Retail: Charlie’s Pub in Durham to close in March

Charlie’s Pub & Grille owner Mike Cole, middle, sits at the bar of his restaurant with John Bolton, left, and Kenny Ray, right. Cole is closing his 13-year-old place on Ninth Street in Durham after losing his lease.
Charlie’s Pub & Grille owner Mike Cole, middle, sits at the bar of his restaurant with John Bolton, left, and Kenny Ray, right. Cole is closing his 13-year-old place on Ninth Street in Durham after losing his lease.

The future of Charlie’s Pub & Grille is no longer in limbo.

For about 14 months, Mike Cole has been anticipating the closing of his Durham sports bar and restaurant after his landlords didn’t renew his lease.

The building’s owners have given him four different dates to close, but this week he got his first written notice – one that gives him 60 days to shut down the place on Ninth Street that’s been serving up wings, live music and Blue Devils basketball since 2001.

“Looks like we’ll be out the 27th of March or the 29th,” Cole said.

In the meantime, Cole is still booking bands, and over the next two months has a lineup that includes The Embers, Jim Quick & The Coastline Band, and Love Tribe. He’ll run Charlie’s until the end, serving food and drinks to what he says have been “great customers.”

“We are going to party till they throw us out completely,” he said. “I’m going to miss everybody, and I hate to see it close. A lot of people hate to see it close. At least that’s what they tell me to my face.”

But when it ends, Cole won’t be out of the bar business for good.

He’ll turn his attention to his latest venture, a consignment shop that serves free wine.

In November, Cole and a partner opened Carolina Consignment Shop as a way to sell the furniture from his own house.

The place offers everything from home decor and furniture to mirrors and artwork, items that Cole curates or customers bring in to sell for a profit.

When an item sells, the consignment shop splits the sale 50-50 with the seller, and he tries to deal with as many local artists and people as possible.

Prices range from about $5 for dishes to about $10,000 for artwork. Customers can sip free wine, coffee or water while they browse the 3,000-square-foot space, and there’s cafe seating in the store for those who want to sit while they drink.

Cole hopes the connections he’s made through Charlie’s will help him create a solid customer base.

And he hopes those customers will come have another drink with him.

“I know just about everybody in town ... I’ve met so many people over the years, and I’ve tried to be good to them,” Cole said.

Carolina Consignment Shop, is having a grand opening party Friday from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. with music, wine and hors d’oeuvres. The shop is at 1116 Broad St. in Durham.

The Rockford, a restaurant that’s been a Glenwood South staple since before there was a Glenwood South, closed Tuesday to revamp its menu.

The new menu will include some old favorites, such as the blackened tilapia tacos and the ABC sandwich with bacon, granny Smith apples, cheddar cheese, powdered sugar and honey.

Along with the familiar, customers can expect to find what the Rockford calls “blue collar gourmet” sandwiches, sides, soups, salads and dinner entrees made with fresh, local ingredients.

Dishes will include items such as the If It Looks Like Kale, a hoagie with braised short ribs, sesame citrus kale, pickled ginger and carrots; the Olive or Let Die, a vegetarian sandwich with olives, capers, feta cheese and tomatoes; and BLTs with toppings like avocado, fried egg and pickled beets.

The Rockford’s bar will include North Carolina beers from Fullsteam, Crank Arm and Foothills, along with cocktails like the Vodka Taco with vodka, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin and lime; and the Porch Fly Punch, made with bourbon, lemon, mint and ginger beer.

Prices range from about $3 for sides to about $15 for entrees. Beverages run from about $3 for domestic bottles to about $26 for a bottle of wine.

The Rockford, which celebrates its 21st birthday this year, will reopen Feb. 3 at its usual spot at 320 1/2 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh.

Rise Biscuits and Donuts, a Durham bakery that launched a franchise brand in July, will open its first franchise location this summer at Park West Village in Morrisville. … Avail Vapor, an e-cigarette company, plans to open five stores in North Carolina, including one in Durham. Avail already has three Triangle stores – one each in Garner, Raleigh and Durham.