Posted inFeedback File, Music+Clubs

The Village Tavern shuts down


East Cooper bar and music venue the Village Tavern closed for business on Sat. Jan. 21. Manager John Morlan broke the news to City Paper today. Morlan and talent buyer David Warren took over the Crickentree Village venue in mid-2010 and invested a considerable amount of hard work renovating the kitchen, bar, and live music areas, adding a new stage and PA system. They opened for business on Nov. 18, 2010.

Original owner Trey Lofton opened the Village Tavern in 2002. Through the years, the venue established itself as a hotspot for original live music.

“It was a culmination of factors,” Morlan says of the decision to close. “Business was up down at times, but that’s to be expected with us being in business less than 18 months. It really was a culmination of various business and personal issues that led us to a business asset sale.”

The ongoing construction project along Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in front of the venue discouraged traffic into the shopping center as well. Other businesses and restaurants in the area continue to struggle with the issue.

“It was a fun and interesting year or so,” Morlan adds. “We offered something we thought Charleston would love. We always wanted a place where people could go and get great food, have lots of different beer, and see live music. I thought there were enough sports bars in the world. I feel like we had some great bands play, and there were a ton of little-known but extremely talented musicians that took that stage. The Tavern was important to us for several reasons besides the nostalgia of us going out and seeing live music there in our younger days. We wanted there to be a live music venue east of the Cooper. Even though some complained that we changed the interior, we tried to keep the spirit of the old place, which to me was this place to go see great live music acts. I think we accomplished that.”

Morlan says that there’s already a new owner with plans to reopen the venue under a different name in the near future. Stay tuned.

Posted inMusic+Clubs, Pulse

The Village Tavern shuts down

The Village Tavern officially closed this week. Owner Daniel Drew confirmed the news today.

“We weren’t even breaking even,” Drew says. “I spoke with Kyle [Smoak, the bar manager] on Monday night, and we decided it’s over with. We closed it down.”

Soon after opening for business in Mt. Pleasant’s quaint Crickentree Village shopping center (1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.) in early 2002, the venue quickly established itself as a hotspot for live music in Charleston (a unusual feat for a club outside of the downtown scene). Original owner and booking guy Trey Lofton brought all sorts of local and touring bands to the club — anything from indie rock, bluegrass, punk, metal, and alt-country to hip-hop, and electronica.

In 2007, Drew bought the business and continued to run the place as a restaurant, bar, and live music venue. They served standard bar fare and maintained a large menu of bottled high-gravity imports and microbrewed beers. The band schedule featured several local and touring bands every week.

Business slowed down in recent years, though. The late-night crowds and audiences thinned out. Band bookings and promotion became less consistent. In general, enthusiasm for running the place and hosted live music decreased.

“I was just sick of it,” Drew admits. “I tried to sell it, but nobody was interested. I haven’t even been back in town for three or four months. I’m just cleaning up and getting rid of stuff this week.”

Several visiting and local acts were scheduled to perform this week and through the next few weeks — including Darren Flowers, The Makeshift, The Divide, 28 North, Commends, PelzYeah, The Mumbles, and others. All shows have been canceled.