The Longbranch, Raleigh’s mainstream country mecca that was recently reborn as an electronica hotbed, is moving to a new location. The owners closed the longstanding club off Wake Forest Road after hosting a final bacchanal on Halloween night. They are currently seeking a new room. Though they don’t yet know if they’ll end up downtown or in some nearby neighborhood, they plan to remain in Raleigh and hope to reopen by February or March.
“It’s not finalized,” explains co-owner Beal Bartholomew. “We’ve had some interest downtown. We don’t know yet what we’re going to do out of the three, four opportunities we’ve got. I get a call everyday from somebody wanting to rent us some space. I can’t tell you if we’re relocating across from the Governor’s Mansion, Hillsborough Street, North Raleigh. I can’t tell you because I don’t know myself.”
Bartholomew and his partners re-opened The Longbranch in 2009, rescuing it after their predecessors declared bankruptcy. During its glory days in the ’80s and ’90s, the cavernous facility was one of the premier country clubs in the Southeast, hosting future superstars such as Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks. After spending about $150,000 in renovations, the new owners opened the venue up to EDM with surprising success. Girl Talk, Tiësto and Skrillex all stopped at the club during the last three years.
Moving forward, the owners hope to find a new space that can maintain their current capacity while also reducing their expenses. Bartholomew adds they have no plans to abandon their electronic bookings. This new approach has revitalized the Longbranch; they now want to make sure that this success is sustainable in a new home.