The earth trades its spin for a massive vibration at night in the land of bar-hopping. RTP and university computers and files fade into vodka jiggers and tumblers of tequila. The drudgery of the daily 9-5 is tossed aside along with iron-pressed suits and dresses, in favor of faille and fishnets. If you too are hankering for a hot time, try your hand at this Triangle pub crawl.
Start in the West. Chapel Hill, aka Chapel Thrill, is well-versed in nightlife.
Friday evening, go to Franklin Street. Top of the Hill (100 E. Franklin St., Third Floor, 929-8676) will be having Sunset on the Patio. Order a brew made right in the restaurant. Enjoy the high view of a sunset over the city. You'll have to squeeze your way out by 10 p.m.
Fuse Tapas and Bar (403 W. Rosemary St., 942-9242). is not as popular as some of the others, but has a very big-city, artsy atmosphere—the photography and artwork change regularly.
Talullas (456 W. Franklin St., 933-1177) You missed Tuesday jazz night, but Fridays are fun, too. World music, a delicate Turkish aroma, soft lighting and sultry cushions; you'll be schmoozing with a fly foreigner as fast as you can say pilaf.
Take your new date to Lantern (423 W. Franklin St., 969-8846), a sexy, romantic and intimate bar with a sultry red theme hotter than a flickering flame.
Before heading east, other must-sees: The Library (120 E. Franklin St., 968-6004), where the bartenders from a narrow bar craft their drinks like artwork from a vast selection of alcohol, and Blend (157 E. Rosemary St., 338-2746), where you can learn to belly dance or salsa before stepping onto the floor.
Goldie's (137 E. Franklin St., 967-0909) has a large, covered patio and a lot of partiers to fill the floor. Plenty of students, quite popular on game nights as well.
Durham isn't exactly known for its bar scene, but that's changing. Anyone willing to ignore the old Durham stereotypes is in for a freaking fabulous time.
Tyler's Taproom (324 Blackwell St., Suite 400, 433-0345) of American Tobacco has 60 beers on tap, wrap-around outside seating, good food and a speakeasy. It won't disappoint. It's right beside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, too, so it gets famously funky after games.
Two other Durham spots really prove popular and fun. Brightleaf Square boasts James Joyce, (912 W. Main St., 683-3022) an Irish pub and restaurant with live music Fridays and Saturdays. Also nearby is Satisfaction (905 W. Main St., 682-7397), a popular pizza joint with plenty of sports for your viewing pleasure.
Before retiring to Ninth Street, Duke's little version of Franklin, get your groove on at George's Garage (737 Ninth St., 286-4131), with a romantic and spacey atmosphere and eclectic DJs. Charlie's Neighborhood Bar (758 Ninth St., 286-4446) offers a more relaxed air and a lot of locals.
Listing all of Raleigh's popular bars and clubs would require a novel. After adequate rest, you may be able to hit up five bars in one night, but to truly make it through the maze of mainstays, you must invest many a midnight.
Start at Red Room Tapas Restaurant (510 Glenwood Ave., 835-1322). for live music every night, romantic chic and delightful food. Then go to Mosquito (311 S. Harrington St., 829-3676). You must be a member, but it's only $10 and you'll be treated to an array of stunning singles and fabulous drinks (try sipping on the "Lagoon").
At The Flying Saucer (328 W. Morgan St., 821-7468), get a great beer in a cool glass. Bet you've never seen a selection like this one.
Other immensely popular places on the path: 42nd Street Oyster Bar (508 W. Jones St., 831-2811) offers an eight-page alcohol list and live music Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Blue Martini (116 N. West St., 899-6464) has blue-lit outdoor seating and half-priced bottles of wine and martinis on Mondays.
As for those snoozing in their beds, let them snore. Some of the most sauntering, sexy spectacles of the Triangle are to be found in the folds of the small hours, between martinis, between dances, between the words shouted ever-so-fondly over pumping house beats.