Support Kevin, owner of the Atomic Fern

The TL/DR:
- We’re a group of regulars who love The Atomic Fern and the vibrant, inclusive community it’s fostered for the last 5 years and don’t want to see it go.
- Kevin (owner of the Fern) found out we set this up and he is super touched and delighted.
- Since it’s been in the news, people have been asking where they can donate to help.
- The answer is Here. This is the place.
- If you've ever stopped for a beer at the Fern or you just want to be a part of helping an iconic Durham establishment stay alive, PLEASE donate whatever you can to HELP SAVE THE FERN!
- Here's how the money will be used:
      $20,000 back rent
      $15,000 future rent (tide us over till we can party together again safely!!!)
         $2,000 back utilities
         $3,000 supplies
      $40,000 to HELP SAVE THE FERN.
- If we reach that goal or get close to it, the Fern has a chance to stay open for all of us to #PartyAtTheFern.
- If we don't get close to the goal, Kevin wants to take these donations and put them right in the hands of other amazing local community spaces like Arcana, 106 Main, and others.

The Long Read:

The Atomic Fern.

At this point you’ve heard about this legendary Durham dive bar. Either from its ranking as the #3 nerdiest bar in America (and Canada) ( or its recent covid-19 related closure, or maybe even about its owner, Kevin Slater’s, recent lawsuit against the state and city to raise awareness of how small businesses have struggled during the pandemic without government support. 

But if you’ve been downtown in Durham after about 9 pm, you’ve probably heard about it in a different way. A hot tip from an attractive stranger about a great place to go and get cheap beer where everyone is welcome. That place where the after party is, where the board games are, where your friend’s friends hang out. In downtown Durham’s quickly moving landscape of high end cocktail bars who cater to everybody with money and nobody in particular and ‘southern fusion BBQ’ restaurants competing to have the fanciest edison bulb chandeliers, The Atomic Fern is unabashedly, enthusiastically, itself. No tvs, just board games and comics. No fancy cocktails, just a shot and a beer for $10. No food, just you and your friends, having a drink and a good conversation. Alongside other great establishments like the Pinhook and Arcana, The Atomic Fern is a part of the special sauce that makes Durham a great place to live, that makes the vibrant downtown scene it’s known for… well, vibrant at all.

If you’ve heard all those things before, I want to tell you what you may not have heard about the Fern: It is so much more than everything I wrote above. It’s a community space bursting with creativity and innovation (who remembers lawn flamingo painting night?). It’s handshake business deals over a glass of whiskey (I got my current job from friends I met there). It’s a grassroots political organizing space (Kevin got me to volunteer as a poll worker in the last election). But most importantly, It’s a community of regulars and acquaintances watching out for each other and for anybody who needs a safe spot to hang their feet for a spell. It’s yours, and mine, and everyone else’s second living room. With booze!

That’s why I’m writing this now, and why the people below have added their names to this document. We’ve gained so much from the Fern over the years: friends, jobs, hobbies, relationships and new starts. Now we want to give back as much as we can and we want YOU to help us!

The Fern is way behind on its rent due to covid-19 closures. They need help to weather this storm. The amount we set for this gofundme campaign is what we believe will be enough for them to pay their back rent and utilities, and to pay rent for the next few months so they can be in a safer spot going forward. Once the campaign ends the money all goes to Kevin to pay whatever bills need to be paid.  We hope that means the landlord will be willing to accept the back rent and everything can go back to normal. But it might mean re-opening the bar in a new location in 2022. An Atomic Fern 2.0 if you will (maybe this time we’ll get outdoor seating!) It could mean something else entirely? In short, we're betting on Kevin to use this money to provide a friendly, cozy, fun space for us all to enjoy in the future. 

Please, PLEASE donate. If you’ve ever benefited from the Fern’s hospitality - had a beer, played a game, made a friend or five - or if you’re just sick of watching covid-19 gut our small businesses and want to be a part of helping to save one of them, please join us and donate. If we can’t make up the difference now, that’s it. The Fern dies, and Durham loses another place that makes it special. Don’t let this beautiful, inclusive, thriving community of genuine, exciting people scatter to the winds.
Please give whatever you can to help keep this beloved downtown Durham establishment going.
If you can’t afford to give money, please tweet out a link to your followers and post about it on facebook. Film a tiktok. Write a letter to your governor (Why not?). Please spread this campaign far and wide!

If we can do it, I'll buy you a beer the next time you make it in. 

Thank you so much for reading, for spreading the word about this gofundme and for donating. We love the Fern and we want it to be there when we’re all allowed out of our houses again, because when the country beats covid-19, you already know where the party is going to be! #PartyAtTheFern

- Matt Everhart

- Emerson Huitt
- Emily Hunt
- Mark McDonough
- Asher Skeen
- Dexter/Lauren Aucoin
- Sid Ratkiewicz
- Ryan Levin
- Will Brinson
- Sarah Schulz
- Ronnie Rozbox
- Aaron Nail
- Hope B
- Anna Cashion
- Jape
- Amanda Edmundson

Fundraising team: Fronds of the Fern (6)

Matt Everhart
Durham, NC
Anne Driscoll
Team member
Emerson Huitt
Team member
Emily Hunt
Team member
Matthew Everhart
Team member
See all

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