In January 2017, the Double Door Inn closed its famous two front doors forever.
It was the end of an era in Charlotte, and the community rallied to raised money on Kickstarter to fund a documentary about the bar frequented by fans of blues, rock, punk and other genres.
But fear not, the Double Door Inn lives on in a yearly anniversary-turned-reunion party at the Neighborhood Theater. To former owner Nick Karre’s surprise, the first reunion brought out 300 people on a Sunday night.
For the second reunion, Neighborhood Theater will once again play host on Sunday, Dec. 16. As with last year’s event, the party will be an excuse for friends who spent countless hours bonding at the Double Door Inn to reconnect with one another, and of course, listen to the music that served as the lifeblood of the establishment.
Randy Franklin & The Sardines, The Monday Night Allstars and The Lenny Federal Band fill out the showbill for the night of nostalgia and reminiscing.
Lenny Federal played music at the Double Door Inn for as long as it has been hosting musical acts. For him, showing up at Neighborhood Theater to play for the reunion show always means a lot.
“A lot of the musicians here cut their teeth at the Double Door, me being one of them,” Federal said. “It’s just a way to remember what the Double Door meant to Charlotte when it was up and running and the opportunity it gave to local musicians.”
The popularity of the Double Door Inn and the fact that it has a large enough fanbase to still be selling T-shirts and throwing reunion anniversary parties begs the question regarding its possible return. When asked, Karres said it’s a door he’s not going to close, but it is all about when the right opportunity comes around.
For now, Charlotte and the former patrons of the Double Door Inn will have to make do with once-a-year gatherings right around Christmastime.
Karres is excited to see everyone who shows up to the event next weekend, familiar faces or not.
“I miss a lot of them and it’s kind of a surprise who shows up,” Karres said. “Because over 40 years, that’s a lot of people. It’s a couple generations. And now some of our early customers, they have grown children. It’s just good to see all these people from people that came back in the ’70s.”
But really, it’s about the customers and the employees who’ve met and made friends, lovers and confidantes at the Double Door Inn since 1973.
“They’ve forged relationships that continue today even though the bar’s closed. So there’s a lot of people that are still friends that are ex-customers,” Karres said. “It gives them an opportunity to get together, and it’s just a good thing to be able to do that.”
Double Door Inn Anniversary Reunion Party
Dec. 16, 6 p.m.; $10; Neighborhood Theater, 511 E. 35th St; neighborhoodtheater.com