Raleigh's oldest music venue is closing, vow not to go quiet

Future of Raleigh’s oldest music venue uncertain amid rezoning plans

RALEIGH, North Carolina — Raleigh’s oldest music venue could face an uncertain future.

The owners of The Berkeley Cafe said on social media Tuesday night that the place will not be closed, but the building he resides in at 217 W. Martin St. is being rezoned.

The venue has been a staple of the downtown Raleigh music scene since the early 1980s.

“The Berkeley Cafe is not closing. The building is currently undergoing rezoning. There are a lot of moving parts and we are planning accordingly. We will be happy to update everyone with any news as it happens.” the owners wrote on Facebook.

The building that The Berkeley occupies has a history dating back to 1920 and has been home to the Atkins Cafe & Hotel, the Carolina Cafe and Hotel and the Hollywood Hotel and Cafe, according to state records.

in a the rezoning proposal is being considered by city leadersit is noted that “the building is a contributing structure to the National Register Depot Historic District”, but the current zoning would allow “the site to be redeveloped, whereas the proposed rezoning would require photographic documentation of the building prior to any potential future demolition.”

Public hearings on the rezoning began Tuesday.

In addition to its history as a beloved music venue, The Berkeley has had a loyal lunch following for its burgers and sandwiches.

The Berkeley used to take up more space. In 1988, the owners expanded into an adjacent property at 215 W. Martin St. and began hosting larger shows featuring punk, hip-hop, and electronic artists. The venue closed in 2013 when The Berkeley reverted to a one-bedroom venue.

Concerns about the venue closing began early Tuesday with another Facebook post shared on The Berkeley page stating that the last night of music would be on Friday, November 11.

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