Mouse Mock, who has owned Chapel Hill music venue The Cave since 2000, has confirmed that the storied bar is up for sale. On Feb. 27 an ad appeared on online classified site Craigslist announcing that ownership would entertain "serious inquiries and qualified buyers."
Mock, who had been a part of the rich community surrounding the Cave for decades, bought the venue to maintain its tradition, but he also had other ideas in mind. A videographer at heart, Mock hoped to have the Cave double as a studio for public access TV shows. In the early days, he succeeded in putting together a few such programs together, including Band Delirium and Live @ the Cave. He had always planned to sell the venue by 2010 to pursue his art full-time, but the recent economic downturn and the lack of a willing successor made him hold on to it a little longer.
"My goal of selling The Cave in 2010 didn't happen," Mock says. "I am about to hit 12 years, and it's just time to go. I want to make that transition now, and that's why I'm selling it."
Mock says he's in no serious rush and has no plans to unload The Cave to the first or wealthiest bidder. He's had people offer him large sums for the venue in the past, but he has held off because he wants to pass it on to someone who will maintain its role in the community.
Touted as Chapel Hill's oldest tavern, The Cave has been open for 43 years and serves as a starting point for newcomers to the independent music scene. It was a key venue during the town's rise to indie rock fame in the '90s and has since prided itself on providing new bands with early gigs. The faux-rock ceilings make for a charmingly grungy setting, and the tight spaces have made their rock shows famously sweaty affairs.
Below, you can read the Craigslist ad in full and also view an episode of "Live @ the Cave."
"Franklin St Bar - Unique - $65000 (Chapel Hill)
More than 40 years of beers! Chapel Hill's oldest bar with 43 years on West Franklin St. This establishment has changed hands very few times over the years and we're looking for the right person to continue the tradition. Sporting a unique decor and "underground" location, this authentic tavern atmosphere would be impossible to duplicate today. Live music venue with amazing history and excellent sound system. If you're looking for the real deal, this could be it. Serious inquiries and qualified buyers only."