would also like to think that our service was the exception not the rule. The food looked excellent however we did not eat as we were heading to a dinner later on.

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Photo of asabreed
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Having been to Chapel Hill a few times, I was excited to finally hit this place, which makes itself known with its presence for both the physical height, the fact that it's a restaurant and micro brewery, and that it's in the heart of Chapel Hill, nestled between the bars and all the night life one could want from the area.

I went with a few friends, and it's interesting at first that you have to get there, of course, by stairs of the elevator. We ended up taking the elevator. The top floor is fairly dark though with nice lighting, there were lots of attractive women (if, like me, you're into that sort of thing), and the bar was really nice, with many bartenders, lots of booze, and a decent amount of places to actually get a pint of the microbrews on tap. It wasn't too smokey either, which is certainly a plus.

It took us an hour to get a table, which wasn't too bad considering it was a Friday around 7-8 P.M. So we got beers, hung out at the bar, and had a good time hanging out and waiting.

We got a table outside, which was nice for an early November night as the temperature was warm without being too warm, which was just right. Our waitress was very nice, though what surprised me was how fast the food came out. We had 6 people and I swear it was less than 20 minutes, which surprised all of us. Unfortunately, at least for me, that reflected on the food. I got the NY strip which was $19.99 and came with horseradish mashed potatoes and skillet veggies. The potatoes were good, but nothing I couldn't concoct. The veggies were brocolli and that's it--and nothing was all that great about them. The steak was cooked more medium than medium rare, which is what I requested, and it wasn't a $20 cut of meat in my opinion. So the food was definitely disappointing, for me, for the price.

The beers they had were a Wit, an IPA, a Dunkel Weizen, a Lager, some Mango beer, a Porter, and maybe one more. A decent selection, especially for the season. I tried the Wit, which was tasty, especially for a micro.

Overall it's a decent place to go for a party of, I'd say, more than 2. I wouldn't want to go there just on a single date. I'd almost rather go and have a few beers or drinks at the bar, which was the best part about it to me. Not sure I'd be thrilled to go again, especially as far as the food goes (though I can only talk about the NY strip), but it's certainly a place you may want to hit if you're in the area and looking for some microbrews and food.

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Photo of Neehan
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I stopped in here on a visit to see a concert at the Cat's Cradle. It was a nice place with an inviting, friendly atmosphere. At the time of my visit, there were 6 local beers on tap, of which included a lager, an IPA, a porter, and 2 wheat beers. I sampled the lager and porter and found them to be good, enjoyable beers but I was a bit disappointed that they had run out of the IPA, although they were available in to-go six packs, as was the lager. The menu here provides a nice selection, although a bit pricey. Also, there was no list of the other beers available besides the local brews. The waiters did seem to have pretty solid knowledge of the local beers and were able to make suggestions. Very nice bruschetta, crab-dip and "thumbs and toes" appetizer which is a boneless version of buffalo wings-- damn good!

All-in-all a nice place, although the beer wasn't quite what I have heard it hyped up to be, but if you are there for a good time and atmosphere you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of sinistrsam
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

This is the place to be in Chapel Hill; Tar Heels (and Blue Devils, although don’t say anything) alike climb the 2 floors to top story of a building situated at one of the main intersections in town. The inside boasts a somewhat elegant host of tables, a large bar and glass-lined wall behind which are beautiful copper brew-kettles.
Outside a set of double doors is a covered patio which overlooks the beautiful town and part of campus. On a nice night (which can be anytime from March-November) you can sit at tables with friends, drink some homemade beer and watch the passersby below.
Beer: I wasn’t terribly impressed with their beers; I tried a Porter, Summer Lager and an IPA. They were also out of 2 of the 6 beers they were offering and getting to the bar can be a hassle.
I do say stop by here to check out the scene and decide what you think about their beers for yourself.

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Photo of cracgor
3.39/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5

Top of the Hill is located on Columbia St where it intersects Franklin St--on the side south or side closest to unc campus on the Third Floor of the building. It is a nice looking establishment with a central bar, wooden floors, an outdoor patio, and a brewhouse behind glass in view of the entire bar.

I went at night. The music plays pretty loud so you have to shout to talk to anyone. It is crowded with lots of people. Very easy to meet people. Not so great to take a date. Because it is so crowded, it is slow service. I can't believe how many lemon wedges I saw plunked into Whites...and that just drives me crazy. The slow service is not really the bartenders fault, they work pretty quickly for the number of orders they get, they just treat the beer with less regard than I would like.

I didn't try the food at all. I'm pretty sure they do serve food though, because there are tables and I noticed waiters, but I don't remember seeing anyone eating anything.

Selection on tap is okay. They are all house brews (5 of them). Tonight was IPA, White, Pale, Summer, and Brown. But there are no outside brews on tap, and I didn't really notice any bottled selection. Pints are $4 a pop. The bar is just a little too trendy for my taste.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2 | food: 4

Top Of The Hill is located on Franklin St on the Third Floor with the entrace off Columbia. You can take the elevator or walk up.

Once up there the place is surrounded by glass or you can plop out on the covered patio (is it a patio when 3 stories up?). The bar area was clean, but a perimeter shelf had no seats and seats were missing at some of the bar area tables. Very odd! The best things were the view and the total lack of smoke.

The taps were pitiful. 6 total taps, 2 blown at the time of the visit. Pale (ESB), IPA, Summer (Lager), and Porter on at the time. We sampled their ESB and their Porter and neither quite cut the mustard. We had free drink coupons for the beers, but the standard price was a bit much for a substandard brew. We sampled the Nachos which were good and a nice complement to the ESB since both were corny.

Ouy server was good, but clueless about the beer. He thought they used roasted barley in all their beers. We didn't have the heart to correct him. It was immediately clear that TOTH is not a beer destination and the beer is not cared for like some other establishments in the area. Nice for people watching though.

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Photo of Ninjaworm
2.53/5  rDev -30.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 3

The place is pretty trendy as you sit on the open 3rd floor patio overlooking the center of Franklin Street. If you enjoy people watching it is quite the find as you perch on a stool in the warm summer evening. The right side of the inside dinning is a backdrop of the normal brewing equipment through a glass wall.

I did not try the food so I cannot comment on how the food tasted but the quality of their beers was poor overall. I found none of their beers to be very appealing.

I find the service of this establishment to be rather slow, it was difficult to get a pint.

I cannot remember whether they have 4 or 5 of their beers normally on tap. But the styles they approached were the standard fair.

Overall I would suggest this for people going out to hang out but not to people who wanted to really enjoy a few good pints.

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Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery in Chapel Hill, NC
3.55 out of 5 based on 160 ratings.
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