A Raleigh husband-and-wife pair are livening up the Warehouse District with an event space and bar along Union Station’s tracks.
by Catherine Currin | photography by Justin Kase Conder
A Raleigh husband-and-wife pair are livening up the Warehouse District with an event space and bar along Union Station’s tracks. Raleigh natives Rob and Gabie Frantz say a bar was always a pipe dream, but when they found this vacant space, they took the leap. “Our dream came to life when we found this place,” says Gabie Frantz, who previously worked in marketing. “We weren’t actively looking for something, but when we came here, we knew it was perfect.” The name came as naturally as the space itself. The building’s name with the historic registry, Junction West, stuck with the duo. “It was a railroad junction on West Street. It made sense and we just started to refer to the project as Junction West.”
Most recently a nightclub, the historic building has a large room for special events, while the bar and courtyard are the perfect scene to sip one of the many local beers on tap. Before Junction West, Rob Frantz was a brewer at Trophy Brewing Co., and he says he hopes to bring that passion and knowledge to the menu. He’s also a second-level cicerone, a sommelier of beer, ensuring his selections are top notch. “We want to showcase all of the beer Raleigh and the region have to offer. The community of beer in this town is more of a collaboration than a competition,” he says. The beer list is arguably the menu’s focus, and will rotate to accommodate new releases and diversity. There will be Trophy beer on tap and in cans, of course, as well as brews from spots like Crank Arm and R&D. “Our goal is to see Raleigh thrive, and we can do that through beer which is pretty amazing,” says Rob Frantz.
Much like the beer, the details throughout the space are intentional. The Frantzs worked with Nicole Alvarez of Clearscapes to create an environment that’s simple, bright, and welcoming. Seating is abundant inside and out, ready for the next meeting over beers or late night conversation. “We designed this space to be somewhere we would want to go,” says Rob Frantz. Gabie Frantz says conversation was key in this space’s renovation. “We built the bar around conversation. There are acoustic panels built in and natural light, so you can see and hear who you’re with. We want people to hang out and celebrate, no matter what time of day.”
This month, Junction West bar manager Richie Reno mixed one of the joint’s signature cocktails for WALTER. Co-owner Rob Frantz named the cocktails after a few of his favorite song titles. “I love music, and I really wanted to incorporate it into the bar somehow aside from just playing music,” he says. He shared the recipe for Wasted Words, named after a classic by the Allman Brothers.
1.5 oz Boots Vodka, Oaklee Distillery
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz fresh orange juice
Pour over ice
Top with Rosé
Garnish with lemon rind
Mix Boots vodka with lemon and orange juice, then pour over ice. Top with rose and garnish with lemon rind. Serve in
a highball glass.