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Campus Club South / The Quarter Moon / Swensen's / TW Muldoon's, 900 Main Street: 1980s   31 comments

Posted at 12:33 am in closing

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.

UPDATE 16 October 2023: Here is a story on the history of Swensen's. Apparently the orignal store is still around after the franchaise operation collapsed.

Also adding map icon and updating tags.

Written by ted on April 16th, 2010

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

31 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.


    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.


    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.


    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?"


    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.


    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?


    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.


    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.


    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.


    24 May 10 at 1:33 pm

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


    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.


    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

  17. The Campus Club North was on the University of Maryland. Originally you had to pay a fee of about $10 for a campus club card. I attended USC 69-73 and had one the card was a reciprocal membership card. There was only Campus Club North and South.. no East or West. I was in USC band and when we went on a road trip to play U of Maryland we went to Campus Club North while still in uniform, got a burger an pitcher of beer. PS I still have my Campus Club South Membership Card


    2 Aug 14 at 11:21 pm

  18. In 1979, this building had a brief run as the "Beef Barn."


    19 Aug 14 at 7:42 am

  19. Yes, the HG used to be Swensen's followed by the Firehouse. My mom dated the owner, and I spent many days there eating ice cream and playing the pinball machine upstairs. There were tables upstairs for dining. It was certainly a different aesthetic than what folks will see these days at HG.


    18 Dec 14 at 7:27 pm

  20. Actually, I think it was the owner's son whom my mom dated, and he essentially ran the restaurant for his father. I was only eight at the time, which has been ages ago. It had already converted to the Firehouse at that point (circa 1986). I remember they served sandwiches in red plastic baskets.


    18 Dec 14 at 7:39 pm

  21. Hello all, I am so pleased to read the comments about my father's bar, the Campus Club South. The original Campus Club was located in Foggy Bottom in Washington DC very near the campus of George Washington University. My Dad moved to Columbia, SC and built the Campus Club South (the building itself was already there but he created the unique interior) and it was not only the main place for the Hippie folk but also for the Legislature and just a lot of students in general. Dad, Alvin Conrad Miller, just turned 84 and is still in the restaurant game--he buys and sells restaurant equipment, still working six days a week!
    Regarding the shooting, it was some kind of cap gun that a guy
    was using as a prop--he and his girlfriend were dressed as Bonnie and Clyde. My father paid all the hospital bills and managed to keep the guy out of jail.
    Please if you feel inclined join his FB group, I remember the Campus Club South!

    Elizabeth Miller

    14 Oct 15 at 7:32 am

  22. Oh and he tried starting the Beef Barn but honestly by that point in time, he had virtually lost interest in being club owner. Also just to clarify, he transferred the lease and liquor license to his managers at the DC club and essentially did the same for his managers in South Carolina--which was the Quarter Moon incarnation.
    My memories of the Club are pretty strong. The popcorn machine, being taught to play pinball at a very young age and being looked out for by the bartenders whenever I had the pleasure of visiting the bar off-hours when me and my sisters were children. Also, Dad used to bring the 45s home from the jukebox--my favorite was Take A Walk On the Wild Side!

    Elizabeth Miller

    14 Oct 15 at 7:38 am

  23. I saw Jonathan Edwards (big hit = "Sunshine") at the Quarter Moon (yes, he *did* perform the tune!) and also Luther Grosvenor. Some other shows, too, but those are the only ones where I remember the names. At one point, anyway, I'm pretty sure there was a foosball table on the west side of the building. I'm pretty sure I remember playing foosball over there between sets or something.

    Oh! and someone mentioned the foosball place that was on Main Street on a page about Rosewood businesses, and they called it "Zeke's" but it was spelled Dzik's. And definitely not on Rosewood, but I don't think they meant it was on Rosewood, I think they were just listing old haunts all around town. Anyway, the parking lot for Dzik's was directly opposite 933 Main Street, on the east side of Main, immediately "behind" the capital, and the building that was Dzik's was the south side of that parking lot. When I left Columbia, part of the Dzik's building was the pzza place... was it Godfather's? I can not remember the name, and the Basil Pot (?)(the Basil something) next door was also part of old Dzik's. I was in Dzik's once, underage, and it was foosball heaven. They had what must have been easily 25 or 30 foosball tables in there. Rene Pierre, for anyone who cares.


    16 Jun 16 at 1:11 am

  24. I used to frequent the Quarter Moon in the late 70's. They featured a lot of great acoustic performers and the sound was great. I too saw Jonathan Edwards, Doc & Merle Watson, The Dillard's, Mike Cross, Rob Crosby, Gove Scrivenor, etc.

    Don Allain

    23 Aug 17 at 2:06 pm

  25. Ah the Campus Club....I have some awesome memories from freshman year at USC. I ran into an old high school friend here on dollar pitcher night. I got so drunk I did not know up from down or left from right. Luckily I lived on the Horseshoe, but have no idea how I made it back. My roomate was playing The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions LP when I got back. The room was spinning and Wolf was growling. I managed to throw up from my room all the way down the hall to the bathroom. My friends put me in the shower with all my clothes on. For the rest of the year they called me "Wolfie". Good times.


    7 Sep 17 at 6:24 pm

  26. Ah, the Campus Club!
    What more could you want? ( besides Don's, Slaggers, Twilight Lounge, the Other Place, the Hole in the Wall, the CrowBar, the Copper Door/Tarurus Club, and many other fine drinking establishments).
    I started USC and my brother got me a job with Campus Security called Night Patrol, a group of students with walkie-talkies walking the campus as extended eyes and ears for the Campus Police.
    The perks were two-fold:
    one was the half-price Burger King card to be used next door ONLY while on duty! Ha!
    the other was to make nightly rounds at the Campus Club and stay as long as possible playing foosball. Cowboy, Al Cannon, Rick Champe, Tony Martin, Bob Hill, and so many others had their nightly quarters up and that vintage Rene Pierre bluetop.
    The cage:
    going out the back to the right was that small space called the cage that always had roaches up in the top around the rim.
    If that wasn't sufficient, happy hour was a regular meeting place, whether you had some green or you went across the street during the day to give blood for ten bucks and started buying pitchers!
    Well, my routine was to check in with Night Patrol, then pass my walkie-talkie to one of the guys behing the bar and start playing foosball. Some of you might remember a great guy named Bunky who used to work, serve and do alittle cooking their. On the great wonderful evening, I just happened to see him at a table next to the foosball machine, wasted and talking major SMACK to the person on the other end of the W-T.
    That person just happened to be the Campus Police Chief and ordered all units to the McKissick Library!
    It didn't take long to figure out who the sorry unit was that had been doing the trash talking! Fired on the spot!
    Lastly, during the Streaking Craze, I remember that Todd Rundgren ran with the group out of the dorm across from the Russell House and ended up at the Campus Club. Fun night of partying with a superstar that night.
    I had permission to park my 1973 Honda 500 right outside the side door next to the blue phone booth that used to be a lifeline to so many people.
    Thanks for letting me post.
    Dr. Charles Stanley Texas/Dallas Morales
    USC 1973-1984 (to get a four-year degree!)

    Dallas Morales

    10 Apr 18 at 11:31 pm

  27. Dallas "Sax" Morales. Good post. And a good memory after all these years. The Rundgren concert with Utopia before the streaking was awesome.

    Joe Shlabotnik

    11 Apr 18 at 3:57 am

  28. Quarter Moon was a great place for those that really were into the music. Can only remember seeing Richie Havens and Riders in the Sky, both fine concerts. Know there were others I went to, but my memory is hazy.

    Jim Little

    18 May 20 at 8:11 pm

  29. I remember a place with some iteration of the name Firehouse briefly replaced Swensen's sometime in the late 1980s, then was itself replaced by TW Muldoon's. The Firehouse name was an homage to the building's original use, and it was stripped back to a more rustic look, like H-G today. The greatest claim to fame for it and Muldoon's was that Hootie and the Blowfish played there frequently. Two dollar cover and $1.25 longnecks to be able to say "I saw them when."

    RJ Sacbuoy

    26 Jul 22 at 7:48 am

  30. I was a townie and Campus Club was my favorite hang out. The beer was cold and you could get your high school girlfriends in with no trouble. The band I remember playing most was Speed Limit 35. I can remember going up stairs and smoking in the office when the owner was out. It was an everything goes kind of place. I still have my membership card in case it opens back up.

    Frank Huddleston

    29 Mar 23 at 11:49 pm

  31. Send a picture of it to closings at columbia closings dto com and I'll add it to the post!


    30 Mar 23 at 12:29 am

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