Raleigh’s oldest music venue’s future is uncertain, amid rezoning plans

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

Owners of The Berkeley Cafe said on social media on Tuesday night that the venue is not closing, but the building it 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 in the process of being rezoned. There are a lot of moving pieces right and we are planning accordingly. We will be happy to update everyone with any news when it happens,” owners wrote on Facebook.

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

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

Public hearings on the rezoning began Tuesday.

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

The Berkeley used to occupy more space. In 1988, owners expanded to adjacent property at 215 W. Martin St., and began hosting bigger shows featuring punk, hip-hop and electronic artists. The venue was shuttered in 2013 as The Berkeley went back to a one room venue.

Concern for the venue’s closing began earlier Tuesday with another Facebook post shared on The Berkeley’s page stating that the final night of music would be Friday, Nov. 11.


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