Like most nightclubs in the Raleigh area, the Longbranch requires that you are a member to enter, but don't let that stop you from visiting. Non-members may be sponsored by members, and the members at the door are quick to show off their southern hospitality and sponsor you if need be. If you enter through the main entrance and aren't a country music fan, be prepared for a mild culture shock. The main area of the Longbranch Entertainment Complex is a full-blown country/western bar complete with a live band, pool tables and a dance floor that has plenty of room for two-stepping and line dancing. On certain nights you can enjoy a free dance lesson to help you fit in once the band picks up.
Off to the right, a set of doors leads to Club Extremes. As you step through those doors you feel quite literally as though you've been transported to another place. The country world just behind you is muted by blaring lights and thumping music. For a complex who's bread and butter is country music, they've conquered the Top 40 market really well. The Extremes room has plenty of dance floor, great vibrant music and even its own entrance if the country aspect of it all proves to be too overwhelming for your tastes. While grooving on the Extremes dance floor, you could almost forget you were in a country bar. That is, until you catch a glimpse of a cowboy who's strayed to the other side to enjoy some of the DJ's tunes for awhile.
There are typically few people in the complex's other rooms. If you happen to venture into them, you might understand why. The remaining rooms are not nearly as spectacular as the club's main rooms. So, unless you've got a real hankering for disco music, you'll probably want to stick to the Longbranch or Extremes.
While you could waste your night away in any of downtown's cookie-cutter venues, the Longbranch Entertainment Complex is definitely the place to visit to enjoy Raleigh's nightlife the way the REAL locals do.
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Raleigh, North Carolina
June 13, 2003
From journal Night Life In The Capital City