Lantern is the perfect way to start a night on Franklin with a few friends, whether you plan on following it up with a quiet drink at the Crunkleton or a (much) rowdier couple of hours at any of the bars lining the street. Lantern’s menu mixes Southern and Asian ingredients, which means pork-and-chive dumplings and spicy Sichuan noodles alongside Indian-spiced fried okra and tea-smoked chicken with kale. The dining room is bright and minimalist, but the best place to sit is under the red lanterns in the dimly-lit upstairs bar, sharing small plates and cocktails. There’s also a new-ish garden patio that’s a little more calm.
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The Crunkleton is the best cocktail bar in Chapel Hill and probably the Triangle area.
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