Carrboro is growing; so shall the Cat's Cradle.
Cradle owner Frank Heath has begun work on a small back bar for the longtime Carrboro venue that will serve Cradle overflow and non-concertgoers. Steve Balcom of The Splinter Group, which handles publicity work for the Cradle, confirmed the news Friday afternoon.
According to Balcom, the freestanding bar—which does not have a name or an opening date yet—will, unlike the East Main Street venue, serve liquor drinks. It will be located directly behind Fleet Feet Sports, near the Cradle's back smoking patio.
"If you want to chill out in between bands, if you want to talk to somebody, that's what that space is all about," Balcom says.
Balcom adds that while there is no opening date yet, he expects the bar will be completed sometime this year.
It might not seem like it now, but The Pinhook was quite the risky endeavor when it opened its doors just in time for the 2009 Troika Music Festival. At the time, Durham's only other semi-consistent rock clubs were the student-booked Duke Coffeehouse, a multipurpose space on the university's campus, and Broad Street Café, a venue still trying to figure out its musical mix. The market for a Bull City indie rock venue was unclear. They could have been opening to more interest than their 150-capacity room could serve.
Three years later, The Pinhook is only an afternoon away from an anniversary blowout that will include national indie stars Javelin and Crystal Antlers. It will be a sweet occasion, made sweeter by the recent completion of their Kickstarter fundraiser to make key upgrades to the space, most importantly a new sound system. More than 270 backers (Note: Contributors include Independent employees, including Music Editor Grayson Currin) helped the venue best its $15,000 goal on the popular fund-raising website. Co-owner Kym Register calls the response humbling, a reminder of how important their little community arts space has become.
Update (Aug. 29, 2011): The free, all-ages show celebrating the completion of the renovations will be Thursday, Sept. 1, with The Old Ceremony and The Tomahawks. Doors are at 8 p.m.; show begins at 9. RSVP at the Facebook Event.
Anyone who has walked down Main Street in Carrboro in the last month has likely noticed a hubbub of activity at Cat's Cradle. Dumpsters of construction refuse, new sidewalks and a small horde of hired hands have inundated the institutional Triangle rock club in the past few weeks. This week, co-owner Frank Heath confirmed that the Cradle is indeed undergoing major renovations.
Improvements will include a new side door which will serve as the club's main entrance, a new stage, and an expansion of the club's main room. The risers that ringed the space have been torn out, as have the wall and hallway that separated the bar and bathroom area from the concert hall. The ceiling is being removed to add sprinklers, a safety feature the club previously lacked. Also planned are improvements to the club's green room area and restructuring to remove two poles that blocked key sight lines. It's likely the changes will increase the venue's capacity, which currently sits at about 600, but Heath said it was too early in the process to set a number.
In a packed Durham City Hall Committee Room early this morning, the Durham County Board of Adjustment voted unanimously in favor of issuing a special-use permit to The Broad Street Cafe.
For the past four years, Broad Street has operated as a nightclub in a district that is zoned so that such a special-use permit is necessary to host music after 10 p.m. Less than one year after the first noise complaint was filed by Clarendon Street neighbor Waldo Fenner, who was not present at this morning's hearing, Broad Street officially received the green light on amping up their regional music bookings in a space that musicians and business owners says is vital to Durham's art scene.
“Broad Street Cafe is important for more than just music,” says Melissa Thomas, founder of the Durham-based indie label 307 Knox Records. “It provides a great venue space for music, festivals and family events, as well as a place to eat for locals and visitors. This hearing just showed us today how much we all have built in Durham over the past five-plus years."
Paul Brock, one of four Broad Street owners, says he's relieved to finally get the permit. “I was very impressed with the board. They were gracious to us, and they asked very smart questions and got a feel for what we are doing,” explains Brock.
“The applicants came back to the board with evidence for the record addressing certain issues the board had questions about,” says Michael Stock, Durham City-County Planning Department's senior planner. The evidence presented to the board indicated Broad Street's continued commitment to ironing out the details surrounding concerns over noise and parking.
This special-use permit allows Broad Street to operate as a nightclub, but it doesn't allow for adult entertainment, something Stock says people often confuse. Broad Street's special-use permit, which outlines that distinction, will be finalized at the next Durham County Board of Adjustment meeting.
“Years down the road the ownership could change,” says Stock, “and the board's conditions for the allowing the permit will take into account those kinds of issues so that whoever operates a nightclub at that venue will follow the specific permit conditions.”
If it’s too loud, shut it down: Durham’s The Broad Street Cafe is collecting petition signatures in preparation for a hearing before the Durham Board of Adjustment Wednesday, Dec. 9, that could limit the venue’s late-night music.
Acting on complaints about noise coming from the venue first filed in March, the City investigated the cafe, which is open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and determined it was in violation of its commercial zoning district. In order to allow live music past 10 p.m., the club will need to obtain a special minor use permit.
While reporting this week’s story on the conversion of Chapel Hill dance hall Players to a part-time rock club, we heard whispers from a few folks that Mansion 462—the West Franklin Street room that opened last January between Chapel Hill anchors Local 506 and The Cave—was closing. Apparently, several bands had been emailing other area clubs to reschedule dates dropped from Mansion 462’s calendar. Co-owner Brad Waycaster confirms that the club did drop several shows, but he says Mansion 462 isn't going anywhere.