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Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s   3 comments

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I probably should remember seeing this place more, as we drove past it on the way to the beach innumerable times while I was growing up. However, I always had my nose in a book, so I was only vaguely aware of the name Circus Room and couldn't have told you where it was. Or, for that matter, *what* it was. At this remove, my understanding is that The Circus Room was actually a circus style tent set up on the grounds of the Coronet Inn at the intersection of US-601 & US-378 in Eastover, and that the tent hosted a restaurant and nightclub. Even in these days of the metro area creeping ever outwards, this is a pretty rural area, and back in the day it must have been even stranger to find a well regarded hotspot here.

What was the attraction? Google pulls up this hint from the 2006 cookbook Cookin' with Cocky II: More Than Just a Cookbook:

Bright Stevenson:

I first met Bright in the Fall of 1956. Bright owned the Coronet Motel and Circus Room nightclub in Eastover. The Circus Room had the finest food and the only mixed drinks in the Columbia area at that time.

The two ads above are from the Sumter Register in 1974 and 1976 respectively.

Amazingly, both Coronet motels still exist and still are in operation, although under different names and ownership. The Eastover location is currently an Anyday Inn and is now combined with a convenience store run in the old office.

The topic has come up in Have Your Say from time to time, and here is what some people have recalled:


The Circus Room was in the old Coronet Motel near Eastover which I think was somehow related to the motel with the same name on North Main. I know they used to advertise a lot on the radio and had quite a business at one time. I drove out to Eastover a few weeks ago and what was the Circus Room was a seedy convenience store in a no tell motel.

Tom


Tom---You are right. One thing about the Circus Room was that it featured USDA "Prime" steaks which is a rarity even for today. You could call in the morning and they'd marinate your steak all day for you. I live in Kansas now which is beef country and know of only one steakhouse type place out here where you can get USDA prime beef. John.

John Merrell


I had forgotten all about the Circus Room. This was one of a few out-in-the-boondocks restaurants where we would eat on occasion when my father felt like driving out into the country (circa 1965-68). I remember the food being pretty good and it having a totally unpretentious atmosphere, but that was when gas was 25¢ a gallon, and it was easy to justify such a long trip for a good steak. I'm sure if the Circus Room had been a couple of miles down Trenholm Road, that would have been where we would have visited most often when we ate out, which at that time was once, maybe twice a month. Ancient and forgotten fond memories, thanks John.

Michael Taylor


The Circus room is still back there, but the entire back part of the motel is living quarters for the people who run it. The woman told me they took the tent down when they moved in.

She also said the guy who built the motel back in the fifties still drops into the convenience store every day.

jamie


Coronet Motel w/ Circus Room restaurant. Actually, that was out where US 601 intersects Sumter Hwy., but the restaurant was so good that folks used to drive from Columbia all the way out to Eastover to eat there. Bright Stevenson Jr owned it. His dad owned the Coronet Motel up out North Main St., going toward Blythewood.

Sid

UPDATE 24 October 2014: Added Yellow Pages graphic from the 1970 Southern Bell phonebook.

Written by ted on October 17th, 2014

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Sharky's, 636 Harden Street: Fall 2014   no comments

Posted at 11:09 pm in nightclub

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Commenter Midnight Rambler asks

Is Sharky's in Five Points now Latitude 22?

And the answer seems to be: Yes.

Sharky's web site is gone, and we have this note on instagram.

As I recall, I only went into Sharky's once, during that period in the 90s when I was trying to sample every credible pizza in Columiba. At that time, Sharky's was trying to brand as a restaurant as much as a bar, but my father and I still left rather unimpressed.

Note that Sharky's Too is a seperate business (apparently the former Rafter's club) and is still open.

(Hat tip to Midnight Rambler)

Written by ted on September 23rd, 2014

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Tavern On Greene, 2002 Greene Street Suite D: September 2014   no comments

Posted at 11:16 pm in nightclub

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It's always good when a place has time to plan and leave a thank-you to the customers before closing shop, as Tavern On Greene has done. Of course the phrasing does lend itself to certain very old punchlines, but it's a nice touch.

This place is slightly up the hill from Papa Jazz and just below Blue Cactus. It's a part of Greene Street without much parking, as I noted when I had to park a block away to take these pictures. Of course if you're walking into Five Points from campus it's one of the first spots you hit, so perhaps that evens out.

(Hat tip to commenter Midnight Rambler)

Written by ted on September 11th, 2014

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Kildare's Irish Pub, 724 Harden Street: Summer 2014   no comments

Posted at 11:24 pm in nightclub

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Commenter badger suggested that Kildare's on Harden Street might be closed, and that does in fact seem to be the case. Looking through the windows, there is a bit of dishevelment inside, with plywood up in one window and checking the roofline shows under-panels missing along the front.

Nothing has seemed to stick in this spot since it was re-purposed from a series of Chinese restaurants to bar use.

(Hat tip to commenter badger)

Written by ted on August 21st, 2014

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The Pour House, 800 Harden Street: June 2014 (temporary)   1 comment

Posted at 11:12 pm in nightclub

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Commenter MikeJ points out that The Pour House in Five Points has been closed since June, though it is scheduled to re-open soon.

I suppose it's been The Pour House for quite a while now, but to me this spot will always be Frank's Hotdogs.
(Hat tip to commenter MikeJ)

Written by ted on August 11th, 2014

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Club Twist, 805 Harden Street: Late May 2014   3 comments

Posted at 11:00 pm in nightclub

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According to The State, Club Twist, which was essentially the latest incarnation of the troubled The Library nightclub closed for good in late May. The club had been seen as a magnet for trouble in recent years, and the Richland County Sheriff's office had long taken a dim view of it. Curently the space is mostly empty and for rent.

Written by ted on July 1st, 2014

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Pure Ultra Lounge & Gullah Bistro, 14 Berryhill Road: February 2014   20 comments

Posted at 11:55 pm in nightclub

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Personally, I'm still not exactly sure what an Ultra Lounge is, and how that is different from a nightclub, but Pure, in this much re-purposed modernistic building on Berryhill Road was one, though it is one no more.

If you look closely in front of the door in one of the shots, you can see a bag with the 2014 phonebooks. Like trying to determine which issue of The Free Times is in the rack in a closed establishment, unclaimed phonebooks are another timing clue. In this case we have further evidence however in the fight poster which touts a 22 February match. Given all that, I'd put the date in early February 2014. I have to say though, that the place looks pretty decrepit for having been open that recently. The dress-code posters, for example, have already faded into illegibility. (Interestingly, the last time they tweeted was 2010).

(Hat tip to commenter)

Written by ted on June 24th, 2014

C & V's Sports Cafe / Element, 201 Columbia Mall Boulevard Suite 221: 2012   9 comments

Posted at 10:13 pm in nightclub,restaurants

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At one time this corner storefrong in Capitol Centre was one of my favorite restaurants Cucos Mexican Cafe. I believe it's been more since then than the two businesses I currently have on the post title, C & V's Sports Cafe and Elements, but that's all that google is coming up with for me now.

Anyway, I noticed on my last drive through that it is empty again, and is due shortly to become a Bingo hall.

Grashopper Club / Legion Hut / Vet's Hall, 3001 Bluff Road (@ Gills Creek): circa 2007   13 comments

Posted at 11:05 pm in nightclub

This delapidated bar is on Bluff Road just south of I-77 on the banks of Gills Creek next to the old Diamonds strip club. The whole area has had a lot of recent land clearing, and since I took these pictures, a real-estate sign has been put up on the property.

I didn't see any street number on the building and so wasn't able to google it to see exactly what it had been. I suspect that if I had gone in, some of the notices on the door or something else inside might have given me a clue, but from the state of the place I figured I would need a hard hat and steel toed shoes to be comfortable doing that.

Some of the bar fixtures and chairs are still in there, but the stuffed animals are something of a puzzle.

UPDATE 29 April 2014 -- I've updated the post title from "Bar" to "Grasshopper Club / Legion Hut / Vet's Hall".

Also, commenter BJ sends in this Vet's Hall playbill:

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Now, there is not a year listed, but we know that 30 March fell on Friday in 2007, and that "Burns Out Bright" apparently debuted in 2004 and "Skull Baby" debuted in 2003, so I'm saying this has to be 30 March 2007 and not 30 March 2001 or 30 March 1990. Therefore, I'm updating the closing date to "circa 2007".

UPDATE 21 August 2014 -- This place is not long for the world, as a demolition order has been posted. Interestingly, given that we never came to a firm conclusion about the address of this place, the order gives it as 3001 Bluff Road, so that is what I am updating the post title to:

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Photosets:

26 January 2014

Written by ted on April 22nd, 2014

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The New South Music Hall / Columbia East Theaters, 7351 Garners Ferry Road: late 1980s   16 comments

Posted at 11:30 pm in business,entertainment,nightclub,venue

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I really can't remember the Columbia East Theaters. I think their heyday was when I was living in Fayetteville, and when I came home during that period, I had plenty of go-to theaters closer than these. Various commenters have described how they started out as a twin theater, later expanded to a quad-plex and ended life as a $0.99 cent venue.

Commenter Dennis mentions that the building pre-existed the theaters and was once The New South Music Hall, a live music club.

Currently the building, and surrounding defunct shopping plaza, is part of the Word Of God Ministries, a church which has also rehabilitated the old Intersection Center / Sam Solomon plaza on Diamond Lane.

7351 Garners Ferry Road is an approximate address, taken from a listing for former plaza business The Talk Of The Town Hair Gallery.

(Hat tip to commenter Brent Carter)

Written by ted on March 17th, 2014

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