The Station at Southern Rail (or The Station) is a bar and music venue located next to the Southern Rail restaurant at 201-C East Main Street in Carrboro, North Carolina. A refurbished former train station, the bar once served as a popular destination for up and coming artist. Today, it continues to act as a popular site for local and national creative talent.
Original Carrboro Train Station
The Station is housed in the former Carrboro train station. Built in 1882, the Station served the newly built Greensboro-Durham Southern Railway Line, which accommodated travelers to and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It withstood the town's several name changes, its industrial establishment and its growth into a hub for artists and progressives.
As Carrboro relied less on its railway, the Station began to be repurposed. It was first used as a bar in the 1970s, where it became a destination for emerging musical acts like R.E.M. and Bad Brains. However, the Station's popularity decreased and it permanently closed it doors in the 1990s. The building then housed a succession of businesses, including a Chinese restaurant, a cafe and a Lionel train shop.
The Station was restored by Mike Benson after he created the Southern Rail restaurant. Southern Rail was constructed by enclosing a series of vintage railway cars with a steel and glass platform. The Station was revamped to complement Southern Rail. Its restoration was also intended to revive its former musical legacy.
The new Station's centerpiece is an expansive wooden bar that was once part of the historic Hotel Washington in Washington, D.C. When the hotel closed in the 1950s, the bar was moved to Blackie's House of Beef, also in Washington D.C. Though Blackie's developed its own rich history, the steakhouse closed in 2006. Benson then acquired the bar and brought it to the Station.
The Station Today
Reopened in summer 2007, the Station acts as a late night companion to the sit down restaurant of Southern Rail. The Station offers draft, bottle and can beer, wine and mixed drinks with indoor and outdoor seating in the front and back of building. The Station holds a variety of events, including bands and DJs, film screenings, open mic nights and trivia. The Station’s décor includes a wall of band posters of previous acts that have come through during its earlier days, vintage and historic artwork and signage and a large TV for sports and film screenings.