People gather around the bar and converse as they wait for their drinks Sept. 10th, 2022 at Traxx Bar in Carbondale, Ill. (@Akamai.Films )
People gather around the bar and converse as they wait for their drinks Sept. 10th, 2022 at Traxx Bar in Carbondale, Ill.

@Akamai.Films

Culture Column: Touching base with Traxx

September 19, 2022

Most college towns across the country have bars and nightclubs that allow students to relieve their stress. Whether you just turned in a term paper or completed an exam, the college nightlife is an outlet to let loose and forget about your worries. Carbondale is no different.

On Illinois Street, there are several bars where students congregate while celebrating the weekend, one of those bars is Traxx. 

Bryan Woodruff, co-owner of Traxx, believes that the interior design makes the bar unique. 

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“When you walk-in, it doesn’t look like it’s just a pot. It’s a nice place to try,” Woodruff said.  “We keep the bar clean and try to have friendly staff and good drinks, and there’s a nice atmosphere for people hanging out.”

Traxx’s current location is 610 S. Illinois Ave., and it has been there since 2017. However, the bar has been around since the late ’80s, under the name of Sidetracks. The older bar was located across the street from where Wiseguys pizza currently resides on Main Street. 

When describing the meaning of the bar’s name, Woodruff said, “It used to be called Sidetracks, but everyone called it tracks for short.” 

When it came time to move to a bigger space, the owners wanted to keep the representation of what the old place was but have a new name to highlight its latest iteration. Thus, the name Traxx was born. 

Traxx is open Tuesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night except for Saturdays, when it closes at 3 a.m. 

The bar currently allows patrons aged 19 and older to access the club. However, you must be 21 or older to order drinks at the bar. The bouncers give wristbands to people that are 21 or older. 

In the past, Traxx allowed people who were 18 or older to gain access to the bar. However, the bar decided that 19 or older was a more appropriate age range due to recent fines for underage drinking. 

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“The situation involved one particular person. I’m not going to say much about it, it’s dealt with, but the city council supported us in the matter, Woodruff said.” 

In recent months, however, the city of Carbondale has been buzzing about the emergence of Stix. Stix is another bar located on Illinois Street that is beginning to develop a following with town locals. When asked about Traxx’s stance on Stix being nearby, Woodruff provided an interesting take:

“It’s what the town needs. We need things that help bring students to town and give students something to do,” Woodruff said. 

Woodruff acknowledged it was great being the only popular bar around for a while because it was great for the business financially. Conversely, Woodruff felt that being the only popular bar could be exhausting and hectic. 

“If you go to any place nonstop, you get burned out. So it’s good to have places where you mix it up,” Woodruff said. 

Whenever similar businesses are nearby, the question of longevity will come to the owner’s mind. In Traxx’s case, Woodruff believes the bar will always be around. 

“We made it through COVID, and the business has been going since the late 80’s nonstop,” Woodruff said. 

So, what do the people of Carbondale think about Traxx?

On Google, Roger Powell wrote, “Now that Stix is open, Traxx is slower. However, it’s the place to go if you like a low-key crowd and not that many people.” While Kaitlyn Allen said, “I love going to Traxx! It’s amazing.”

Gabe Hasan wrote, “Traxx is a great bar, cheap drinks and good times!” While Dominic Caracci said, “Best bar in town, fast service, good people and always the best music.”

Staff reporter Mannie Henderson can be reached at [email protected]

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