744-746 Ninth

36.009323, -78.921865

Year built
Construction type
National Register
Building Type
Can you help?
You don't need to know everything, but do you know the architect?
Log in or register and you can edit this.

744-752 Ninth St., 08.29.63
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

746 Ninth St. housed "Overton and Riley" in 1926 - it isn't noted what type of business this was. By 1930, this was the "Little Gift Shop." By the 1940s, 744 Ninth housed Parragon's 5 and 10 cent store, and 746 housed the Quality Clothing Co. (men's wear.) This became Gordon's clothes store by the 1950s.

In the late 1960s, Parragon's closed and became the Franklin Variety Store. This closed by 1975. By 1980, Gordon's had closed and a Domino's Pizza was in 746. By 1985, 744 housed "Soap's" This had become Fields' Laundromat by 1990.

          744-746 Ninth St., 1986 (Duke Chanticleer)

A series of bars and restaurants have been housed in 746 since the late 1990s - someone else can probably do a better job of me at recounting all of them. I seem to remember an attempt at an Irish pub-ish kind of place after the success of James Joyce - Biddy Early's?

The building (both addresses) is owned by Bill Fields, who owns multiple buildings along the strip as well as the forlorn, perpetually abandoned Medical Arts Building and The Eloise and the abandoned apartment building at 604 West Chapel Hill. Yay.

744-746 Ninth St., 04.05.09

Find this spot on a Google Map.



Bill Fields (Guillermo Campos?) seems about as unconcerned about Spanish gender agreement as he does about finding tenants for the Medical Arts building.

This picture excludes the building currently housing "9" or whatever. When I was here in the early '90's, that was the 9th St. Bar and Grill, an institution that served ridiculously greasy fries and the "Big Blue," a cheeseburger with blue cheese all over it.

My understanding is that 746 housed a beauty salon or something before then, but I can't remember it. Around 2000, based on the success of the James Joyce, the same ownership group opened W. B. Yeats in Chapel Hill and a pair of bars between the 9th St. Bar and Grill building and 746. The Bar and Grill space was called "The Kelt" and yes, 746 was "Biddy Early's." These limped along for 2-3 years before folding, after which the whole thing was re-done as a New York gangster-themed bar, with 746 called "Mugshots," and the adjoining back part of 744 called "Bugsy's" or something like that. The whole thing went dark for about a year before the current steakhouse-dance club combo went in.

My understanding is that the whole situtation is completely screwed up by, surprise surprise, Bill Fields being an intransigent ass. The original Biddy Early's/The Kelt owners wanted to (as apparently has everyone else since) take over the laundromat space and make the two spaces a large restaurant. Now, setting aside that restaurants that go into big spaces somehow manage to suck a lot of the time, it would at least unite the street front. In any case, they worked with what they had, and rebuilt the old 9th St. Bar and Grill deck on the back so that it joined the two spaces. Further, and most importantly, they took the open kitchen out of the main floor of the Bar and Grill and put it in the basement under 744. This had the effect of tying the 746 space, which has the far better seating arrangement for a restaurant, to 744, which has the odd long hallway and then open space in the back (because of dear old Mr. Fields and his immovable laundromat). 746 simply can't go it alone as a restaurant, because it has no kitchen of its own. Instead, it's tied at the hip to the difficult to use back of 744.

I've been pleasantly surprised that the Metro/9 combo has held on as long as it has. I suppose the steakhouse concept is pretty safe, and without much competition in the area these days.

I remember the "Metro 8" space housing a tapas place around 2004-05. I ate there once, but can't remember what it was called.

When I was younger Bill Fields was in the business of leasing space to retail tenants and then running them out somehow and keeping their equipment. I remember when I first went down to ninth st there were several businesses in his buildings, a year or two later, the same businesses were there, but he was running them, with the equipment he swindled. Pretty sure this is the case with the laundry. Is the medical arts building the one right against the freeway- man i want to own that place if it is. How in the world has that not been renovated?

I think that Fergus of James Joyce opened a french restaurant in their before it became that restaurant club combo thingy. I met the Metro9 owner recently and she knows whats shes doing- think she was in chapel hill first and moved there. She should have some staying power.

It was called Mugshots for a while, and Devils Den as well I think.

Doesn't Bill own the old Wild Bulls pizza building over on Trent or Fifteenth St as well?

God Bless Bill Fields!

The medical arts building is the structure next to the Durham Freeway on Gregson, left to rot by Bill Fields for nearly 20 years. I wrote about its ongoing dereliction 3 years ago.


The tapas bar that preceded Metro 8 was called Bakus.

There's a long story (that I've read somewhere, can't find it) about Bill Fields Sr and the 9th St. Pizza/Laundry that preceded 9th st grill. It was supposedly a very successful combination of a bar, pizza place and laundromat. Hence the odd parsing of the building. This business was apparently very successful and the story goes that Mr. Fields decided to jack the rent. The owner then lost the lease and Bill took over the bldg and the business, which he then ran into the ground.

Another issue here is that the soapy water is not running into the sanitary sewer as it is supposed to. I've been down that dirt alleyway and seen many gallons of sudsy water.

Add new comment

Log in or register to post comments.