Now Open: Raleigh speakeasy requires a private key to enter

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- If you want to visit Raleigh's newest basement speakeasy, you'll need a membership key to get in.

The Atlantic Lounge, an underground bar, is now open at 620 North Person Street in downtown Raleigh.

Owner Jason Howard, who also owns the popular Cardinal Bar among other downtown Raleigh destinations, says his latest spot wasn't about excluding anyone, but more about keeping it local.

"It's really to give power to the consumer," Howard said. "It's to give you a certain level of ownership. It's your bar. You get to decide who comes in. After a first initial round of keys, you get an invitation and that invitation is for you to invite who you think would like this space. So, essentially, hopefully, at some point everybody in here would get to know each other better and become friends."

The Atlantic Lounge seats 44 so when it is full, there is a 'no vacancy' sign illuminated outside the locked door.

Members pay $40 for a key and can only bring in one guest a night.

There are also rules posted outside the locked door which states 'name dropping carries zero weight here!'

"This is really a classic local bar," Howard said. The Atlantic Lounge doesn't serve food, just small craft cocktails, local beer, and wine.

"You're giving them an experience," he said. "The whole thing, the whole concept should be an experience for everybody."

Howard offered the first memberships to residents in the surrounding Oakwood neighborhood in Raleigh.

The Atlantic Lounge opened quietly on New Year's Eve and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Howard says he is blown away by the response for the new speakeasy.

"Everybody has responded very well to it," Howard said. "Everybody is enjoying themselves. It will it will stay low key, it's a tame bar it's not a party bar. You guys, the members, control the atmosphere with your invitations."

Those interested in an invitation are encouraged to inquire with friends who are members or contact The Atlantic Lounge at or through Instagram @TheAtlanticLounge.
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