For the past year or so, two key Raleigh venues from Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown-era “Losering” story have had figurative swords hanging over them. That’s the Berkeley Cafe and Sadlack’s Heroes, both of which were seemingly doomed. Three months ago, the odds of continued survival didn’t look good for either place. Then when the Berkeley announced it was about to “close for remodeling,” it was hard not to assume the worst.
In a delightfully improbable turn of events, however, I am happy to report that the Berkeley and Sadlack’s are joining forces in a union that makes all the sense in the world. In the near term, the Berkeley will still close for remodeling at the end of this week, and Sadlack’s is still scheduled to shut down at the end of this year. But come January, the Berkeley will reopen under new management: Sadlack’s owner Rose Schwetz has bought the Berkeley and is going to spend the next three months overseeing a large-scale remodel that will (I hope) combine the best aspects of these two famous blue-collar dives.
When the new Berkeley opens its doors, yes, the Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown artifacts on the walls of Sadlack’s will be there. But that’s assuming that Rose can hang onto them in the meantime.
“Everybody’s been telling me, ‘I want this, I want that, put my name on it,’” she says with a laugh. “Stuff like that is not really very important to me, but it is to some people. Still, we’ll try to hang onto the important things. We’ll start packing stuff up over there around Thanksgiving.”