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The Horseshoe, 724 Harden Street: Spring 2019   13 comments

Posted at 11:28 pm in closing





The Horseshoe replaced Kildare's Irish Pub in the summer of 2014, and is the most recent of a long line of bars and restaurants in this spot (going back, at least, to Kester's Bamboo House). The building is now for sale, so we will have to see what happens.

According to The State, this place is a casualty of a work to rule enforcement of SC's liquor laws, which has hit a number of college bars in Five Points. It strikes me that it may be a case of killing the golden goose, but the scene had been getting out of hand, sometimes fatally, in recent years.

Written by ted on June 24th, 2019

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13 Responses to 'The Horseshoe, 724 Harden Street: Spring 2019'

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  1. I's getting out of hand around USC and 5 points with the little alcoholics and others running around not paying any attention to what's around them, and then people getting shot and things in part due to trouble makers with nothing better to do. The Vista area is just as bad though. Things never stay the same, and I'm all for what's going on there. Time to clean up that area. I'm sure there'll be quite a few that will disagree with what I say, but that's fine.


    25 Jun 19 at 1:03 pm

  2. 5 Points has gotten worse over the years. And, this is coming from someone who only got here in '99.

    It's my personally held belief things truly went to hell when the first "smoking ban" took effect. *How* is a bouncer or a police officer supposed to intervene (with anything that looks like response time) when he/she can't physically get TO the "guilty parties" for the crowds hanging out on the sidewalks? As regards the gunfire problems, you can lay that at the feet of drugs & gangs. If people (students) weren't there to buy drugs, the gangs wouldn't be there selling. But thank Heaven there's no smoking in bars anymore. /sarc

    The other side of the coin is: why does a bar (allegedly) have to sell food?? Why are the two linked?

    Instead of forcing an otherwise legal business (bar) to engage in something they don't want to do (sell food), why don't The SC Powers That Be rigorously vet & monitor who is getting business and booze licenses?? IF someone has a history of shady business & problems, no license for you! If more business owners had to fear losing their livelihood (or at least losing a cash cow), perhaps you'd get their attention and participation.

    Problem solved - problem staying solved.

    Lone Wolf

    25 Jun 19 at 3:04 pm

  3. I don't think the Vista is as bad as 5 Points by a longshot as Del mentioned, but once they (the riff-raff) are run out of 5 Points, the the Vista will be just the same as 5 Points now. What will the City of Columbia do then? They won't be able to enforce the same rule in the Vista, most of those places serve plenty of food. If you run them out of 5 Points they will have to find another place to go. Do you really want to risk having them come to the Vista and ruin the Vista? Then where will they go? Out to the suburbs, closer to where I live or you live. There won't be a centralized point anymore. Crime will be all over the city on the any given late night/early morning.

    Instead of running them out of 5 Points, find a solution to the problem. Make some arrests. Arrest the owners serving underage drinkers. Fine the underage drinkers. Fine the bartenders who don't check ID's. Arrest people for public intoxication. Enforce a no loitering policy. Place some undercover, underage drinkers throughout several bars EVERY weekend. Hire some college age undercover agents to patrol parking lots and behind buildings. But whatever you do, keep the riff-raff in 1 area, don't spread it all over Columbia. I think it would be better off keeping your resources (police) in 1 area.


    25 Jun 19 at 3:14 pm

  4. @Lone Wolf - I'm with you on the "has to be 51% food sales over alcohol sales", I think it's ridiculous. I was told by someone who worked at Bar Louie's in Sandhills that it closed because it was making more money from alcohol than food. I thought it was a Sandhills rule but later found out its State law.

    I forgot about the smokers having to come outside and smoke when I mentioned the no loitering in my previous post. I don't go to clubs anymore but I am glad to know, if I do, I won't come home smelling like smoke. I think that one law made a lot of businesses lose a lot of money, especially restaurants.

    Kinda off topic here, but I also don't understand why a liquor store can ONLY sell liquor. Why can't they sell drinking accessories or soda? Why can't Walmart sell liquor, it would be so much cheaper.

    SC still has some antiquated laws and still has too many in the State House who just refuse to come into 21st century. 2 things should change, in my opinion. Liquor stores should be able to stay open later. And we should also have Sunday liquor sales. I read yesterday where Millennials are changing the workplace dress code. Well, hopefully, they can run for office and change some laws too.


    25 Jun 19 at 3:29 pm

  5. Sidney, you raise excellent points. From where I am sitting, it seems the break down is enforcement of the laws.

    Problem is, people *aren't* being arrested. Bar owners who serve underage drinkers are given a ticket/slap on the wrist. Underage drinkers themselves get a ticket, which I'd bet mummy & daddy end up paying. Bartenders & bouncers who don't check IDs *do* suffer (if and when they are caught), but the bar just hires people to replace them and the cycle repeats. A no loitering policy will conflict with the "no smoking in bars" thing and telling people they can't just hang out is a sure way to have folks protesting about "harassment".

    I also worry the issues we see will spread other places. Like I said, you propose solutions that WOULD work. Bigger question to me is why aren't these things being done?

    Lone Wolf

    25 Jun 19 at 3:39 pm

  6. This is an excerpt from WIS..

    Harpootlian said there is no such thing as a bar serving liquor by the drink under the state constitution. Instead, the sale of liquor by the drink must be sold by an establishment classified as a hotel or restaurant that’s food options is “primary and substantial.”


    25 Jun 19 at 4:34 pm

  7. In other words...Columbia is full of drunks. People running around everywhere, but you have to have law enforcement to take care of the problem, but with Columbia it makes me wonder just how concerned about this they really are? if any. The Vista is a magnet for trouble..especially Friday and Saturday nights, and more so during USC Football season. But 5 points for the past 35 or 40 years relies a LOT on USC kids to keep them in business. I dont remember it all that well in the early 70's how things were back then, but I bet you didnt have as many problems either as you do now.


    26 Jun 19 at 10:49 pm

  8. I like Lone Wolf's idea of more through vetting for bar owners...I also think that bars should have a way to measure BAC, services to ensure someone can get home safely and I've also had the idea that it should be part of a training to be a bartender to try to detect when someone has had enough...


    26 Jun 19 at 11:25 pm

  9. For one thing, 18 was the legal age, so you didn't have to break the law in the first place, and it was less of a forbidden fruit thing..

    Remember, USC had its own bar.


    26 Jun 19 at 11:27 pm

  10. @Sidney is spot-on that our state has a lot of antiquated laws on our books that are past due to be changed/modified. Our fine state has this odd, schizophrenic mind-set when it comes to the hospitality industry. On one hand, they spend gazillions of dollars advertising inviting people to visit. There's also a growing chorus connected to the industry strongly advocating for liquor sales on Sundays.

    On the other hand, you've got Mr. Harpootlian and folks like him cleaving to this nonsensical "you have to sell food at a bar or we'll close your business" argument. While I'm sure it's on the books, (and should be changed before people start losing jobs & businesses), it hasn't been enforced until the Five Points thing got completely outta hand and a bunch of very wealthy folks became inconvenienced. Hey, I'd raise a stink too if I had to deal with the kind(s) of trouble emanating from Five Points. The point I'm trying to make is: IF one wanted to see some of those bars closed, I'd bet you dollars to donuts you wouldn't have a problem finding other reasons to make that happen, without the whole food sales thing.

    Lone Wolf

    27 Jun 19 at 9:45 am

  11. In my younger/wilder years, I was a Five Points regular. The law about bars having to serve food of some sort also (for drunk folks to eat to soak up alcohol?) has been around for at least twenty years, it just wasn’t really enforced. I frequented a bar called Big Al’s (now CJ’s, or it has possibly changed again), and the place had pizza ovens, receipts and charges listed the place as Big Al’s Pizza, although I never saw them serve any food whatsoever, including pizza. The place was a bar only, basically, and no one cared that there was no food. And the Sunday liquor sales, that is another crazy blue law, still in the Richland County Code of laws that hasn’t been thoroughly updated since somewhere around 1975. The blue laws are basically based on religion, although no one will say that out loud. SC is not very progressive and is trying to stay old-fashioned, which is good for no one. I researched the asinine blue laws thoroughly while in college, to do a speech about them, after being refused when trying to buy fishing bait and a baseball cap on a Sunday morning.


    29 Jun 19 at 10:11 pm

  12. The blue laws are about money too, specifically the amount of tax money that is paid per county. This is why Charleston County and Horry County could sell beer on Sundays many years before Richland County could, tourism tax dollars talked immensely when it can to abiding by the blue laws.


    29 Jun 19 at 10:18 pm

  13. “came to”, not “can to”. Darn fat thumbs. Lol


    29 Jun 19 at 10:19 pm

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