Jackpot Closing Imminent

Jackpot Closing Imminent

April, 07, 2010, by David

Advertise on NR

Multiple sources have confirmed that along with the Rockford, the Jackpot will be closing in the next few weeks. The bar is the child of The Stingray, a Five Points area bar started by Michael D’amelio around 1994 when he purchased the building that the Rockford would open in.  The Stingray sat adjacent to The Rialto and established the tone and underground scene that would one day become the Jackpot.  It wasn’t until later around 2001 that Michael closed The Stingray and opened the Jackpot. 

The sign-less, opaque building sat quietly every day and then heated up every night with cheap beer, a cloud of cigarette smoke, enthusiastic DJs and a mixed crowd of students, urbanites and proximal apartment dwells nearby. Playboy U called it the ‘Diviest bar in Raleigh.’ D’amelio was involved in day to day operations early on but once the culture was established, the Jackpot had a loyal crowd of regulars.  “Early on Michael would hang out at the Jackpot making sure shit was running smooth” said one former employee. D’amelio was respected and the culture and aesthetic restraint he built in the Rockford and Jackpot experiences was unparalleled and widely appreciated. NR has been such a fan of the Jackpot, we lampooned it on April fools with a series of posts joking of a change in ownership.  D’amelio was so respected his friends made a facebook group “Michael D’Amelio for mayor of Raleigh.”

Last year, around the end of their 7 year lease, the building the Jackpot occupied was sold to Charlotte Developers operating under the name FMW Real Estate. Those developers have spent $14.5 million acquiring the buildings including the large Bolton industrial building and the IHOP that surround the Jackpot. Whether that project has anything directly to do with sudden closing is still unknown.  The first phase of their redevelopment is $40 million for 32 townhouses on Ashe Avenue, a 240 unit apartment building and 10,000 sq feet of retail on Morgan.  That portion of the project would break ground in spring 2011, but would not include the Jackpot or IHOP until the next phase.

See the The Jackpot {categories show="257|236|256|96" show_group="9" limit="1"}{category_name}{/categories} page.

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JackpotFMW Real EstateHillsborough Morgan DevelopmentRockfordMichael D'amelio


  • Dan from Detroit
    04/07 09:49 AM

    More places to live and less fun things to do - Raleigh is becoming a great place to live with mediocre places to eat and drink


  • t
    04/07 09:51 AM

    I don’t even know what to say about this…

  • Khaner
    04/07 09:51 AM

    Now I feel bad for writing that April Fools article…  RIP Jackpot

  • 150
    04/07 09:53 AM

    While I feel sorry for those who liked the Jackpot, having the proposed residential project for that whole block sounds like a good idea to me.

  • becky
    04/07 10:02 AM

    gee more generic townhouses and apartments, how exciting.

  • adam!!
    04/07 10:26 AM

    so long jackpot

  • tjoad
    04/07 10:41 AM

    I agree with 150 about having extra residential density…but jackpot closing really, really sucks.

    Hopefully the apartments and townhomes will be reasonably priced?? (what a concept)

  • Sarah
    04/07 10:55 AM

    Charlotte developers should stay in charlotte. I don’t want to be or look like Charlotte, Charlotte has no character…unless chains and condos that all look the same are character.

  • hackles10
    04/07 11:11 AM

    I am not a regular at the Jackpot, but I like the old IHOP building.  That being said, the area in and around those buildings is very underutilized.  Hopefully new street front commercial space can be created with dense/affordable housing.  I would love to see a row of cafes, coffee houses, restaurants, and shops along that side of the street.

  • WTF
    04/07 11:46 AM

    Wow! More condos that no one can afford! Yay! Why dont they put an luxury dog collar store next door or a designer saddle shoe shop or perhaps yet another starbucks to complement the 3 nearby. Everything in this city that was fun and had character is being levelled off for real estate that the only people who can afford it would understandably choose to move into a house. I could understand if they put something useful there like a hardware or grocery store. This is just really sad for people who prefer a low key dive bar to the overpriced drinks and crowd of glenwood south. I will sure miss the good music and cheap drinks.

  • The Dreadnought
    04/07 11:53 AM

    Another Raleigh landmark fades into the sunset…I hope everyone gets a new job fast.

  • j0hn
    04/07 11:54 AM

    Releigh needs cool millionaires like R.E.M. to buy up old buildings and save them from “progress”, like they do for Athens. Alas..

  • oldtimeer
    04/07 11:54 AM

    WTF, I totally agree with you. I’ve been an off and on again regular for years and the Jackpot was always there for those of us who at one point had no where to go when the Stingray closed, then it became a great place to grab a late night drink and alternative to hanging out at the original Kings all the time, then when Glenwood South’s nightlife boomed into a Myrtle Beach scene every night with douchebags and their Jersey Shoreesque girlfriends it was once again a great escape and still is, lately it has been a wonderful change of scenery from the other hipster bars downtown….Perhaps the day the smoking law went into effect, it was a foreshadowing of the death of this true dive.

  • Collins
    04/07 11:55 AM

    While I’m glad to see redevelopment in Raleigh, I don’t want people from Charlotte tainting our city with their carbon copy, generic developments.  Go fuck yourself Charlotte.

  • mgd
    04/07 11:59 AM

    So I placed a bet that the Jackpot build would collapse before the Farm House.

    Does this mean I win???

  • Ivory
    04/07 12:30 PM

    Very sad. I understand everyone’s trying to profit from the influx of residents to Raleigh but closing down local treasures is really a shame. Soon enough, Raleigh = Charlotte and Durham will be the cool place to hang out/ bring out of town visitors to. smh

  • Roo
    04/07 12:37 PM

    Hmm.  How about we fill the empty condo buildings downtown before building more?  I am a big fan of building up, not out, but they way we’re going about it in Raleigh is unplanned chaos.  That huge hole across from the Borough for a year or so, which has been repurposed as a parking lot, wasn’t a suggestion that we needed more of the same type townhouses and condos.  They say they are building “apartnments”, but if they cost enough to pay a mortgage on one of the empty houses rotting up in North Raleigh it won’t matter anyway.  How about we create affordable places for artists and youth to live to maintain a culture to downtown Raleigh that is still young to make sure it is an interesting and attractive place for people to be before mowing things down and sucking the life out of the city.  We need a developer to go downtown in a combined effort with a market or grocery store of some kind to make sure people have the things they want in their neighborhood.  What good is living downtown within walking distance to so much if you still have to own a car to get groceries and other daily needs?

    P.S. I’m glad the Hue has a tenant finally…even if it is one single store front.

  • JT
    04/07 12:50 PM

    I can bike to Harris Teeter in 5 minutes and the Farmer’s Market in 10.

  • mgd
    04/07 12:52 PM

    Capital City Grocery was a Fail!!!  They built it people did not come.

  • Suggestion Box
    04/07 01:04 PM

    They could reopen the Jackpot! in the old Mitchells Funeral home building on St Marys St. That would be a cool/creepy place for a bar and they’d probably get a deal on the lease as that place has been vacant for over 2 years now

  • Varani
    04/07 01:19 PM

    damn. i really thought gay marriage would be legal in every state before the jackpot would ever close.

    and does this mean all us regulars are automatically required to fulfill our life long bar tour of raleigh and go die at sadlack’s early?

  • Kate
    04/07 01:21 PM

    Capital City Grocery was also badly managed/owned.

    I hate this about the Jackpot.

  • JT#2
    04/07 01:49 PM

    Capital City Grocery was insanely overpriced and even when I said F it, I’ll pay more just to support them and avoid going to Cam Village the most basic of items weren’t even on the shelves.

  • Yarg Ekim
    04/07 01:59 PM

    This is a major bummer.

    I thought FMW Real Estate wasn’t planning on fucking up that side of Ashe until they’re done fucking up the other side of Ashe in a few years.

  • Victoria
    04/07 02:05 PM

    I call dibs on the WWTTA mural!!

    This is sad, but it seems to be a running trend in cities. All the cool places get bought, razed and replaced with generic crap. Raleigh is becoming more and more homogenized. If Landmark ever closes, I’m out.

  • MMI
    04/07 02:28 PM

    Did you mean the crack alley end of Ashe or the tranny hooker end of Ashe?  The Jackpot will be missed (I never heard a bad song there), but I wouldn’t mind seeing Ashe cleaned up a little.  Just leave the IHOP alone.

  • gd
    04/07 02:29 PM

    Move to the northwest.  You can find plenty of places like these that are disappearing here in Raleigh - in cities that are much more progressive as well.

  • Mark
    04/07 02:33 PM

    As long as I can hang out in the apartments and condos, smoke cigarettes, drink $1.50 PBR’s and try to pick up hot tattooed chicks I guess I’m OK with it.

  • Carver
    04/07 02:52 PM

    BYE Jackpot!

  • M. Miller
    04/07 03:13 PM

    whew. progress. progress?

  • michelle
    04/07 03:19 PM

    This is this worst thing I have heard in a long, long time. I have had some of the best nights of my life at the Jackpot, and I am completely devastated to hear this.

  • anna
    04/07 03:24 PM

    what is happening to our town?  so so sad.

  • Raleighite
    04/07 03:47 PM

    i guess ill be walking to the divebar more often now. they at least have a smoking patio and tallboys for cheap. gnite jpot

  • nate
    04/07 04:31 PM

    They should move the Rockford to the new restaurant space at kings and the Jackpot to the old Alibi space, all our problems would be solved…right??

  • Synaesthesiac
    04/07 04:43 PM

    It is ironic that many of the qualities that make a city a popular new area for growth get bulldozed to support that growth.  It occurs because of a major disconnect between developers and the street level of culture.  Rarely a developer like Empire bridges the gap.  It is the cultural elements that help make the headlines, attracting both good growth as well as soulless capitalists.  I always wondered what is the fundamental difference between the Glenwood South scene, Jackpot, and Fayetteville St. scenes.  Some casual interviews revealed that the Glenwood South crowd is dominated by very recent relocees, often northerners, whereas the other spots are mostly North Carolinians.  The out of towners move here because of the headlines, but aren’t properly sensitized to understand the culture once they arrive.  They have no sentimentality about a place like Jackpot, and will pay to move in to some new condo without a wince.  It is a sad but inevitable process.

  • matt w
    04/07 04:47 PM

    I can’t believe it took this long for someone to blame it all on the northerners.

  • Synaesthesiac
    04/07 05:04 PM

    ^if you want to oversimplify what I said and turn it into a polarized controversy, go right ahead, it’ll be just like Fox News.

  • mgd
    04/07 05:29 PM

    Quote from Synaesthesiac: “It is ironic that many of the qualities that make a city a popular new area for growth get bulldozed to support that growth.”

    We are talking about the Jackpot…  I think most people would agree that the Jackpot isnt what made Raleigh a popular new area for growth…

    Although Empire has done many great things…  Im pretty sure it single handedly killed Kings.

  • boo
    04/07 05:40 PM

    Come on, JP is a jump.  I only went there due to the fact Raleigh has a lack of more interesting and cheap places to drink.  My only sadness is for the employees that now have to find new jobs.

  • boo
    04/07 05:41 PM

    *dump :)

  • Synaesthesiac
    04/07 05:46 PM

    The JP is another part of the landscape.  Its influence is subtle, and you certainly couldn’t pin it with being a direct contributor to Raleigh growth, but it is part of the urban ecosystem.  It’s like the wolves of Yellowstone Park—who knew that removing them would drastically reduce forest area and cause the trees to become smaller?  The JP/Rockford/Kings/etc. are part of a general healthy underbrush that has helped Raleigh flourish, and their role has to be maintained in some form.  Or else, we’ll be overrun by damned Yankees!!!

  • Victoria
    04/07 05:51 PM

    I moved here from Maryland a few years ago, so I guess I’m considered one of those damn Yankees. Not all of us are loud-mouthed, entitled asshats, though. Some of us just enjoy a laid-back bar and a lack of pretension. I’ll miss Jackpot, and Rockford. They are far better than places like Solas, in my low-brow Yankee opinion.  ;)

  • Not the Yankees
    04/07 06:08 PM

    Enough of the Yankee bashing. Go to the North and you’ll see that dive bars flourish and are not bulldozed under. Its the southerners and their love for shiny new buildings and parking decks (I must park close, urban walking is dangerous) that have led to the out of control development.

  • Yarg Ekim
    04/07 07:04 PM

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame the yankees (I’m sort of one of ‘em) or the southerners.  It’s simply the American way to level the old and replace it with whatever’s trendy at the moment.  In the middle of the last century the government had “urban renewal” programs where they destroyed huge portions of American cities in order to make room for the big concrete modernist boxes that are all being knocked down now. But all that’s aside the point.  Let’s face it, no one’s going to miss the Jackpot building.  The house was lost to neglect years ago and that little concrete block appendage which houses the bar isn’t anything to get too sentimental about.  It’s the staff and the DJs that make the Jackpot a great place.  It’s a shame they’re not relocating.

  • Yarg Ekim
    04/07 07:06 PM

    Also I couldn’t help but notice that the Jackpot was always dead until about midnight when the already drunk crowd files in for their last few cheap beers. There’s a good chance that had something to do with this unfortunate turn of events.

  • Yes! sputnik
    04/07 07:45 PM

    Referring to a destroyed Jackpot and to his own civilization he says: “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you. God damn you all to hell.” - Charlton Heston

  • Todd Morman
    04/07 08:11 PM

    Just FYI, Capital City Grocery failed - both times - because of infighting among the management. Using it as an example of lack of interest in a downtown grocery store is uninformed, to say the least.

    RIP, Jackpot. I hadn’t been in years, but have some great memories.

  • Todd Morman
    04/07 08:13 PM

    Oh, and Dan from Detroit: don’t worry. Raleigh is resilient. Something new will come along, bet your ass.

  • It's
    04/07 08:59 PM

    such a shame they’re going to develop that well-maintained, thoroughly un-sketchy area.

  • DPK
    04/07 09:03 PM

    ^ sarcasm detector overload * whoop whooppp whoopp * explosion *

  • Synaesthesiac
    04/07 09:22 PM

    I was joking about the Yankees thing… it wouldn’t matter who it was, it’s just the case of new “migrants” who have money to spend.  The newcomers represent a new market that isn’t being satisfied by the traditional establishments, so there’s room for new entrants.  The new markets could care less about established venues, so sometimes they don’t hold out.  We’re in an economy of novelty.  The other side of the story is that Fayetteville St. is awesome, and the same people who spend money at Rockford/Jackpot are spending more of their time and money around Fayetteville St.  It’s obvious that these people still want what Rockford/Jackpot has to offer, and there’s still a demand for it.  Why don’t we deem the JP an historical building and truck it over to Wilmington St.?  Who’s with me?

  • John
    04/07 09:57 PM

    I never went to the Jackpot but my family ate its first breakfast in Raleigh at the IHop back in January of 1974. 
    On a related note, I wonder if Apple is going to buy the name IHop? 
    I am at least glad that there is going to be more residential in the area.  The entire corridor from NC State to downtown has so much potential to really become an extended urban neighborhood.

  • pdsjr
    04/07 11:52 PM

    Many of you are trying to come off as if you love Raleigh and want to see it thrive but realistically you’re just angry about change and how it affects you personally. 

    A lot of people are stating that the closing of Jackpot signifies a destruction of Raleigh’s innate character and a transition to the generic, but none have made a good claim as to how.  I understand, you lost a bar you cared deeply for and it hurts.  I too have had good times there, but cities are organisms with a constant state of change. 

    It is the nature of your complaints that gets to me, since it reeks of biases, myopia and generalizations.  While I haven’t visited Glenwood in years, excluding the rockford, I have no issues with the people who choose those spots for their watering holes.  Perhaps if you didn’t generalize based on the way people dress and where they drink you could stop segregating yourselves and make a more heterogeneous scene. 

    The primary support for Jackpot on here is because it was cheap.  Most bars on Glenwood and Fayetteville have drinks for the same price as JP.  Either way I don’t think a low price point is enough to make a place a city landmark and beacon of character.  People make bars, and any bar can become Jackpot.

    Thats the other thing, there is a lot of hang up on price ITT, with people talking about how builders should make affordable housing.  Affordable and downtown doesn’t match and that is the simple nature of growth.  Land in the city costs more money than elsewhere so the homes in turn will be more expensive.  When complaints are made about something so fundamental it comes off as jealousy, because you clearly want to live there (hence the desire for a low price point)and are mad that you can’t.  I assure you the crowd who will move into Ashe will be a more artistic crowd with a progressive swing not the people you seem to hold in so low esteem.  Neighborhoods have a tendency to segregate as well. 

    Raleigh is a great city and in order for places such as the Rockford to thrive and other businesses come then there needs to be ample foot traffic and energy.  Creating downtown living promotes this change and will build the thriving community of character we all wish to see.

  • adeline
    04/08 12:19 AM

    I am going to throw up.
    and it is not because of a night of drinking
    at my favorite dive.

  • mgd
    04/08 01:08 AM

    You mean the Yackpot.

    I once saw a girl bring vodka in a ziplock bag there and order just Coke and spice it up herself.  Classy people…

  • Canadianblaken
    04/08 01:25 AM

    Man, I’ll miss the music, the mess, and getting hammered. One thing I can say about the jackpot is I never felt like anybody gave a shit about what ya looked like, they were there to drink cheap beer and have fun.

    Thanks for everything, I’ll miss the Jay-pizz.

  • emilyalane
    04/08 03:42 AM

    It’s a sad day indeed. 

    Although I kind of quit going when Dan-O left.

  • Roo
    04/08 11:40 AM

    Yarg.  I spent as much there in 2 hours on a Friday and/or Saturday night as I would at other bars I hopped to in the same night.  It was a chill scene and a last call bar in one.

    pdsjr.  Did you spend a lot of time at the Jackpot?  It definitely was not only popular because of cheap beer.  There was a cluture there I have never seen at any other bar…and I live dive bars and travel equally. You say we’re jealous.  I say we’re more like a displaced tribe of people.  As for the argument that downtown living means an increase in cost…if we can’t fill up the places we already have downtown but have a population of people who want to be there then we’re obviously charging too much to live there.

  • ncmyk
    04/08 02:12 PM

    since when is new raleigh ‘old-news-raleigh’?

    here’s the link to the N&O story last month.


  • Micah
    04/08 02:56 PM

    ncmyk, did you actually READ that article?  most jackpotter’s have known for a long while that the jackpot’s main lease was up, and that the entire area would eventually be redeveloped.  the article mentions that the first phase of development would occur in the area bounded by tryon, morgan and ashe, and groundbreaking could be NEXT spring.  this tract does not include the jackpot.  the article then goes on to say that city approval and FINANCING were yet to be.  this is a pretty major obstacle.  this new raleigh article is about the jackpot closing being IMMINENT, not about the well-known fact that the jackpot would close ONE DAY.

  • bostonian
    04/08 04:44 PM

    No affordable downtown living?

    Walk 4 blocks East of Moore Square.

    Oh wait…you won’t.

  • little confused
    04/08 06:27 PM

    Just to be clear—we *are* talking about the place with urine pooling on sticky, uneven floors and no doors for the bathrooms, right?

    Yes ... a sad, sad day.

  • Micah
    04/08 07:06 PM

    Yep, that’s the place.  What’s your point?

  • DtownRaleighLive1
    04/09 03:29 PM

    There are condos in downtown Raleigh which start at $150k.  Those are not selling.  How much more affordable can it get?  With current FHA funding available, someone would need to bring about 5% to the closing table - $7,500.  I’m not sure it’s fair for someone to complain about no affordable housing in downtown Raleigh.  All things considered, we have one of the best downtown markets for the price.  Try moving to DC with $150,000 to spend on a condo.  Secondly, for those who have decided to move downtown, who have made an investment in the collective improvement of the area, do you think these downtown residents want their property values to rise?  Or, do they prefer shady streets being cleaned up with new mixed-use developments only if it won’t mean that a dive bar attracting drunks to the area at midnight will have to close?  Similar to the city council’s decision to allow for the development, I think cleaning up the area between NC State and Glenwood will have a very positive impact on the general population. 

    On the one hand, most readers of this blog want progress and new attractions to downtown.  People build new projects with affordable prices, and now they won’t sell.  Tear down a dive bar to build a new project and now everyone is a bunch of yankees? 

    First things first.  The area first needs jobs.  Jobs create a reason for people to desire to live downtown.  Jobs allow people to afford $150,000 condos.  Jobs allow condos to sell and create more demand.  More people creates more demand for retail and attractions, i.e. your grocery store, concert venue, etc. 

    These developers are building apartments and will provide more opportunities for people to move downtown.  We should applaud them for that.  If the condos are too expensive, then we should applaud them for creating rental units as another alternative to live in the area. 

    Once the density occurs, retail will follow.  Until that time you’ll just have to deal with the 5 store Taz grocery store, (perhaps the dumbest concept ever).  Once people choose to and can afford to move into $200k condos, retailers will open more businesses.  Would you open a business where the failure rate is extremely high, where people complain about $150k condos being too expensive, yet want wine, cheese, and all other eclectic items offered at their doorsteps?

  • 150
    04/09 03:58 PM

    ^^Dtown has a few points here.

    As someone who owned a residence downtown, and not far from Jackpot, I agree about the concern about property values.  That area near the Ashe/Hillsborough intersection isn’t attractive, and if it can be turned into attractive, affordable housing, it’s a plus.  Connecting Downtown to the YMCA and NC State is a plus, and this project seems like it will help link things better. 

    It’s unfortunate that Jackpot is located there, especially if it was one of your favorite places.  At the end of the day, it’s a victim of progress (and in my view, yes, it’s progress). 

    Oh, and the condo issue is another problem.  In my view, too many went up at one time, and they’re not priced right.  How about some more townhouses (there are some available gems downtown for those willing to look)?  Affordable apartments?  Condos at more competitive prices?  Adding living options could help the entire situation.  As it stands now, I wouldn’t dream of touching one of the condos.  You’d never be able to sell it.

  • gd
    04/09 04:07 PM

    Comparing what 150,000 can get you in Raleigh to DC is damn near laughable.  There’s actually things to do in DC other than go to a bar/restaurant.  Living downtown Raleigh would be more of an inconvenience than convenience unless you NEVER go to a grocery store, rarely or never shop for new clothes, etc.

  • Peter_K
    04/10 10:49 PM

    I’ve been going out in Raleigh for a long time. I’ve seen bars come & go. I agree with pdsjr: what makes a place is the people.

    I had only been to the Jackpot a few times. It just wasn’t my scene. I also don’t particularly care about Sadlacks. These facts do not make me a bad person.

    As part of Generation X, I grew up watching Cheers, and I think a lot of people in my generation wanted a bar to be like Cheers. And the places I go I am known by both the regulars & the staff. When too much of the one or the other changes, I re-settle in another bar.

    I’ve seen bad management kill a bar, and I’ve seen good management bring bars back to life.

    I understand the importance of having a “place.” But nothing stays the same, and all good things must come to an end.

  • JH
    04/10 11:17 PM

    Aside from hating this entirely, it is extra sad that they will tear down the amazing amazing amazing gorgeously decrepit green house that JACKPOT! currently tumors out of.  In what world can that architectural non-sequitur ever happen again?


    R.I.P. little drunken barnacle building of college and young adult revelry times.  I equally loved and loathed your ridiculous ironic life. 

    It’s 2:01am and the fluorescents are on.  Goodbye cruel world…

    Relevant, sans Eminem…

  • matt
    04/11 07:26 PM


    horseshit! DC was an utter cesspool. Not only was there nothing to do - there was nowhere to EAT either. Hate Raleigh? Go to DC. I, personally, have served my time in that shithole. Have at you! Go do the things you think are fun, but you’re 100% wrong. That city is dead to me.

  • Chico
    04/12 03:26 AM

    Just spent a weekend in D.C. last month - Dude, you’re trippin’! D.C. was pleasant, friendly, and affordable. I stayed on N. Capitol (used to be the hood) and walked through the neighborhoods to U Street. Caught the bus at least twice a day, sipped on $4 margaritas (seven of them) at a nice place, ate a $3 empanada at 2am, and saw a jazz band, a funk/r&b DJ and a house DJ (with a live vocalist) at the same place for only $10, ate the catfish nuggets with sweet potato fries for only $8 (DC fish and chips), had a kick ass brunch for $12 (with amazing coffee), learned a shitload about D.C.‘s African-American history (a la Duke Ellington) just by placards on the street, enjoyed a few of the best museums in the nation for free, inadvertently marched with a NC contingent of Latin Americans as they demanded health care for all, saw a political b-boy rally in front of the Treasury building, got a tip on a hot night spot from a bus driver, and took in the view of an incredible array of beautiful women (many with foreign accents).  And all that was in just 72 hours. Sorry for you that you missed all that during your stay there. Raleigh could learn a lot from that town. I most enjoyed the mix of races, ages, and orientations there. I saw rainbow flags in a predominately black neighborhood - you won’t see that in Raleigh. Mass transit was cheap and plentiful, if not a little confusing. And unlike Raleigh, the bus had white people on it, as well as tourists and executives with briefcases. You don’t have the rights of statehood, but you do have Happy Hour. D.C. has done a great job preserving its history, and Raleigh is trying its best to do the same thanks to companies like Empire Properties (while creating jobs at the same time). I’ve been coming downtown to play since I was 12, and it is more vibrant downtown now than at anytime since they first closed Fayetteville St. - but NOT as vibrant yet as it was before they closed the street. But we are headed in the right direction. The Rockford closing sucks (I was not the biggest fan of the JP), but it sucked when they closed Stingray, or Five-O, or Easy Street or Kings. It really sucked when they closed the Subway at Cameron Village, and its still just sitting there underground not being used. That’s just the way the world turns. Something else ALWAYS steps up to take the place of what used to be our favorite.

  • matt
    04/12 09:01 AM

    Yo Chico (I think I know you man!), I could make a great weekend out of DC too. I’m not trippin or buggin, though. I lived there for 40+ years (didn’t miss a lot in my stay there, IOW)! I exhausted it and it exhausted me. Nothing new around any old corners, and a growing “Big Brother” component that is not at all cool to live around, rainbow flags notwithstanding.

    You’re right about Rockford and things that will come to “replace” it. And things ARE good here. BUT I’ll miss the walk up those stairs, is all.

  • gd
    04/12 09:13 AM

    Matt:  I personally don’t care for DC, but DC has a hell of a lot more to offer than Raleigh in all aspects.

  • REL
    04/12 10:42 AM

    I used to go to the Sting-Ray when Michael owned it. His silent partner in the bar was Tom Fetzer and I think it was Tom that caused Michael to sell the Sting-Ray.  After losing re-election to the Raleigh mayorship, Tom was always wasted at the bar and a drag to be around.

  • arthurb3
    04/12 11:10 AM

    If all these other cities are so great why are you all here wearing out the roads and driving up my mortgage and real property tax payments?

    Please move back to these cities that you love so much!

  • DPK
    04/12 11:18 AM

    lol @ arthurb3

    Saying what we’re all thinking.  :P

  • gd
    04/12 11:43 AM

    thankfully I am leaving this city.

  • CR
    04/12 11:50 AM

    Hey gd - have fun bad mouthing your new city.  How lucky they will be to have you.

  • T-Plain
    04/12 12:04 PM

    Breaking News: Larger Cities Offer More Stuff Than Smaller Cities

  • mgd
    04/12 12:44 PM

    gd you arent moving to Buffalo are you???

    I dont understand what people dont like about this city.  I have lived here all my life and it changes every your its always evolving. 

    There is literally something for everyone here.  If you cant find something you like about the city then just maybe it isn’t the city…

  • gd
    04/12 12:55 PM

    CR: i defend this city much more than others. 
    MGD: No way!  That would be a step backwards.
    I’m going to Seattle.  I like it much better than here.

  • gd
    04/12 12:57 PM

    And MGD: something people want that you cant find here - a city feel.  This place doesn’t remotely feel like a city.  Its a small place and others may want a larger city with good public transportation.

  • Jason
    04/12 01:01 PM


    Why do Raleighites find it so difficult that people don’t like this city?  At the same time these same people will tell you how DC, NYC, Boston, etc sucks!!! Look I moved here from DC two years ago because Raleigh is cheap, no other reason.  I’m sure others move for the same reason.  Chico told nothing but the truth.  I am retired and I spend alot of time “downtown” and other parts and it does lack diversity, vibrancy, and the feel of a city.  There is nothing wrong with that, because a lot of people move here to escape that (diversity, vibrancy, etc).  MGD—I have lived here all my life—that is the Raleigh mentallity—My city is great because I say so.  I guess what I am trying to say is stop being so thin skinned.  No city is all that, including Raleigh.  Remember diversity and vibrancy is not how many, but how much interaction between.  Stop reading the marketing material and look around the next time your out.

  • Jason
    04/12 01:05 PM

    To Arthur,

    btw, Don’t tell anyone but most cities have people who live in it but don’t like it.  I guess your Raleigh should only allow those that sign a statement of Loyalty and Love.  In a 25 year military career there were a lot of cities I lived in that I didn’t like, but I guess we f.. up!  I’m sorry.

  • Clyde
    04/12 01:10 PM

    Other people not named Clyde actually suggesting grocery development.  <roll of eyes>

  • arthurb3
    04/12 01:20 PM

    Yea, I know Jason- the grass is always greener somewhere else!

  • gd
    04/12 01:24 PM

    Jason hit the nail on the head.

  • mgd
    04/12 03:10 PM

    Just b/c Ive lived here all my life doesnt mean I dont know other cities.  Ive spent a lot of time in several major cities and for the most part I liked them all.  I would actually move to DC.

    Actually where I live is very diverse.  Its where I chose to live.  With in 5 minutes of my house I have what I consider the best ethnic restaurants I have been to.  Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican/Central America.  These are authentic family run restaurants.

    I choose to go to the diversity.  I didnt wait for it to come to me.

    So the general stereotype that you used simply doesnt hold water.

  • meredith
    04/12 03:26 PM


    mgd thanks for making the rest of us look bad.  Might as well have said “and I have black/asian/friends”

    sigh, sigh, I miss the city.  Ethnic restaurants and where I live is diverse—and we wonder why people think our city is backasswards.

  • bill m
    04/12 03:37 PM

    Cary might have more “diversity” than Raleigh.  It has an arthouse theater that shows Bollywood films and serves beer and samosas.  Does DC have that?  But that isn’t an “urban experience”, just a culturally diverse experience.  Most of the culturally diverse businesses are in strip malls on the fringes of the city.  I like that Raleigh feels, at once, like a large city and a small town.  I haven’t been bored in years and there are still restaurants, in both Raleigh and Durham, that I want to try but haven’t had the chance yet.  There’s no shortage of things to do, or places to eat, or drink.  I’m sad to see Jackpot go.  I’m happy to see Kings coming back - just in time.

  • Micah
    04/12 04:47 PM

    REL, Wasn’t Bill Mooney the owner of the Sting Ray Room?  I don’t think he had any silent partners either.  I was there nearly every night from 1997-2000(ish), and I never saw Tom Fetzer there.  I also don’t think Michael D’Amelio had anything to do with Sting Ray, at least in that time period.

  • ellie.uk
    04/12 05:36 PM

    Yes…Bill Mooney owned The Stingray.

  • REL
    04/12 06:30 PM

    Okay, so Mooney was Michael’s partner.  Does he look like Fetzer?

  • Micah
    04/12 06:36 PM

    No, Mooney was Mooney’s partner, and you MIGHT say that Mooney looks a LITTLE like Fetzer, but Mooney was not wasted at the bar hardly ever, and he is always a joy to be around.

  • ford
    04/12 09:35 PM

    Cigarette allergies kept me out of it until January, and the smell that replaced the cloud kept me away since then. Fuck that place, i’m glad to see it go.

    That said, I absolutely loved the people, the music, and of course the cheap booze. Hopefully the crowd will migrate to a less carcinogenic building. I’ll go every night.

  • Rostel
    04/12 11:49 PM

    Sucks about Jackpot, but im glad to see some developement in that area.  I want to see note #11.

  • Jason
    04/13 11:35 AM

    by any stretch of the imagination bill, Raleigh does not feel like a big city to those who have lived in one.  I’m not being mean, it’s just a fact.

  • Bill
    04/13 11:43 AM

    Jason, you have no idea how much my imagination can stretch.  Fact.  Feeling is subjective.

  • MMI
    04/13 05:22 PM

    Quit playing semantics, son.  You know damned well what he meant.

  • Bill
    04/13 06:03 PM

    I’m not being semantic, pops; I’m saying Raleigh has the best of both small and large.  That is an opinion, not a fact.

  • YouCanMove
    04/13 06:48 PM

    I have to say many posts here sound like whining. JP is just a bar.  There will be something that eventually takes its place or you’ll find somewhere else to hang out. Sure it sucks, but lighten up.

    There may be no such thing as a perfect place to live, but free will is a wonderful thing.  There are very few of us who are so encumbered in life that we HAVE to stay put.  We CAN go out and find the places that fit our particular lifestyle the best. I feel little sympathy for those who choose to be somewhere they don’t like.

  • MMI
    04/13 11:39 PM

    LOL - which everyone knows, Billy.  You just felt like arguing.  I’m calling you out, nothing more.

  • Brent
    04/18 05:58 AM

    Jackpot has closed? New to me. I stopped going when the smoking ban came in. In the rain or cold, where was there to smoke? Sure, hospitals, buses, business, work, even Mickey D’s I can excuse, since I am only there a bit, but a BAR one goes to smoke in. I think is the smoking ban, since even in Ireland, there are 50/wk shutting shop.

    Then again, there are the Super $$$rich from out of town who want to make a buck, no matter what!. Always will be. Is what really other countries complain about us as “super capitalist Americans with an agenda”. I’ve been there. Long damn time. Most of us aren’t of that ilk though, as you know.

    Sure, JP was a dive, but I liked it. And I was born about 4 blocks away on St Mary’s in Old Rex. I went away for ages, but nice to have my hometown BE my hometown, not too fancy, and not too big. Too much of it has changed in 20 years anyway. Cary is a home to Imports, and a bit false. I serviced houses there. It is sort of Disneyworld, with kids.

    I cannot say JP was fancy or nice, but it was a cool place to go. To be levelled for a Charlotte company’s Profit level is missing the love of the place. Esp for students.

    The smoking ban is killing some bars, like Buckheads and Moes/Joes on Martin. I will miss JP’s, or really all the bars you could smoke. Then again, there is always such as the cigar bars, and when they brought the ashtrays out, I was WOW. You all can bitch about 2nd hand smoke, but that is a bar, my friend, and ought be smoking/non-smoking - easy. As they do in Germany and France now. BUt the $$$heads as the owners of some bars, as oh, on Oberlin/Hillsborough don’t like it. Since it will drive the $$$$ out their hands. HAS to be ALL non-smoking. What? Who thought of that? I will be a Mason now, damn.

    Well, I was at my local, and for a Saturday, it was 1/3 full per Dec 2009. I do make effort for non-smokers, since ought be 50-50 to me, and kindly. But the “growth of progress” has too many notions of $$$$$ behind it to me, to make me comfortable.

    Hence, beware the $$$$ signs, when it gets to interrupt what makes you real. I did my Grad school in Political Economics. Ashe ave might make some good apartments, for $1000/month, and change sometimes can be good, but if you don’t like it there, you never should have been there to begin with. SOmetimes the Dives, as in Labyrinthe in Wuerzburg on Beethoven Strasse, in Germany, truly make a place. Since 95% of the town is “respectable and for kids”.

    I believe in the Clean and the Good, but also, in the Wildness of Life, which is the keeping of Humanity. Something like that Henry David Thoreau was very fond of. When housing contractors are on the hunt, and “progress” is looming, sometimes it is nice to have some small Continuity in life. Some touch point we are nice with. I hope they do not destroy my Pullen Park in the process, as I heard.

    I am a true Raleighite (is that what they call us? haha) but I care. To balance “progress” to Continuity, to “good things” to old things, and shoot, who here can remember when there was the Hobby Shop, Brittania Tobacconist, and the Fabric shop at Cameron Village, where you could buy all fabric, to make a dress or a scarf, buttons; a WW1 Sopwith Camel; or a $20 cigar imported there? Who remembers when there was a Cinema there, as well as the K&W Cafeteria being 3x the size and on the upper level? Moreover, they have overhead parking lots too!

    My point being, you have to know a place to love a place, baby. And you have to love a place to care. You have had to suffer there, is what I mean. To earn it.

    Born there? Is ok. But I have loved some of my best in Germany and England and all, where I was and came to love in 12 years. One can be imported/“not born there” to care. I got to kno0w the streets of Durham, England dammit well. I suffered it there. Also, Hull, Lancaster, and Darlington, England. I earnt it. And very well.

    And when one can give a love, as to has a love earnt like that, so much so that one can say, eventually, “I was born in Maryland but I am from North Carolina” then you have earnt it. truly. And the judgment to say so. And I love you with my heart. Just like moving anywhere else. I was in Germany, not born there, But I did earn her well.

    I reckon, it is about the cash. For normal people, it is about being comfortable, both from Raleigh and Away.

    I was a tour guide in New Mex for Los Turistas, and I wanted well for them. I want all my new comers to appreciate my Raleigh as I share with them. But as the US Park Service, “Please do not impact upon the site, nor litter, nor make that is to destroy this site, please”.

    Of course, a city grows and IS impacted on, but please do not make it so far away from what attracted you in the first place, ok? Southport NC had a huge fishing fleet, with old houses, and newcomers came there for that. But destroyed the houses and the fleet, “for progress”. Well, one as $$$$$ bound can easily do that to the inbound rich, per California, Massachusetts and Maine, to name a few. Some of us can do that to you too. Even in Brooklyn or Pittsburgh, when you move away. Make it “very NOT like you have remembered it”.

    I have studied this a long time, and I do not like to make enemies, even as folks moved to new places, as our did, 1713 or 1840 or 1900. you see.

  • DPK
    04/18 10:48 AM

    That might be the longest most nonsensical comment I’ve ever read on this website.

  • Micah
    04/18 03:42 PM

    Oh, my.  If he really did go to grad school, I wonder what his dissertation is like?

  • MMI
    04/18 04:31 PM

    Settle down, Francis.  For the record, Joe’s on Martin closed WELL before the smoking ban, and I’m pretty sure you couldn’t smoke in there, anyway.

  • Brent
    04/18 05:10 PM

    Dissertation? I did two. One on the Navy, and one on N Ireland, in England.

    Longest nonsensical you ever read? Hahahaha. I gave this site the honour of being drink first before replying, lol. But you read it, didn’t ya?

    And I was replying to the very long list of comments and complaints I had just read.

    It really doesn’t matter what they do with the place. It’s about the $$$$. Life goes on.

  • Brent
    04/19 01:04 AM

    And I was there 20 mins ago, WTF are you all on about then?

  • 150
    04/22 12:42 PM

    MMI:  “Settle down, Francis”.  Fantastic reference!

  • MMI
    04/22 01:54 PM

    Heh…now we just need to see who’s old enough to catch it.

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