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Four Corners successfully creates a third place for many Carolina fans by providing a Tar Heel identity and relieving stress among its customers. 

The Basics:

  • Location: 175 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
  • Hours:
    • Monday- Thursday: 11 AM- 12 AM
      Friday- Saturday: 11AM- 2AM
      Sunday 11 AM- 10PM
  • Phone number: (919) 537-8230
  • Social media:
  • Price point: around $10
  • Menu

Tar Heel Tips:

  • Take the P2P or U for quick access. 
  • If you are looking for a quick meal avoid game times! But if you are looking for a lively place to watch the game, then game times are perfect for you!
  • Specialty items
    • Julius peppers
    • Wings
  • Special deals
    • Half priced menu items after 10 pm
    • Daily specials
  • Nice place for a date, dinner with family, or game watching with friends.


Four Corners has been an iconic place to watch UNC basketball and other sports since its opening in 1978. This restaurant is centered around Dean Smith and UNC basketball from its name “Four Corners” to its decor and menu items. As Four Corners facilitates a Carolina identity it inherently becomes a third place. The idea of a third place developed in the years following industrialization as people looked for a break from work and family. According to Rail, “Third places may take many forms- cafes, bars, beauty parlors, main streets….having virtue in relieving stress and providing identity. (Rail 302)” Four Corners is a prime example of a third place, the relaxing environment and Carolina decor allow UNC fans to feel at home. Four Corners successfully creates a third place for many Carolina fans by providing a Tar Heel identity and relieving stress among its customers. 

Tar Heel Pride

Hostess stand capturing the dates of 7 national championships.

Four Corners establishes a third place by creating Carolina identity through its decor and a sense of community. By relating over a common love for Chapel Hill any Carolina fan can feel at home in Four Corners.  The atmosphere of Four Corners depends on date and time; on a normal week day or night it is common to find UNC students grabbing an appetizer while they complete homework. Although, during and after a big game the restaurant takes on an entirely different role by growing electric with Tar Heel Pride. As fans pour in to the restaurant and the line grows to get in the door fans embrace each other and talk about their history with UNC.

Four Corners’ decor is marked by a hostess stand with the 7 national championships, a floor painted to match the basketball court and an argyle menu. This clearly displays the restaurants pride in the men’s basketball team; this sense of pride is shared among all Carolina fans and customers. This restaurant provides customers of similar backgrounds with a place to unite;  bringing UNC students, alumni, and fans together.

One well known Carolina tradition is rushing Franklin street after beating Duke or winning a big game. The national championship game in 2017 had Four Corners and many other restaurants full of eager fans. Once the game ended with a 71-65 win over Gonzaga, crowds emptied restaurants and all parts of campus to rush Franklin Street. Zach Pearson’s article stated, “Just look at that sea of Carolina Blue celebrating. The party will likely go on all night long and hopefully it doesn’t get too out of hand. (Pearson 8)” The Tar Heel community is much like a family and they all come together to celebrate their team’s success. Four Corners plays a big role in facilitating the community atmosphere by providing a specific place for fans to unite and celebrate together. This was an event that no UNC student, fan, or alumni would willingly miss.

Sports Talk

An aerial view of the Carolina Decor

As a homage to Dean Smith this restaurant is stocked with Carolina memorabilia. The restaurant’s name “Four Corners” actually originated from Dean Smith’s legendary play known as four corners. Joe Menzer summarizes this play as, “…a stall offense Carolina routinely went into late in a game, when Smith figured all the Tar Heels had to do was run time off the clock. (196)” This play led many other teams and coaches to hate Carolina and fueled the research triangle’s sport rivalries.

With a name originated from a basketball play this restaurant was meant to foster UNC spirit and tradition. The small restaurant draws a large audience together through its close tables, kind staff, and large bar. Four Corners may contain 3 different levels of tables, but this does not create a feeling of isolation to customers. The small restaurant allows for the feeling of Tar Heel pride to spread across the restaurant with each point scored.


Calling All Carolina Fans

As a third place Four Corners has virtue in relieving stress through its food, drinks, and casual environment. Most sports bars stick to a menu of “bar food.” According to Stanton, Meloche, and Charette American bar food is centered around sports, “When you gather to [watch sports], since your primary focus is the event and your friends, you do not want to shift a lot of your focus to eating – so bar foods are generally foods, which can be eaten without utensils and can be easily shared. (Stanton 227)” For this reason Four Corners serves a variety of appetizers including but not limited to Julius Peppers, nachos, wings, and garlic cheese fries. These foods allow fans to actively engage in conversation while snacking.

Considering taverns were the first form of third places, the beer consumption within Four Corners furthers the idea that it is a third place. Traditionally in America beer has been served and advertised throughout sports. Four Corners plays a large role in this by displaying beer advertisements and neon signs across the restaurant. By serving a variety of beer, Four Corners is able to cater to the young night life found throughout Chapel Hill and help relieve stress. This also creates a relaxed stress-free environment for customers bonding with friends or family over a love for UNC sports.

With over ten televisions every customer can obtain a front row view of their favorite team and cheer them on. The staff are quick to engage in sports conversation with the customers;  this communication allows customers to feel more comfortable and engaged in the game. The staff’s hospitality and friendly attitude also help customers feel at home within the third place. The bar is best suited for customers looking for full engagement within the sport’s spirit, but they still have amazing food for everyone. Duke and championship games draw the biggest crowd; people can be found standing across the restaurant cheering loudly and embracing their love for UNC.

Despite their welcoming environment I would not recommend this restaurant to a Duke or NC State fan. Photos are scattered across the restaurant as memorabilia to the previous teams at UNC. The hostess stand welcomes its customers with a list of the 7 National Championships won by UNC. These items serve as a sense of pride and accomplishment for Tar Heels everywhere, but to other fans these items are a repellent. Although the restaurant seemingly restricts its fan base to one group this does not limit its business. This is due to the large number and wide variety of Carolina fans in the area.



Menzer, Joe. Four corners: how UNC, N.C. State, Duke, and Wake Forest made North Carolina the center of the basketball universe. Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Pearson, Zack. “UNC Basketball: Fans rush Franklin Street after national championship game.” Keeping It Heel, FanSided, 3 Apr. 2017,

Rail, Geneviáeve. Sport and Postmodern Times. State University of New York Press, 1998. SUNY Series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations. EBSCOhost,

Stanton, John L., Martin S. Meloche, and Peter Charette. “Defining Bar Food Consumption Patterns in United States Chain Restaurants.” Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, vol. 4, no. 3, 2012, pp. 227-234, ProQuest Central,, doi:




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