West Ashley pub The Map Room has survived the first (and worst) few obstacles a restaurant/music venue can face and successfully hit the one-year mark. They celebrated last weekend with a two-evening party with live music from the Detroit Cobras and local bands.
At the helm of the booking and music production end of things have been manager Ryan Brown, main sound guy/booker Adam Davidson, and co-owner Mike Scoggan.
“As far as the music goes, how hit-or-miss things can be with the agencies and bands has been the biggest surprise,” says co-owner, bar manager, and main booking guy Brown, 30. “The local bands have been great and we’ve tried hard to book a real variety of styles.”
The place opened up in the renovated space (formerly used by Johnson & Wales) in the Village Square Shopping Center, right in the middle of the commercial commotion on Sam Ritt in West Ashley. The plush couches, dark wood floors, Venetian blinds, and rows of dining room tables and booths gave it a sort of semi-upscale vibe. Noticeably missing were the multitude of TV screens that usually cover the walls and crannies of most West Ashley bars. But the Map Room wasn’t trying to be the next sports bar on the block; they were trying to present a nice, comfortable place to get a well-poured drink, a nicely-made meal, and an earful of music.
The place has consistently booked live bands three to four nights a week – mostly authentic blues bands, indie rockers, college radio acts on tour, Top-40 groups, and acoustic acts.
“I’d never booked before, so I was kinda shootin’ blind at first,” says Brown. “It was tough to get established. Most agencies won’t take you seriously until you been around for at least a year. But things started happening and, with some shows, it was like striking gold.” –T. Ballard Lesemann