5 Questions With: Dave Rose, co-founder of Deep South The Bar

Deep South the Bar gives back to charity in the midst of closing
As told to Catherine Currin

After 11 years, Deep South the Bar is closing its doors. Co-founder Dave Rose hopes to give back to the community in the form of a charity auction beginning today through March 7. All proceeds from the auction, with items like autographed photography and bar decor and memorabilia, will benefit local charities with a connection to music. We talked with Rose to see what he’ll miss most about the bar, as well as what’s next for Deep South Entertainment, the bar’s parent company.

The closing of Deep South the Bar is the end of an era. How do you feel? What are you going to miss the most?
It’s a mixture of emotions. That venue was a stage to over 40,000 musicians in its 11 years. That’s a lot of great memories. What I’ll miss most is the sense of community that place had—a home for all walks of life and all genres of music.  All that said, it’s a new chapter in my life with a second baby on the way for my wife and me. Bar ownership is a 24/7 job. While I’m thankful to the opportunities Deep South The Bar provided me and others, I’m also looking forward to having the extra time for my family.

How’d you get the idea for the charity auction?
When we announced we were closing, I started receiving messages from customers and friends asking if they could buy certain items that had hung on the walls all these years. There was a real interest from folks in the community to preserve these items. So it just felt right to allow those items to stay right here in Raleigh, with people who would care about them, all while raising money for local charities.

Why did you select these charities as recipients? What does it mean to you to give back to the community in this way?
Band Together, the LGBT Center, and KidzNotes have always been active in the local music community. It just felt right to give back to those who have supported the Raleigh-area music community over the years.    Deep South the Bar in many ways has always been about the community, and of course about music. Keeping that music community vibrant is very important to me.   

What are some highlights of the auction? What do you think will be the coveted item?
There’s almost 100 items available so it’s hard to say what might have significant sentimental value to someone. Maybe someone was at the Widespread Panic show in 2011 when they played across the street at Red Hat, so the poster commemorating that night might be important to them.  Or maybe someone grew up listening to The Connells, so the framed photo of their singer signing our walls would be meaningful. Or the setlist from when Aerosmith played Walnut Creek in the 90s. For me, there’s a framed Velvet Elvis that’s pretty cool. It’s an item that actually hung in one of the bars I used to frequent when I was at N.C. State back in the 90s, the 5-0 Cafe on Hillsborough Street. So to someone else, that may look like junk, but to me that one has pretty solid historical significance—particularly as it relates to the dive bar scene in Raleigh.

So, what’s next for you?
The Bar’s parent company, Deep South Entertainment, is as strong as ever, with offices in Raleigh and Nashville. “What’s next” is to keep doing what we’ve always done as a company, but with growth. We will continue managing national recording artists and talent-buying for some of North Carolina’s most notable events. The bar was a very enjoyable part of our company for 11 years, but it has always been just a portion of our company.

As for me personally—I’m looking forward to going to local shows and just enjoying the music. Strangely it was sometimes difficult to really enjoy the show at my own place because my mind would shift into business-owner mode pretty quickly. I would notice a light bulb that’s out, for example, or a paper towel dispenser that needed a refill, or whatever small stuff creeps its way in to daily operations that can take your mind off the music if you’re not careful. I’m looking forward to focusing again on the music. And I’m really looking forward to more family time.