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Campus Club South / The Quarter Moon / Swensen's / TW Muldoon's, 900 Main Street: 1980s   16 comments

Posted at 12:33 am in historic,restaurants

Swensen's was a fairly popular restaurant chain in the 1980s. I'm not sure I ever went to the Columbia location (now The Hunter Gatherer) at the corner of Main & College Streets, but almost anywhere we went on a trip, there would be a Swensen's. I know for sure there was one on The Market in Charleston (now an Applebee's, I think) , and we ran into them on class trips to DC and Florida as well. The ad above from the 1985 Southern Bell phonebook has the logo I recall.

Swensen's started in San Francisco as an ice cream stand, but by the time it franchaised and locations hit the Southeast, they were casual dining restaurants (with ice cream, of course) and I think I had burgers there more often than anything frosty. Their fries were a bit unusual in that rather than being longer than they were wide, they were sort of square and waffle-hatched.

According to Wikipedia during the 1990s, the chain shrunk from 400 stores to about 200, and when it started to expand again, it was mostly overseas. I think the Columbia store closed during that wave of shrinkage. The current tenant in the building, The Hunter Gatherer brewpub has left the interior in a rather rough (if interesting) form. I suspect it was somewhat less distinctive as a Swensen's but I could be wrong. I would be interested if anyone can recall whether Swensen's had the main-floor and catwalk layout used by THG.

UPDATE 16 April 2010: Added Campus Club South and TW Muldoons to the post title and identified what year the ad is from. Added The Quarter Moon to title.

Written by ted on April 16th, 2010

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16 Responses to 'Campus Club South / The Quarter Moon / Swensen's / TW Muldoon's, 900 Main Street: 1980s'

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  1. Are you sure Swensens was in the building that HG is in? It was TW Muldoons in the early 1990s.

    ChiefDanGeorge

    16 Apr 10 at 5:15 am

  2. There were several Swensen's in the upstate too. One was next to a Bennigan's in a strip across from the Haywood Mall in Greenville. Both were torn down to build a Barnes & Noble.

    RM

    16 Apr 10 at 7:43 am

  3. The HG building has an interesting history. I remember the Campus Club South at that location in the early 70s. Then it became Swensons and very briefly TW Muldoons before finally becoming the brew pub Hunter Gaitherer.

    bud

    16 Apr 10 at 8:13 am

  4. Yes, when it was Swensen's the upstairs was in place. Swensen's had a very bright interior. Once it became TW Muldoons, it more closely resembled H-G.

    Midnight Rambler

    16 Apr 10 at 8:27 am

  5. This place also spent a short time as a "Firehouse" but I don't think it was related to the Firehouse Subs chain. Maybe a "Firehouse Food and Spirits?"

    badger

    16 Apr 10 at 8:34 am

  6. I'll add TW Muldoons to the post title, and try to find out the exact name of the "firehouse" thing.

    ted

    16 Apr 10 at 1:08 pm

  7. Didn't that building also house a bar/listening room called The Quarter Moon at one point?

    Jim

    16 Apr 10 at 10:10 pm

  8. This place was originally built to be a fire station. We're talking about the kind of fire station where draught horses pulled a wooden-wheeled fire wagon to the fire. When it was the Campus Club South, I seem to remember an old black & white photograph on the mezzanine level next to the office showing the firehouse in operation.

    And yes Jim, The Quarter Moon was Columbia's first true music listening club, and also the first club to occupy this building after The Campus Club South. Of course many clubs back then had bands and people listened to them play, but The Quarter Moon was designed specifically to listen to music from an audiophile perspective. They had this incredible sound system that was installed by audio equipment professionals and tested with a frequency analyzer to be flat by using a really serious graphic equalizer and placing various sound absorbers and reflectors around the room in discreet locations. The sound was phenomenal, and the bands that played there sounded great, but as usual for this town, it seems that phenomenal things scare people away rather than attract them. Go figure! I'm thinking it may have lasted two years at most. I want to say that this was a Doug Goolsby operation, and a call to his office would answer that question. If he didn't own it, I'm sure he would know who did, and probably remember the procession of clubs to occupy this building after the Campus Club South.

    By the way, I still want to know where the Campus Club North, East, and West were.

    Michael Taylor

    16 Apr 10 at 11:36 pm

  9. I think the Campus Club North was in the D.C. area, maybe in a Virgina suburb.

    Beth

    24 Apr 10 at 10:04 pm

  10. Beth is correct. The Campus Club North was up north, not in Columbia. I have a vague recollection that it was a watering hole for students at the University of Maryland.

    bud

    26 Apr 10 at 9:26 am

  11. TW Muldoons was an amazing mess in 1993-1995. They actually used to mark underage patrons hands with an "X" in water-based marker. Consequently there was no need for a fake ID unless you wanted to go over to the CockPit.

    Happy times.

    Brian M

    5 May 10 at 4:46 pm

  12. It's not an Applebee's anymore. Now it is the Noisy Oyster.

    butlerl2

    24 May 10 at 1:33 pm

  13. It's not an Applebee's anymore in Charleston. Now it is the Noisy Oyster.

    butlerl2

    24 May 10 at 1:33 pm

  14. My first bar. From Dreher high school days to USC days. Some times in Campus club I was not even legal. Who cared. Good original rock, beer sold in pitchers, times were good here. I remember a friend of mine got dumped by his girl Angie. He would come in there every night with all the querters he could carry to hear that song on the juke box. They finally changed the music so he had to stop, but times there were good. The whole place smelled like beer. I think they sold hot dogs, smothered in the cheapest chili ever.
    God I want one now.

    Hugh

    16 Dec 10 at 11:48 pm

  15. [...] South Carolina, I managed to worm my way into a non-paying “job” at a place called the Quarter Moon in Columbia. Quarter Moon was a “listening” bar… in other words, the focus was on [...]

  16. I hung out at Campus Club South in the mid 1970s while attending USC. I had my first beer there, something you don't tend to forget. I didn't like that first taste, but I got over it pretty fast, graduated to pitchers in no time. At the time, it seemed to be the hippie bar of the campus area. The spots down in Five Points were already turning to disco, places like Don's. I liked Campus Club South because of all the wood. It had a natural feeling. There was no feeling of pretentiousness to it--just a great place to relax and get smashed when you were supposed to be doing your homework. The jukebox referenced above had great selections. One was Dylan's single "Lay Lady Lay," and folks seemed to play that one a lot. "Eleanore Rigby" by the Beatles was on there, too, and I think I played it nearly every time I went there.

    At one point a shooting occurred in the bar. I wasn't there that night--just heard about it, but don't know the details.

    Mike Pulley

    5 Jul 12 at 2:19 pm

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