After three frustrating weeks, Raleigh's Pour House Music Hall is once again operating at full capacity. On Dec. 21, Raleigh Deputy Fire Marshal Michael T. Furr dropped in on a show, emptying the club and counting heads as people exited. After his inspection, the marshal allowed only 142 people to re-enter. It turned out the venue's capacity had never been upgraded from its early days as a sofa bar. On Friday morning, co-owner and operator Adam Lindstaedt recieved word that the number had been upgraded to 289, just shy of the 350 he had been working at before the incident.
"We found out at like 10 a.m," he says. "By 10:30, we had the new number up on the wall. Later that night, at the show on Friday, I set the old one on fire. It was liberating. It felt very good."
Lindstaedt says that he had known the capacity issue would have to be dealt with since taking over operations from founder Eric Mullen in August. Though 289 is still a lower number than the Pour House had been working with, he is confident that it won't be a problem going forward. He explains that many of the club's patrons wander in and out throughout the night, meaning that 350 or 400 people may pay without having to all be in the bar at the same time.
Mostly, Lindstaedt is just happy that the number ended up as high as it did. He says that the building inspector who came by following the Marshal's visit explained that while the club could by most other measures hold at least 300 people, the narrow alleyway that serves as the venue's entrance would restrict that number.
"We were pleasantly surprised when we got 289 back," he says. "We all ran around in circles screaming and yelling for a couple hours. We were very happy. "