149 ½ E. FRANKLIN ST. / VILLAGE BEAUTY SHOP / VARSITY SODA SELLER / THE BABY SHOP/ TEMPO ROOM / HARRISON’S / THEODORE’S / GROUNDHOG TAVERN / GOODFELLOWS

149 ½ E. FRANKLIN ST. / VILLAGE BEAUTY SHOP / VARSITY SODA SELLER / THE BABY SHOP/ TEMPO ROOM / HARRISON’S / THEODORE’S / GROUNDHOG TAVERN / GOODFELLOWS

149 ½
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Construction type: 
Type: 
Use: 

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  • Sat, 01/27/2024 - 5:05pm by SteveR

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149 ½
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Construction type: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

This basement space was the Village Beauty Shop (owned/operated by Mr. and Mrs. George Hellen) from May 1940 to March 1946, a soda shop named the Varsity Soda Seller managed by Wilbur Kutz (as an extension of his Varsity Shop, at the time upstairs from the soda shop) from circa 1946 to 1952, then as The Baby Shop, operated by Margaret Alexander in this location from May 1952 until 1956.[1] It was then remodeled (to a design by Hank Gifford), and in early May 1956 it became the Tempo Room (also sometimes called "The Po") until April 1969, when a fire gutted the space.[2] The business was first owned/operated by Monk Jennings and Bob Cox (owners of the upstairs Town & Country clothing store) and managed by J. D. Wright.[3]

It was later owned/operated by Henry Watts, then (circa 1967) by Pete and Harry Galifianakis (brothers of U.S. Congressman Nick Galifianakis and uncles of Zach Galifianakis). Jack Kerouac is said to have held court in the bar in late May 1965.[4] It was Chapel Hill's first [known] bar that gay clientele frequented.[5]

In 1974, Harrison's, a "Georgetown-themed restaurant" and bar, opened in this space, owned/operated by Mickey Ewell. It closed in 1983. From 1983 to early 1988, it was Theodore’s Bar and Comedy Club, owned/operated by Johnny Treece and Mike Ussery. From September 1988 to 1993 it was Franklin Street Bar & Grill, owned/operated by Jimbo Cashwell and Dave Kitzmiller.[6]

From 1993 to 1998, it was the Groundhog Tavern. Since 1998 it has been Goodfellow's.

The Tempo Room's sign, circa 1960 (via the Chapel Hill Historical Society)

September 1950 ad (from the DTH)

May 1952 ad (from the DTH)

May 1956 ad (from the DTH)

Exterior of Harrison's, 1983 (via the Chapel Hill Historical Society)

January 1993 ad (from the DTH)

November 1993 ad (from the DTH)

 

REFERENCES
[1] The Chapel Hill Weekly, March 20, 1956; May 9, 1952; May 24, 1940; March 22, 1946
[2] Daily Tar Heel, April 29, 1969. The business (then called the "Tempo-rary") moved to a nearby location in another basement space under a pizza place after the fire.

[3] The Chapel Hill Weekly, March 20, 1956

[4] See fiddlerbill.blogspot.com/2013/02/an-old-kerouac-memoir.html
[5] A Generation of Bars Remembered – Tempo, Pegasus, Blueberry, et. al. Lambda, Vol. 4, No. 2, November 1978
[6] See various Chapel Hill Weekly and Daily Tar Heel newspapers.

 

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