Southern Rail is an eclectic restaurant located in the heart of Carrboro, NC just off of the local freight tracks. Made up of vintage railroad cars, Southern Rail is full of surprises. From the main dining room to the 3 bar areas, Southern Rail has plenty of fun and unique seating.
Southern Rail features wonderful art deco and nouveau inspired murals, historic train signage, museum quality vintage railroad memorabilia, and authentic period decor to provide a nostalgic flair. The owners of Southern Rail invite you to sit back and imagine yourself traveling on the rail cars of old to destinations far and wide, all while dining on the some of the best fare in Carrboro. Southern Rail offers a creative blend of charm and edge, both in atmosphere and culinary experience.
Cuisine: The cuisine at Southern Rail is a favorite of Carrboro residents. From the fantastic chicken wings and nachos to the tomato bisque soup, pasta, steak and ribs; Southern Rail offers fantastic fare with a unique dining experience.
Patio: Southern Rail is a warm weather favorite because of their outdoor patio seating. Offering over 200 outdoor patio seats, Southern Rail is an amazing restaurant to enjoy our great North Carolina weather. Plus, during the warm summer months, Southern Rail offers live music on the patio!
The Station: "The Station" is a lively bar and entertainment venue located at Southern Rail inside the historic Carrboro train depot built in the 1880s. The Station offers live music, DJs, trivia nights, and other great entertainment nightly, and there is never a cover charge. The friendly bartenders serve up great drink specials at a massive hand carved hardwood bar, which was originally located from 1917 to the 1950s at the the historic Hotel Washington across the street from the White House. See below to find out more about this unique part of the Southern Rail experience.
Proprietor: Southern Rail is Mike Benson's third restaurant. A native of Chapel Hill, Mike opened up two restaurants in the Washington DC area featuring vintage aviation and nautical themes, before moving back to design this eclectic train themed restaurant in the heart of Carrboro. Come see us and enjoy the unique experience that is "Southern Rail."
Kitchen Hours for Southern Rail:
Tuesday - Thursday: 4 - 10pm
Friday: 4pm - 1am
Saturday: 10am - 11pm
Sunday: 10am - 9pm
Bar open late Fridays and Saturdays
Brunch menu served 11am - 4pm
On Sundays, Dinner starts at 5:30
THE STATION AT SOUTHERN RAIL
Southern Rail has recently renovated and re-opened the historic Carrboro train depot building adjacent to the rail cars. Dating back to 1892, this was one of the first commercial buildings in Carrboro (then known as the town of "Venable"), at a time when a flour mill, a cotton gin, a blacksmith, and a few small homes were the only other buildings that existed in town. The site is now dubbed "the Station at Southern Rail," in homage to its original roots as the first train station in the region, as well as its more recent incarnation as a popular music venue where bands such as REM played in the 1970s-80s.
Perhaps the most interesting fixture in Benson's restoration of the Station is the massive hand-carved hardwood bar, which has a rich history all its own and has been lovingly refurbished by local craftsmen. The bar itself was originally created for the "Hotel Washington", built in 1917 and located directly across the street from the White House in Washington DC. The hotel is famous for its rooftop terrace looking down on the White House, and has been frequented by a diverse range of guests over the years, including Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Gere, Aretha Franklin, Charley Pride, Jodie Foster and Tom Cruise to name just a few.
The hotel also served as backdrop for numerous events and films, including "The Godfather Part II" and "No Way Out". Many luminaries have "bellied up" to the historic Station bar when it stood at the Hotel Washington during the period from 1917 to the 1950s, including Presidents, Vice Presidents (e.g., John Nance Garner, VP under F.D. Roosevelt lived in the Hotel for 9 years), cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices (e.g., Justice Frank Murphy also lived at the Hotel), and a wide array of entertainers such as John Wayne, Duke Ellington, Will Rogers, George Burns, Gracie Allen, and members of the Ziegfeld Follies cast.When the Hotel Washington was renovated in the 1950s, the bar itself was moved several blocks away to Blackie's House of Beef, a historic Washington DC steak house. Sadly, Blackie's closed in Spring 2006, at which time Benson was able to bring the bar and other memorabilia on the journey South to their new home in Carrboro. Come see for yourself how DC's loss is Carrboro's gain!
Live Music & DJs
LIVE local Music
Unique Restaurant & Lounge
Outdoor Smoking Only