The Raleigh Underground on Goodnight Raleigh

July, 08, 2008, by David

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Good Night Raleigh has an excellent post on the Raleigh Underground, a late seventies, early eighties Rock club in Cameron Village, underneath where Fresh Market now sits. 

The Village Subway was modeled after the Atlanta Underground. It was a series of restaurants, clubs, boutiques, fashion stores, and a few other shops. Some of the night clubs were The Frog & Nightgown, Cafe Deja Vu, Elliot’s Nest, The Pier, Skyline, The Bear’s Den, Midnight Express, and Soundhaus.

The entrance to Raleigh’s “Underground” was a long stairwell that was made to look like the entrance to a subway station in NYC. At the bottom of the stairs were paintings of trains to reinforce the idea. Rather than traditional wall advertisements, there were rectangular paintings of the shops that occupied the underground space.

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DevelopmentCameron Village


  • Rusty
    07/08 08:15 PM

    I have heard, unofficially, that much of the previously leased space will be once again capitalized on by the current owners. They gave no time frame, or even ball park ideas on how much / how the space would be used…

    But I’m more than willing to bet that the much-loved past of the Village Subway will not be a major factor in their decision making.

  • richardfoc
    07/08 08:50 PM

    Those where the days! I saw The Replacements open for Violent Femmes at the Pier back in (I think) 1983. Saw Dead Kennedys also. If I’m not mistaken Sonic Youth’s Confusion Is Sex album has a live version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” which was recorded at the Pier.

  • dt
    07/08 09:16 PM

    looking at the pictures, it would seem that somewhere down there is the perfect place for Kings to open back up in.

  • lunarvision
    07/08 11:24 PM

    Woah, excellent topic!  Just last week I was doing my own research & telling folks about Raleigh Underground/Village Subway.  There’s little info on web about this.

    If only the city/someone had the guts to open something like this nowadays!  It’s too bad that some of Raleigh’s most unique treasures relegated to history…(but that gripe is for another topic!)

    dt - perfect idea for King’s! (or a reborn Fallout Shelter)

    richardfoc - correct about SY recording at the Pier

    rusty - care to elaborate on what you heard?

  • John Morris
    07/09 01:45 AM

    Rusty - how current is your information? The Cameron Village history book put out by York Properties essentially says the same thing - and it was published in 1999.

    dt - I couldn’t agree more. If I had heard the suggestion before knowing the history, I probably would have scoffed at the idea. But now, knowing what I do, I can’t think of a more fitting place for King’s to re-emerge and once again be one of the finest music venues in Raleigh.

  • lunarvision
    07/09 06:19 AM

    John, I guess you’re the publisher of these pics (and the blog)...just wanted to say great work and thanks for showcasing this!
    Now what would be a true goldmine is if someone had (relatively clear) video footage inside of the Subway during its heyday…show the clubs, shops and people.
    I also wish someone had pics/footage of the old Heart’s Delight and Millbrook Village (or whatever it was called).  But that’s pushing my luck..ha ha

  • Rusty
    07/09 12:04 PM

    It’s currently owned by Regency Centers, and the LLC that holds the deed right now, bought it in 2004. As for the plans to renovate, all I know for certain is that the owners would like to capitalize on all that unused real estate if possible… and when last I heard, they were looking at the feasibility of reopening some of those spaces similar to the original design.

    Regency Centers has a lot of property in the area, and has a recent track record of buying up older commercial properties and renovating / updating them. (ex: Sutton Square in North Raleigh & Shoppes of Kildaire in Cary)

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