Attention Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents. If you're looking for a new drinkery to frequent, the soon-to-be-opened Orange County Social Club, a new bar with an funky urban vibe, promises to be a cozy club where you can drink, play cards, Scrabble, chess--what have you--and actually talk (what a concept). The club will open sometime in late September, once construction is finished, says owner Trish Mesigian.
OCSC's design is pure East Village, from the thrift-store chic of the vintage multi-hued Formica tables to the original linoleum on the floor (left from the old pharmacy/soda fountain that originally inhabited the space). Glass blocks--both in the club's streetfront and in the bathrooms--let in natural light. And if you aren't interested in bellying up to the bar or sitting at a table, there are some fine pleather and Naugahyde couches and chairs to sink into.
Along with a pool table, Mesigian plans have rock 'zines and periodicals available for club patrons to peruse, along with a jukebox that promises to rival anything in the area. "I just spent 300 bucks at CD Alley--I hope [the music is] as diverse as I think it is in my head!" she says, laughing.
The long, curved bar is covered in hammered copper and overhung with a wood valence that contains cubbyhole-like shelves for bar regulars to "claim" and fill. "Some people already have their 'space' staked out," she says. "Everyone I know can have a little piece of themselves here," she says, envisioning the club as a place where locals feel a sense of community. Mesigian herself plans to put up mementos, souvenirs, and postcards from traveling friends. "I'm never going anywhere again," she says--only half jokingly--about running a seven-day-a-week business.
As for the club's name, Mesigian says she was inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club. "I liked it better than 'bar,' or 'pub,'" she says. "I wanted to run my own business--I wanted to be a shopkeep," says the former Philadelphian, who moved to Chapel Hill and interned at Merge Records, where she was hired on and worked for the label from '96 to 2000. She also did stints at the Cat's Cradle (until one month ago), Acme and other restaurants in the area. Although Mesigian plans to spend plenty of time behind the bar, she's also enlisted a crack crew--including the team of Alvis Dunn, Ron Liberti and Jamie McPhail, who worked together at the Hardback Café--to give the club the right feel.
While OCSC will start out serving beer and wine, they plan to offer memberships cards right away--the plan being to get their liquor license and make the transition to a private club as soon as possible.
"I wanted to do something that didn't have anything to do with technology," Mesigian says of her new venture.
"You're always going to want a bartender to serve you a drink, not a computer."