For years, we passed the Faculty Lounge on Huger Street and wondered if it was open. We never saw anyone entering or exiting the space until a few weeks ago, when the Faculty Lounge became one of the most buzzed-about bars in town.
Like Cutty’s, the Elliotborough bar now owned by the D’Allesandro’s crew, Faculty Lounge used to be a key club frequented by members of the city’s African-American community. Cutty’s is now open to the public, but Faculty Lounge will remain a private club for the time being. Luckily, all it takes to become a member is to sign up at the front door and pay $10, which, when we stopped by, got us a free drink and access to member events. Previous members of the club are grandfathered into new membership.
The new owner is Joe Major, who worked for years as a bartender and bar manager before taking over the Lounge. He lived a few doors down from the bar and became a regular before talking to the former owner about reviving the space.
The Faculty Lounge has a long history. According to Major, it served as a watering hole for local African-American teachers in the 1970s and eventually became one of the hottest nightclubs in town. He says it’s where many local musicians cut their teeth. Major hopes to retain the bar’s original character.
“We want to have a bar that’s exclusive to people who supported us from the beginning but also people in the neighborhood,” Major says, noting that he wanted to avoid the popular high-end cocktail club model that’s currently in fashion downtown. “I wanted to keep it in the realm of what it is, a place where you can go, listen to live music … a social club for my generation. Something that’s not necessarily a high-end exclusivity, but at the same point you have a little piece of your own. This is your bar.”
The surprisingly large space features a long bar, a dance floor, and a pool table and video games in the back. The bathrooms are covered in bold Instagram-friendly wallpaper, and the walls are painted with chalkboard paint. Find out more about the bar here.