No doubt about it, Top O is a Chapel Hill staple. Probably the best commercial real estate in town.
The place is nice. Great nightlife. Cool island-style bar. Great outdoor, 3rd-floor patio. However, the food and the beer do not measure up to some alternatives in Chapel Hill. The menu has changed very little in several years. The beer is so-so.
Top of the Hill is a bit pricy but that's expected in a place like this.
A good scene and a good experience. I suggest ordering conservatively and getting the Lager - my personal favorite of the styles they have.
Usually this place has six brews on tap: light, lager, white, blueberry wheat, IPA and stout. They were out of the IPA and stout when I visited, so a very limited selection of styles was available. Had the stout been available I would have been much happier. The white was my favorite. The blueberry wheat was not nearly as bad as I feared, but I don't care for fruit in my beer so I'm not one to judge. The lager was my friend's favorite. I found it more interesting that a Stella, but that's not saying much. They do offer a couple of their brews in cans to go.
Service, when we got his attention, was good, with some stories and good recommendations. But the bartender was busy and we generally had to wait our turn.
Food was more creative than most brewpubs. We tried the lizard chips, fried pickles and jalapenos with spicy dipping sauce. Again, I was fearful, but it was actually not bad. And if you try fried pickles once, you never have to try them again.
Atmosphere is nice, a step above many brewpubs. You have to take an elevator or steps up to the third floor, but you get to look down on the crowds below from the open-air balcony. TVs are tuned to the channel that advertises their beer selection, not sports. I'm sure that changes when UNC plays basketball.
Chocolate stout was awesome. Overall beer was good. Great food with a very unique menu (especially for a brewery). A great place to go to, even for friends who do not drink beer. The outdoor deck is nice and overlooks Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill. Nice hardwood bar with a decent amount of televisions. Kind of a small location, the second floor of a building. It gets crowded inside. Nice souvenir pint glass.