New Brookland Tavern is leaving State Street in West Columbia to make way for renovations of the building. (Photos by Win Hammond/Carolina News and Reporter)
New Brookland Tavern announced last week it would move across the river to Five Points in Columbia, where it will blend better with its surroundings.
New Brookland Tavern’s walls are covered with stickers from touring bands. Previous patrons left carvings in the wooden pillars and benches. The venue primarily hosts primarily punk and metal artists.
The venue sticks out from its daytime State Street neighbors such as The Hideout in WeCo or Breakfast at Ruiz, which offer a calmer yet upbeat atmosphere.
City officials are sad to lose a West Columbia institution, but Mayor Tem Miles said the future of the River District is bright.
“They’re kind of a victim of their own success,” Miles said of New Brookland. “As the music thing has changed, they have needed to bring in larger and larger shows, and there was no way to expand the space on State Street.”
A music venue such as New Brookland may have stuck out from other businesses on State Street, but the city still wants the River District to continue as an entertainment hub.
“You’ll have retail there, you’ll have breakfast places there, you’ll have restaurants and hopefully, we’ll have music return, return to State Street,” city councilman Joseph Dickey said. “The future of that area and the river district is bright.”
Coming changes in the district don’t just include the migration of New Brookland.
The city already has begun reducing the number of lanes on Meeting Street, the district’s main road, for six blocks between Ninth and State streets to encourage and protect pedestrian traffic.
Shrinking Meeting Street from having four lanes to two will help current businesses and encourage new development, Miles said.
“You’re going to see more and more redevelopment activity up along that Meeting Street corridor, up toward Triangle City and the overall revitalization of that area within the next five years,” Miles said.
New Brookland will share a building with The Cotton Gin bar in Five Points near the University of South Carolina, which has more late-night foot traffic.
The site also is surrounded by bars and other businesses with an overlapping customer base.
Across Harden Street is the Bluetile Skateshop. Owner David Toole said he looks forward to New Brookland’s arrival.
“It’s really cool because like-minded businesses are opening downtown, or in Five Points, near us,” Toole said in an interview with WLTX. “I think we will share a lot of the same clientele.”
New Brookland Tavern’s owners are leaving some of the bar’s alternative vibes on State Street.
Their Attic Lounge opened on 134½ State St. above the State Street Pub earlier this month. The Attic Lounge is more of a hang-out spot, with a deck and open-mic events offering acoustic music for its patrons.
It isn’t quite as rowdy as New Brookland, but it’s still a live music presence in what the city hopes to be an even bigger entertainment hub for West Columbia, Dickey said.
Miles’ first experience in the city was going to concerts at New Brookland during his college years in the ’90s, he said. He doesn’t want people to be heartbroken about the tavern’s move.
“We certainly encourage anyone to go support that new business, but particularly folks who are upset or who miss NBT as they prepare to move,” Miles said. “Please come out and support the folks at their new spot.”