Monthly review by Kathleen Harrington
AKA: The Bean
Location: 50100 Governors Drive, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
Age range: Late 30s and 40s
If not for the location, Bean & Barrel would have gotten that third star. They did a prime job decorating the inside of the venue to give it a rustic and lived-in feel, but I struggled to separate this warm den from its stark strip mall shell. Though the inside won me over with its charismatic staff, extensive menu choices and notably quaint atmosphere, I could not quite immerse myself in the experience without it feeling a little forced. Maybe trivia on Tuesdays or one of the other daily specials is what gets the crowd rocking, but the Friday night I visited had a much more easy pace. The Bean felt like a great spot for nearby residents to come together and catch up because of its chill vibes and inclusive furnishings. If you’re expecting a packed crowd or party scene, this isn’t your place. I encourage anyone looking for a place to hang out with a friend or snuggle up with a good read to give this one the chance it deserves.