"It was totally meant to happen. It's what I was meant to do. Now I look at a 29-year-old and they look pretty young but at the time I was chomping at the bit to do it. Also I was a business major. I didn't just throw my guitar away and open a bar," says Tricia (photographed below), owner of Orange County Social Club, who opened the Carrboro bar 13 years ago. OCSC has a throwback vibe with a stocked jukebox and vinyl mod sofas. The beguiling art installation that spans the wall nudges patrons for attention. It was created by Tricia's husband, artist Charles Chace, and is loosely redolent of the SMPTE color bars that appeared on television screens when networks went "off air." Towards the back, a flashing pinball machine is tucked in a corridor that leads to an outdoor space. Step outside to a lounge shrouded in vines, illuminated by lanterns and the reflection of a mirrored disco ball. An iron monogramed backdoor swings open (or serves as a an exit) inviting locals -- faithfuls who show up day in and day out, week by week, year over year.
"I worked at Merge Records, a local record label. I just found that my instincts for work were more in the hospitality department than other things. At the time, I was filling a niche. Everyone whose first names I knew wanted a bar to open. At the time there wasn't happy hour type for the 20ish or 30ish people...A lot of people have met their partners here and that makes me very proud. Our motto is consistency. We keep the place going even keel and vibrant. It's not trendy. You know what you're going to get when you come in. There's a good vibe....sit and talk with your friends and not be bothered."
(photographs taken at Orange County Social Club located at 108 East Main Street in Carrboro. It's open seven days a week.)