The space on Rosemary Street where Country Fried Duck is located used to be occupied by The Heel, a bar that closed about 7 months after its opening when the owner relocated to Florida.
The Heel was also shut down because of building code violations and the necessity to refile its liquor and alcohol permits.
Kleczkowski and Fortkort said they first met at East End Oyster and Martini Bar on Franklin Street years ago. They said they both have experience in the service industry, so opening a bar was the next step for them.
“There’s nothing like this in Chapel Hill,” Fortkort said.
The 4,400-square-foot space features aluminum walls, wooden tables and artwork hanging on the walls to create an atmosphere imitating country life.
The space includes three different bars — two inside and one outside — serving six local draft beers and eight different options of bottled beer. The interior has two pool tables and plenty of dancing room.
The bar has attracted a wide range of guests so far.
Employee Tony Mellon said he has noticed both N.C. State University and Duke University fans, UNC students, business owners and even people visiting from other countries mingling at the bar.
Adam Huskins, a resident from Cedar Grove, said he heard about the bar on Facebook.
Lauren Wimple, from Chapel Hill, and Jamie Hockaday, from Butner, said they heard about Country Fried Duck from word of mouth and were impressed by its uniqueness.
“It has its own concept,” Hockaday said.
The bar is open to individuals 21 and older, but the couple said they plan on opening the doors to 18-year-olds in the future.
Possible plans for expanding also include live performances from local artists and disc jockeys, Kleczkowski and Fortkort said.
The bar is a good replacement for East End Oyster and Martini Bar, which closed in June 2014, said Will Riley, who went to the bar during its opening weekend.
Although he said he wasn’t a fan of country music, employee Kyle Lovin said he loves the bar’s atmosphere.
The new bar also features a mechanical bull — an attraction other bars in downtown Chapel Hill don’t offer.
Huskins said he enjoyed this aspect of the bar.
“It can’t throw me off because I know how to ride a bull,” he said.
“I have plenty of bulls. I live on a farm. On a mechanical bull, you just move along with it.”