423 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC | Directions 2751635.910574 -79.062354
Excellent drinks, fun food, dramatic atmosphere – I?ve been in the dining room of Lantern before with its cheerful yellow walls but this was my first trip to the lounge at the back. It?s much more my style with 70?s music playing, lanterns hung all over, dim lighting, and intimate tables against the wall.
While waiting for my husband, I had a Lotus Blossom cocktail that was superb. We decided to share a few appetizers and started with the Salmon Bento Box. It was literally bursting with flavor as the salmon is cured with sake and tea. The miso mayonnaise was an excellent accompaniment to the fish. We went for the Baang Baang Chicken next, which went quite well with a Yo La Mango cocktail. The ginger and chile oil in the dish was too brash; a subtler flavoring would have been more impressive.
The meal was complete with a Mint Ice Cream Sundae, which was tasty but might have been better with a mint extract rather than the leaves themselves.
While I didn?t love every ingredient, I did love the experience of dining at the Lounge.
Raising the red lantern in Chapel Hill has never been so much fun. – In Short
Connected by a long hallway to the Lantern restaurant, this small bar simply oozes atmosphere. Black paneled walls, candles, paper lanterns and splashes of deep red colors help create a relaxing environment for those looking to raise a glass or two. You'll find all your favorite liquors--including a few unusual bottles like Pims--plus a good wine list. And while there aren't many beers on tap, Singha beer from Thailand is a welcome find.
User review by jbergens – Best Bartenders in NC. The food is great, but get there early to get a seat.
Great (small) Find (don't tell anyone) – Lantern (esp the bar) offers a surprisingly hip and sophisticated atmosphere and menu, while not coming off as high-brow. It's too bad the bar isn't a little bigger, but then again that's part of the allure and it keeps the noise down. A great bar if you're in a sultry mood or with a great date. A great restaurant if you're looking to please your pallet and dine on a real mixture of Asian cuisine. FYI not inexpensive but worth it.
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