Editorial: Still Life Nightclub is coming to Chapel Hill

From mom and pop shops and college bars to local restaurants, Chapel Hill and the surrounding area are known for their college aesthetic.

Local spots — like He’s Not Here and Sutton’s Drug Store — help maintain Chapel Hill’s college town vibe. But, this fall, a new club is opening on Franklin Street that could bring a new nightlife experience to Chapel Hill.

Still Life Chapel Hill, a rooftop nightclub and bar, will be located above Sutton’s Drug Store on Franklin Street. Its official opening date has not been disclosed.

After losing many businesses on Franklin Street due to the pandemic, the addition of a nightclub to the neighborhood is a promising sign that life is returning to Chapel Hill post-pandemic.

With COVID-19 numbers remaining relatively low, bars and restaurants in Chapel Hill can operate at full capacity. Unlike this point last year, going out on a weekend in Chapel Hill is reminiscent of life before the pandemic hit. This means that students and community members are eager to get out and visit bars, restaurants and clubs. Still Life Chapel Hill is opening its doors at the right time to meet this demand.

The nightclub is meant to serve as the premier entertainment experience in Chapel Hill. Maybe that’s what Franklin Street needs. Currently, nightlife in Chapel Hill is relatively limited to college bars.

The library used to be a bar with plenty of space for dancing, but it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic this summer. Other nightlife spots in Chapel Hill that have space for drinks and dancing are often crowded and have long lines. Anyone who had to wait over an hour to get into Goodfellows knows what we are talking about.

Although Chapel Hill is definitely a college town, the addition of a large nightclub will provide new and different options for hanging out on Franklin Street. With bottle service, a speakeasy and a rooftop terrace bar, Still Life Chapel Hill will be unlike most nightlife venues in the area.

Still Life has owned several nightclub spaces throughout North Carolina, including in Greenville at East Carolina University. The Still Life at ECU is a popular nightlife space – the place’s only Instagram account has 20,000 followers. But not all Still Life locations were successful. The Still Life in Raleigh closed this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the location has yet to open, there is already anticipation for Still Life to open in Chapel Hill. Social media accounts for the venue are popular, and bouncers, bartenders and promoters are already being recruited.

The opening of Still Life in Chapel Hill is a promising sign that businesses are still drawn to the area, despite the high costs of renting space on Franklin Street. This venue is going to be a different experience than most nightlife spaces already in Chapel Hill, which is exciting when you think about what Franklin Street will look like post-pandemic.

With so many businesses closed during the pandemic, it’s exciting to think about what’s new in the region. A nightclub – with all its trappings – is a welcome addition to Chapel Hill’s nightlife.



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Jerry C. Greiner