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in retrospect

Favorite Student Hangouts

By Kevan Frazier ’92

Favorite Hangouts Through the Decades

Bix’s Tingle’s Café

Lord’s Drug Store

Biltmore Dairy Bar

Hot Shot Café

Buck’s Drive In

Wink’s Drive In

Steven’s Pub/Charlotte Street Bar & Grill

Edge O’ Town Waffle House (aka The Waf.)






45 Cherry

Sonny’s Bistro


El Chapala (aka El Chaps)


Boston Pizza


Vincent’s Ear



Asheville Pizza (aka The Brew & View)

Bier Garden

Jack of the Woods

Grill 51


Usual Suspects

Anytime you bring two or more UNC Asheville alumni together, within 30 seconds the conversation will, without doubt, turn to “Do you remember when...” and inevitably, at the center of such a tale is a favorite college hangout. Since the earliest days of Buncombe County Junior College in the 1920s to UNC Asheville in the 21st century, each generation of students has elevated a special collection of Asheville eateries and watering holes to the level of official student hangout. These grounds often become so hallowed that graduates make annual pilgrimages to their doorsteps to pay homage to the “good ole days.”

What makes a place a hangout? What makes it “the” place to finds friends, classmates, as well as faculty, staff and alumni. Amazingly, there seems to be universal agreement on the subject. There are three key characteristics: cheap, but tasty, food; really cheap drinks; and great music. A hangout doesn’t have to have all three but it cannot have fewer than two. Those with all three seem to have survived the ages.

Recently, the UNC Asheville Alumni Association surveyed alumni about their favorite hangouts through A View from the Steps, the monthly e-newsletter for alumni and friends of the university. The resulting list was long but surprisingly consistent.

Bucks deive-in

Buck's drive-in restaurant on Tunnel Road was one of many popular student hangouts in the 1960s.

Though none are as old as the college (82 years), several, such as The Hot Shot Café or the Waffle House, have lasted several decades. A couple, especially Mitchell’s/Northside and Steven’s Pub/Charlotte Street Bar & Grill, have lasted for decades but have changed their name. Many like Tingle’s Café, 45 Cherry and Annabel’s, however, have been lost to the sands of time. Look through the list and see which ones you remember.

Kevan Frazier ’92, Ph.D., is associate vice chancellor for alumni at UNC Asheville.

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