Remodeling the space, owners George Draper and Michael Rosenbacher wanted to start a new chapter with the opening of The Strowd, an upscale bar and nightclub that overlooks East Franklin Street.
The club is celebrating its grand opening Thursday at 6 p.m. It will feature a performance from local jazz band Tea Cup Gin.
“We had a bit of a soft opening, with a few private events, but the word of mouth has been phenomenal,” Rosenbacher said. “Now we really just want to officially welcome everybody to our spot and show them what we’ve done.”
The Strowd’s opening follows the closure of Players nightclub in June.
After obtaining a building permit, Draper and Rosenbacher embarked on a six-month renovation process for the 5,000-square-foot facility.
The renovations include completely redone floors and bathrooms, a revamped bar area, walls that would expose more of the old-style brick and the removal of the dropped ceiling. The club is decorated with art divided into four sections: bar, dance floor, lounge and VIP area, and a separate seating area near the windows that overlook Franklin Street.
“The space that was up here was just so outdated, it’d been there for about 25 years,” Draper said. “Even once we made the decision to give it a facelift and started gutting everything out, I had no idea it was going to turn out as nice as it did.”
Draper said that despite the remodel, The Strowd has retained some of the essence of its predecessors by maintaining a similar layout, with the bar and dance floor in the same locations.
The Strowd is named after the building it is housed in, which was built in 1923 by the Strowd family and is now owned by Draper.
Draper said he and Rosenbacher decided to open the business after they noticed a lack of downtown nightclub options.
Rosenbacher approached him with the idea to completely transform the facility into a new bar and nightclub that would have the capacity to host large private activities and live music events.
Draper said The Strowd will open at 5 p.m. during the week, and he wants the club to appeal to a diverse crowd, including students, university faculty and local professionals.
“We’re trying to get an older crowd up here earlier,” Draper said. “Anyone from graduate students to professors to business owners can come up here and relax with a drink after a long day. Students will likely come late at night.”
Grace Chaucer, the club’s manager, said The Strowd offers something for everybody. The club will offer themed nights during the week such as “Bluesday Tuesday,” as well as have in-house disc jockeys who will play the latest pop, hip hop and dance music late at night on Friday and Saturday.
In addition to music, The Strowd will offer a full bar and a selection of 16 craft beers on draft. The venue also boasts a number of televisions and two HD screen projectors to view sports’ games.
“Everyone is an ideal customer,” Chaucer said. “The place has a lot of history, and the establishment is top-notch, classy. Just the whole feeling of the place — anyone could have a good time.”
The announcement of the new Franklin Street nightclub comes on the heels of last week’s news that Country Fried Duck — a new nightclub on Rosemary Street — will open in May. Country Fried Duck will likely cater mostly to students and the owners said it will offer a mechanical bull.
Rosenbacher said he wants The Strowd to be a place where people can come and enjoy themselves and feel comfortable in a safe environment.
“With a club there’s only so much you can do in setting yourself apart,” Rosenbacher said. “We’re really just a contemporary bar that also happens to have the greatest sound system and dance floor in Chapel Hill.”