Walking through the streets of Charleston nearly any night of the week, guitars scream through bar doors and drum sets vibrate the walls. College students in the Charleston area have access to more music than they can fit into their schedules, whether it be shagging at O’Malley’s or listening to a mellow blues band at the Pour House. Music for every taste is always within reach, with popular music venues in Mount Pleasant, James Island and downtown Charleston.
It is difficult to decide the five best places to see live music in the Charleston area. O’Malley’s Bar and Grill, the Charleston Pour House, Johnson’s Pub, Music Farm and the Village Tavern have hosted a smorgasbord of bands so plentiful a horse could not go hungry.
Students crowd O’Malley’s Bar and Grill nearly every weekend for its extensive beer list, full lunch and dinner menu and variety of live, local music. This Irish sports bar and grill at 549 King St. is open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. and hosts bands that keep people dancing until last call.
“You always know when you play here that the crowd is going to be dancing and screaming. Everyone’s always so excited,” said Adam Williams, drummer of Meeting Reid, while he set up his drum set for “Funky Thursdays” at O’Malley’s.
O’Malley’s hosts local favorites such as Zach Deputy, The 5th of 4 and Meeting Reid every weekend. The music ranges from funk to rock and the atmosphere always keeps the crowd dancing and occasionally, shagging. The cover charge at O’Malley’s rarely exceeds $5.
Music-lovers seeking a laid-back venue dedicated to bringing the best bands of the South to Charleston will find their home in the Charleston Pour House. Located at 1977 Maybank Hwy. just over the James Island connector, the Pour House can be easily accessed by students living in West Ashley, James Island and downtown. Hosting bands from Asheville, N.C., to Memphis, Tenn. and beyond, the Pour House’s goal is to bring in bands that will turn the most adamant head-bobber into Michael Jackson. With a platter full of reggae, funk, blues, bluegrass, zydeco and any genre imaginable, one can never go wrong by frequenting the Pour House.
“The Pour House supports all genres of music. We are always looking for the next band to bring to Charleston,” general manager Brad Walker said. “It’s always a full and intimate musical experience here at the Pour House.”
The doors to the Pour House open at 9 p.m., and prices for shows can be found at www.charlestonpourhouse.com .
Johnson’s Pub is another downtown venue, satisfying its customers with a full bar, late-night pizza and enough dancing to burn the calories. The interior has a rustic appeal and if they bring the chalk, customers are welcome to leave their mark on the wall.
“I love Johnson’s,” College of Charleston junior Nicole Krosnowski said. “The band is always good, and I always run into someone I know.”
To Krosnowski, and most people who enjoy Johnson’s Pub, the staff and atmosphere resemble that of Cheers. The bartenders are friendly and attentive and a band most always blares from the middle of the action. Local and regional bands as well as DJs provide music that makes it hard to stop grooving when the clock hits 2 a.m.
Johnson’s is located at 12 Cumberland St. in downtown Charleston and begins serving lunch at 11 a.m., seven days a week. A cover charge of $5 is enforced on weekends.
When searching for a bigger concert or national band without leaving the downtown area, Music Farm is the place to go. Music Farm is one of the largest places for live music downtown and hosts bands so popular it often sells out of tickets. The Wailers, Citizen Cope, Yonder Mountain String Band and Wu-Tang Clan are just a few of the big-names that have recently been through “the Farm.” This venue doesn’t discriminate when it comes to genres of music. Rap and country have both been under its roof in sold-out circumstances. This spacious, newly renovated venue is attractive to all music fans, whether they’re standing at the front of the stage, or enjoying from a balcony above.
“It was so awesome, I’m so glad I went,” freshman Theodore Griffin said after a sold-out Wu-Tang Clan show. “The whole clan was there, and I got Method Man’s shoe!”
At 32 Ann St., Music Farm is just a short distance from King Street nightlife, leaving options for after the show. The doors usually open at 9 p.m. and a schedule of upcoming concerts and prices can be found at www.musicfarm.com .
Avid music enthusiasts should take a visit to the Village Tavern in Mount Pleasant. The Tavern opens at 11 a.m. and serves lunch and dinner every day of the week. It hosts many local and regional rock bands but also provides a hip-hop atmosphere from time to time. The Village Tavern doesn’t close until 2 a.m. and dancers can stay hydrated in style with a selection of more than 100 beers.
For live music, unique beer and classic food, the Village Tavern at 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. is one of the best places in the area. Tickets can be purchased at www.village-tavern.com .
“I love Charleston. There’s always something to do. I can go dance every night of the week if I want,” City Paper intern Alison Sher said.
College of Charleston students never go bored in a town with so many opportunities to bob their head. Music adds spice to any night on the town and with so many great venues and bars, there is never a reason to lose a dollar to the jukebox.