The Music Farm has been closed since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Since then, Charleston’s legendary concert venue has undergone massive changes with new management from Charleston Music Hall and major renovations including new floors, sound systems, bar and food from The Royal American.
“It’s a great room and great space, so we asked, ‘What do we need to do to bring it into the 21st century a little bit?’” said bar manager Keon Masters, who also has ties to Charleston’s local music scene as the frontman of indie rock band Brave Baby. “Everyone loves the Farm, but everyone had issues with it, too, whether that was the way you had to order, the lines of the bathroom or the sound or whatever.”
It was announced in January that the Music Farm was slated to open its doors again this weekend — April 15-16 for a two night comeback show with local band SUSTO. Masters, along with John Kenney of The Royal American, another peninsula music venue, are also upgrading the food and drink experience.
“Charles got the nod to finally get his hands on the Farm and take over, and he called me one day and just asked if we wanted to do the food,” Kenney said.
“The same thing we did for the whole space, we did the same in the bar,” Masters said. Everything at the bar practically will be brand new, including new tiled floors, bar top, coolers, draft system and soda guns.
The system to order drinks will be updated, too. The bar will not only be cashless, but the tab system will no longer be in place. “They had a kind of old school system that was great and worked for them for a long time,” Masters said. “But we’re just kind of doing things a little updated. Some people are probably going to hate that, but it is what it is.”
The bar at the Music Farm will have canned drinks, including beers and wines, as well as two cocktails on draft. The James Island Iced Tea is “the best Long Island you’ll ever have,” Masters said. It’s a traditional Long Island iced tea cocktail, but made with all local ingredients and brands. The Tequila Sunburn is like a tequila sunrise, made with dark cherry juice, orange juice, jalapeño simple syrup and of course, tequila.
“I think everyone’s gonna feel very familiar when they walk in, but it’s clearly you know, tee’d up,” Masters said.
While Masters has taken the bar to a new level, the Farm’s kitchen has become a “Royal American Outpost.” The Morrison Drive music venue, bar and restaurant is helming the kitchen for Music Farm’s shows. “I think people have been enjoying our food a lot more and know about it now,” Kenney said. “We feel like we kind of have a food program now and we’re really proud of that.”
“We are doing a stripped-down Royal American menu, but everything will be hand held and packaged to-go because people will be standing up presumably at a venue,” Kenney added. “Instead of doing our magic chicken wings, we’re gonna do magic chicken tenders because it’s easier to eat.” Pretzel bites, chips and queso and gyros are on the menu, too.
“Everyone has their own reason why they probably have or haven’t come back,” Masters said. “But I hope a lot of people’s opinions change once we’re open.”
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