The Bird Dog is being renovated. Its iconic hunting decor will be replaced with Gamecock sports memorabilia. (Photos by Riley Edenbeck/Carolina News and Reporter)

Don’t shed a tear over the loss of the infamous bras hanging from the deer heads. It’s time for the hunting theme to go.

The popular Five Points bar The Bird Dog is being renovated to become “Touchdowns” with a new theme and menu. 

USC alumnus and The Bird Dog manager Thomas Dugas started working in Five Points as an undergraduate student in 2013. He picked up shifts at Jake’s and Salty Nut Cafe and later managed both The Bird Dog and Cotton Gin until it became New Brookland Tavern music hall in 2023. 

After the West Columbia music venue moved to Five Points, Dugas took his staff back to The Bird Dog and resumed managing the bar. He likes and wants to maintain its extensive list of shots and staple status in Columbia but said he felt it was missing his personal touch as a USC grad. 

Dugas, now the owner, decided to revamp the location after its liquor license was close to expiring. He would’ve had to change the location’s name regardless to keep operating there, so he took the opportunity to make it a sports bar.

He said he has tried to pull things he liked from other Five Points bars he has worked in and incorporate them into his goals for Touchdowns. 

The bar’s interior will be saying goodbye to its well-known hunting theme, including its iconic deer busts with bras hanging off their antlers. Dugas said bar-goers now will be surrounded with Gamecock sports mementos. The exterior already boasts a new Gamecock bust logo.

His returning staff includes Daryl Richardson, who has worked with Dugas for many years after transferring to USC in 2017 and is now the assistant general manager at Touchdowns. 

“Being a South Carolina alumni myself, I would love for the student body to think of Touchdowns as a place that they can watch Gamecock sports and just know that the business and the staff are heavily involved in supporting the Gamecocks,” Dugas said. 

Richardson said he’s excited for the upcoming football season after the bar added six new TVs for 360-degree viewing.

“With Thomas and I being graduates of USC and being familiar with the campus culture, we can make Touchdowns a staple of Columbia culture,” Richardson said. 

The Bird Dog had a kitchen and offered a food menu, but Dugas said he’s looking forward to making food more of a focus. Dugas said he plans to add more interior seating, expand the menu and keep the kitchen open until last call. The new menu will be Philly-inspired, according to Richardson. 

Five Points businessman Richard Burts, who has owned and worked with bars in the neighborhood for decades, said he appreciates this effort.

“I am cool with hospitality,” Burts said. “I love the energy … I am a believer that you (should) have balance to your hospitality and that you make an effort at selling food.” 

Richardson said he’s looking forward to bringing new life to the neighborhood. 

“Five Points hasn’t had as many students going out in the area as it did in the past, so we hope to bring more attention to the area and help (it) expand more,” Richardson said. 

Dugas said the bar being closed weekly Monday through Wednesday will make the transition as seamless as possible, allowing the team to renovate the interior without needing to close for an extended time. 

Burts said he wants “good operators” in Five Points that seek to protect young students who go there to enjoy themselves.

He went through college at USC and so did his sons, he said, and hopes that people are looking out for them. 

“I’m happy that the guy who’s opening here is the one that was running Cotton Gin,” Burts said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things. … I hope (they) do a fantastic job.” 

Although the transition will be completed beforehand, the bar will have a grand reopening event in August when students return to campus. 

The exterior of The Bird Dog shows a new logo. 

Touchdowns is closed Monday through Wednesday, allowing time for the team to renovate.