A couple of stories in today’s Sunday News & Observer pertain to the supporting cast and setting of Planet “Losering” — namely Raleigh-nightlife people and places, then and now. First is a piece I did, about the incredibly cool guitar-themed decor at a new downtown nightspot called Ruby Deluxe. That’s not a real guitar here on the right, but it was made by a real luthier with as much care as goes into a real instrument; you’d almost swear you could reach right through the clear bar-top and play it. Click on through and take a closer look.
One of the Ruby Deluxe partners is none other than Van Alston (aka The Renaissance Man Of Raleigh, North Carolina), who has a long and tangled history with Ryan Adams. Among other things, Van co-wrote Ryan’s signature song “Come Pick Me Up”; co-owns Slim’s, where Ryan gave his last public performance in Raleigh a decade ago; and used to co-own two key Hillsborough Street establishments from Raleigh’s mid-1990s Whiskeytown era, the Comet Lounge and the Brewery.
Regarding those last two, the business section of Sunday’s paper has a story about Hillsborough Street’s metamorphosis from the funky collegiate strip it used to be (which I actually liked!) to a more upscale slickness. The story mentions the Aloft Hotel going up on the old Sadlack’s site, but it mostly focuses seven-tenths of a mile west, on the soon-to-open Stanhope Center — a fancy new housing complex for NC State students that occupies the block where the Brewery and Comet used to be. They were at about the right edge of the picture below, and it’s kind of astounding to think there’s a joint with a swimming pool there now.