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Chapel Hill's Bars in the 1970s

by Charly Mann

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Comments:

Tom      12:05 PM Thu 2/9/2012

What about the PATIO from 50's early 60's ? Where Holiday Inn at
Eastgate is now. Driving range included.
 

Bill Ridout      3:21 PM Wed 8/3/2011

RIP William James "Jimmy" Ridout 1940-1998
 

Bill Ridout      3:11 PM Wed 8/3/2011

My father once owned the cave (1971-74). He even change the name at one point to the "Watergate Memorial Tavern". It didnt last. Then it was renamed the "Cavern", which again, didnt last. I saw Mike Cross, AC Bushnell, and many others play there as a young boy. One of my favorite stories that my late father told me and I will never forget is as follows, in his words:
I was working one weeknight, it was slow and hot outside. I had the front and back doors open to get some ventilation through the rooms. There were some kids playing pool in the backroom. I had one customer at the bar and he was passed out, sleeping on the bar, despite my efforts to awake him. I asked him if I could call him a cab or get a ride home for him. Finally, he lifted his head and said he'd like another round. I recommended coffee or soda instead. He got up, cussed me, and stumbled up the stairs to the street. I watched him as he climbed the stairs so he wouldnt fall down. 15 minutes later, I can only assume he must have walked around the block, heard the juke box playing in the pool room and came in through the back door. I saw him as he made his way down the narrow hall towards the bar area and stopped him as he approached and told him, "Buddy, I told you that you have had enough to drink tonight and I think you need to go home". The fellow looked at me in disbeleif and bewilderment, stepped back a few steps, and said, "YOU WORK HERE TOO?" I laughed at his honest mistake and walked him in and gave him another beer on the house as payment for one of the funniest things Ive ever heard or witnessed in my bar!!!

 

Gene Smith      11:52 AM Sun 12/19/2010

Clarence's was first called Bob Smith's my uncle) who played football in the late 30's-early 40's. The building was built by his step-father, Brack Creel, who was the original owner of the Shack. There were large murals of famous UNC football players on the walls that were later covered up with panelling when Clarence took over the business.
 

wayne harrison      3:46 PM Mon 11/29/2010

"clarence's bar and grill" was a favorite evening hang out for a delightful, eclectic array of folks throughout the 60's. during the late sixties, it was the bar of choice for law students, your's truly among them.

the place was actually operated (controlled, actually) by clarence's tough as nails, heart of gold wife, sally. they were the only two employees.

clarence gave amateur acoustic guitar players (again, your's truly included) an opportunity to play and sing for free beer and tips, but pinball, politics, and ladies were the most popular activities.
 

Paul      8:59 PM Sun 9/5/2010

Who could forget The Tempo Room? And Harry's?
 

Steven Gray      10:01 PM Sun 7/11/2010

Being the son of Clarence I remember the bar being a favorite hang out for many law, dental, and medical school students. Somehow they graduated and now have successful careers.

Also many UNC athletes passed through the door for a cold one and a sandwich.......remember the packed house after everyone home football game....
 

Kent W      11:09 PM Fri 6/4/2010

I remember when I was growing up, my dad would take me to Clarence's in the afternoons and Clarence would set me up at the bar with a coke and a hot dog while my dad had a couple of after work beers with his buds.
 

Bob Isenhower      1:59 PM Sun 3/28/2010

To Greg Diltz:
Hey Greg. I worked with you for several months at Ken's Quickie Mart in University Square (mall). I think you left there before I did (I left Larry's employment in August 75 to take a counseling job in Elizabeth City). You were friends with my first wife and were instrumental in Larry hiring me at Ken's. I've seen Larry once of twice through the years, and he always remembers me (and never seems surprised in any way -- he just looks up and says, "Hey, Bob," like I was just there the day before - despite the fact that it's been 35 years.
The place you were referring to on Columbia Street was Lum's. Their speciality was hot dogs cooked in beer. In the early days of Lum's, they had wonderful hot dogs and chili. After a while, they changed their chili recipe--it wasn't nearly as good, so I stopped going there. Eventually, Lum's closed and they opened a quick food store. The guy who opened it had run the Exxon station next to the gas company and Zoom-Zoom. I can't remember his name.
 

Greg Diltz      9:09 PM Mon 2/15/2010

Circa 1969-1973: Clarence's Bar and Grill...remember the "steamed" ham and beef sandwiches on bun?..that's all he made! His wife worked with him...can't think of her name, but same deadpan, smile-less face! haha...Jukebox: LA International Airport and Okee from Muskogee... Also, Ye Old Tavern...underneath a professional building out near WCHL....The person who remembered the hot dog/beer place...something like Lumbergs or Lumbergers on the back street! I worked at Ken's Quikee next to Granville Towers in 72-73 for Larry Trollinger..he still owns it! Great times at Chapel Hill.......
 

Debi Jacobs      11:09 AM Sun 12/6/2009

How could you leave out the New Establishment? Located upstairs on Franklin Street next to the leather shop, this is where all us left-wing radicals hung out. Had great music there, too. They had a big round "community" table in the middle and that is where I saw James Taylor drinking a beer with friends. 25 cent rolling Rock pony bottles were great for us poor hippies!.

How about the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro? I got to see Alex and Liv Taylor perform there, Kate, too I think. Is the Cradle still is business?
 

Larry Howell      3:52 PM Wed 11/25/2009

I am not sure where Clarence Bar and Grill is; maybe that says something about the state I was in when I left. The bar I liked was between Franklin St. and Rosemary on N. Columbia St. behind where Spanky's is today; it is now Sukura Express Japanese Restaurant. It had a great jukebox and I can still hear "Walking Down A One Way Street" by Willie Tee. This bar was just a good place to un wind after a hard week of classes and I could walk or weave myself back to the dorm.
Another place I enjoyed was not open long but it was a hot dog restaurant with beers from all over the world. It was on the corner of Rosemary St. and Church St. Pantana Bobs is located there now. I would walk there on Friday afternoons for a late lunch and sample beer from around the world; the hot dogs were also very good. I really was disappointed when this place closed after only a few years. I still do not remember what its name was.
 

Pam Bilger      2:26 PM Fri 10/9/2009

My favorite bar in the late 1970s was Troll's. That was the first place I ever saw a video game. Quarters was the drinking game of choice.

Other favorites: Purdy's, the first "members only" dance club with penny beer on Fridays and great dance music. We also loved dancing at the Bacchae.

Harrison's and He's Not Here were other favorites.
 

Guzzler      10:59 AM Wed 8/26/2009

Neither Merritt's Service Station nor Jeff's Campus Confectionary was primarily a bar, but both sold beer for consumption on premises for many years prior to the mid-80s, and both provided venues for lively and interesting discussion and anecdotal exchange. Few students went there to drink, but faculty and townspeople mingled, chiefly in the afternoons, with regularity.
 

Patricia Fields Neubert      12:06 AM Thu 8/20/2009

There was also "He's Not Here" and the "Tavern" close to Vines Vet. And "Elliott's Nest", a private club on S. Graham or was is S. Roberson?
 

barbara      9:17 AM Mon 7/6/2009

Before bars, no liquor could be purchased or served at restaurants in Chapel Hill. Some places allowed brown-bagging, but I remember well when liquor by the drink became available in the seventies. It was a big event and I remember being photographed by tv cameras as I entered Spanky's on Franklin St. At the time, I had no idea what was going on.
 

Kay Emery      7:08 PM Mon 4/13/2009

I loved Bacchae, and I think that space later became a gay run disco that was wild.
 

Lee Black      6:04 PM Mon 4/13/2009

I have not thought about the Shack in almost forty years. It is hard to imagine a place like that ever existed here. I recall it always being packed.
 

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Bite Sized Facts Link



Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.

 

 

What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.

-- Charles Kuralt

 

 

Dark Side of the Hill -- Pink Floyd, the creators of the most popular album in history, Dark Side of the Moon, took the second half of their name from Floyd Council, a Chapel Hill native, and great blues singer and guitarist. He once belonged to a group called "The Chapel Hillbillies".

 

 

Check out Charly Mann's other website:
Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies

http://oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com

 



We need your help. Send your submissions, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.

 

 

The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.

 

 

 

 

The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.

 

 

 

 

William Ackland left his art collection and $1.25 million to Duke University in 1940 on the condition that he would be buried in the art museum that the University was to build with his bequest. Duke rejected this condition even though members of the Duke Family are buried in Duke Chapel. What followed was a long and acrimonious legal battle between Ackland relatives who now wanted the inheritance, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina, each attempting to receive the funds. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in 1949 UNC was awarded the money for the museum. Ackland is buried near the museum's entrance. When the museum first opened, in the early sixties, there were rumors that his remains were leaking out of the mausoleum.

 

 

The official name of the Arboretum on the University of North Carolina campus is the Coker Arboretum. It is named after Dr. William Cocker, the University's first botany professor. It occupies a little more than five acres. It was founded in 1903.

 

 

Chapel Hill's main street has always been called Franklin Street. It was named after Benjamin Franklin in the early 1790s.

 

 



We need your help. Send your submissions, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.

 

 

Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill Junior High were on Franklin Street in the same location as University Square until the mid 1960s.

 

 

The Colonial Drug Store at 450 West Franklin Street was owned and operated by John Carswell. It was famous for a fresh-squeezed carbonated orange beverage called a "Big O". In the early 1970s, I managed the Record and Tape Center next door, and must have had over 100 of those drinks. The Colonial Drug Store closed in 1996.

 

 

Sutton's Drugstore, which opened in 1923, has one of the last soda fountains in the South. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Franklin Street that was in operation when I was growing up in the 1950s.

 

 

Future President Gerald Ford lived in Chapel Hill twice. First when he was 24, in 1938, he took a law couse in summer school at UNC. He lived in the Carr Building, which was a law school dormitory. At the same time, Richard Nixon, the man he served under as Vice President, was attending law school at Duke. In 1942, Ford returned to Chapel Hill to attend the U.S. Navy's Pre-Flight School training program. He lived in a rental house on Hidden Hills Drive.

 

 

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