Recent Comments

Recent Posts




Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s   5 comments

Posted at 1:00 am in closing






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---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.


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.


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

UPDATE 8 September 2021: Add map icon, update tags.

UPDATE 4 March 2022: I should probably add a link here to the final(?) fate of the Coronet building: Anyday Inn.

5 Responses to 'Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s'.

  1. I never ate there, but I remember hearing people driving from all over Richland County to eat there and almost everyone raved about the food.


    17 Oct 14 at 11:28 am

  2. Also, if I'm remembering correctly, Bright Stevenson was the owner of "Bright's" restaurant, an all-night 'Waffle House' kind of restaurant somewhere near the current Zaxby's near Richland Mall. It was there until either the late 80s or early 90s. After they closed, they opened a different restaurant called "Southern Connection" or something like that in the Leesburg Plaza, in the location currently housing "Pizza Palace."


    18 Oct 14 at 3:06 pm

  3. Bright's son Jimmy owns "Southern Way Catering".


    18 Oct 14 at 5:37 pm

  4. Our Brookland Cayce Class of '69 is planning our 50th reunion and it started me thinking about my senior prom. It was a double-date for dinner to the Circus Room. The dining area was located under a very colorful smaller version of a "big-top" tent. We were 18 and were legally offered cocktails before dinner. So funny because none of us knew how or what to order. There was a small combo band with a female soloist...I think it was Maisie Bissell but not sure. Food and service was excellent but my date? Not so much! I might add dinner was THE best part of my prom experience!


    18 Jun 18 at 7:21 pm

  5. While stationed at Shaw AFB I worked at the Circus Room as a waiter for a few months. The food was great, the place was spotless and the staff worked as if they owned the place which I found refreshing. I grew up in Miami and I can attest that there was a standard of excellence that surpassed some of the biggest hotels on Miami Beach if no some of the better restaurants. We even had white linen on our sleves when serving the customers. First class all the way.

Leave a Reply


Recently Updated Posts