This Hideaway Bar Serves Up Creative Cocktails and Global-Inspired Tapas

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Tucked away in a corner of historic Carr Mill Mall, B-Side Lounge is part speakeasy and part tapas bar

By Matt Lardie | Photography by Beth Mann

To get to B-Side Lounge in Carrboro, you’ll need to take a few turns. First, walk up toward the door of Venable, but don’t enter. Turn to your right, and then round the corner to your left, and head straight. Walk past what looks like a service entrance and take another left when the building ends. Go through the door at the back of the building, and you’ve arrived.

Tucked away in a corner of historic Carr Mill Mall, B-Side Lounge is part speakeasy and part tapas bar. The space is cozy, with exposed brick walls and intimate booths that invite hushed conversations with friends over cocktails and a late-night snack.

The dark, polished wood bar is the main feature of the space, where B-Side bartenders serve up a range of local beers, international wines and excellent craft cocktails. Try the Two Smokes, a blend of mezcal and scotch served on the rocks with orange liqueur, bitters and honey. If chilly winter nights needed a signature cocktail, this would be the one.

Grilled flatbread topped with fig jam, arugula, prosciutto, Sottocenere truffle cheese and truffle oil
Grilled flatbread topped with fig jam, arugula, prosciutto, Sottocenere truffle cheese and truffle oil.

Beer or wine more your speed? They always have North Carolina breweries on draft, and the wine list is loaded with unique pours with an emphasis on offerings from Italy and France. The 2016 Primitivo from Antica Masseria winery in Puglia is a good choice as you start to think about food.

B-Side’s small plate options reflect owner Drew Moore’s culinary history. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Drew spent time working around the world, from Boston and New York to Italy and Southeast Asia. On the menu, you’ll find a hearty squash and chickpea curry sidled up next to house-made empanadas and an Italian mortadella and burrata plate. If you ask Drew what dish excites him the most, he’ll point to the “panela,” a Sicilian street food specialty, without having to stop and think. B-Side pairs these fried chickpea fritters with local goat cheese and a Tuscan white bean salad.

Vivienne Benesch at B-Side Lounge
Vivienne ordered an Afficionado cocktail featuring prosecco and Gordon’s gin.

Open till 10:30 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday, B-Side is the sort of place where you bump into people you know. As the night wears on, friends trickle in for a cocktail or a nibble. Vivienne Benesch, producing artistic director for PlayMakers Repertory Company, has turned B-Side into her go-to for a good meal after work since the kitchen is open until close. She recently dropped by with playwright Noah Haidle – this spring she’ll direct his play “Birthday Candles” on Broadway.

“Working at PlayMakers, I’m often at the theater late into the night with rehearsals and performances,” Vivienne explains, “so it’s really nice to know that B-Side will still be open for a bite and a nightcap.”

She adds, “I always have to order the grilled flatbread with fig jam, arugula and prosciutto because it’s a lip-smacking blend of sweet and savory.”

B-Side is a place where you can easily see yourself becoming a regular, whether you end up at the bar or tuck yourself into a booth with friends. Pick a favorite corner, order up a cocktail and a few small plates, and allow B-Side to become your new late-night haunt. You already know how to find it; all that’s left is to make it yours.

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Chapel Hill Magazine is a 8-times-a-year lifestyle magazine dedicated to bringing you the very best of Chapel Hill. Our magazine places high emphasis on food and dining coverage, the arts, and community.

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Hannah Lee

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