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Still Life hosts soft opening for rooftop, freshens nightlife on Franklin Street

Still Life Entertainment Complex held its soft opening on July 5, 2022. Photo courtesy of Still Life.

Still Life Chapel Hill held soft-opening events on Friday and Saturday, showing off its rooftop area for the first time and adding a new nightlife spot for the local community. 

Located at 159 E. Franklin St., Still Life's top floor features a bar area with a panoramic view of Franklin and Rosemary Streets. 

The Chapel Hill location is the second Still Life venue to open, with the original located near the East Carolina University campus in Greenville, N.C. 

The rooftop is the only area that is open as of the soft opening. However, Still Life has plans to open more rooms in the future. 

Still Life General Manager Cameron Renna said the event rooms will be designated by age group: 18 and over, 21 and over and 25 and over.

“We have four different rooms, so plenty of vibes for everybody,” he said. “You and a group of friends can come and literally split up in the same building and come back at some point during the night and meet up.”

The venue will also feature a speakeasy room called “The Drink” that can be rented out during normal business hours and will serve specialty cocktails.

Carter Kulka, a bouncer at Still Life and a rising sophomore at UNC, said Still Life’s multiple areas make the venue accessible to both college students and alumni alike.

“I think it'll be good,” he said. “There's a bunch of really good bars and stuff here, but I think it's kind of a different vibe here – a little bit more of a club-type scene, which I think a lot of people in Chapel Hill were wishing there was a place like this.”

Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Executive Director Matt Gladdek said there are not a lot of dance clubs in the Triangle area. He added that he is optimistic that Still Life will be a good fit for Chapel Hill.

“I think this is a really unique business, and their ownership model is proven to be a really responsible ownership model that is aiming to provide a really high-class level of entertainment,” he said.

Gladdek said that the partnership has been making sure Still Life is connected to other businesses in the area before its grand opening in the fall.

He said Still Life will serve food from other downtown Chapel Hill businesses at different times of the day.

The entire venue is set to open during the weekend of August 19, but private events will take place throughout the rest of July. 

Still Life’s website is now taking reservations and venue rentals with beverage packages available. 

Gladdek said that building relationships with clientele is the most important aspect of a successful business in downtown Chapel Hill.

“For downtown Chapel Hill, I think the thing that really makes it unique is that the relationships really, really matter, and connecting with the community and offering a unique product,” he said.

Renna said that the soft opening allows Still Life to showcase its space and train its staff before its grand opening.

He said that the soft opening also allowed the staff to meet other business owners in the area as well as students who stayed in Chapel Hill for the summer.

“This space has something for everybody, so we'd like everybody to come and check us out,” Renna said.

Following its grand opening, Still Life will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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