West Columbia rock dive to open lounge space on State Street

Posted 5/2/23

New Brookland Tavern, Lexington County’s oldest continuously running music club, will soon open a sister venue just a couple doors down from its home in West Columbia.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

West Columbia rock dive to open lounge space on State Street


New Brookland Tavern, Lexington County’s oldest continuously running music club, will soon open a sister venue just a couple doors down from its home in West Columbia.

The perennial rock dive’s Mike Lyons and Carlin Thompson are among the investors in The Attic Lounge, which is taking up residence in the upstairs space at 134 1/2 State St. 

The space previously housed the comedy-dominated Red Door Tavern before becoming home to tobacco haven The Cigar Box, which shuttered in April 2020. It most recently housed Gov. Henry McMaster’s campaign office during his 2022 re-election bid.

Offering a tour of the space a little more than two weeks before its first show, set for May 12, Thompson, who serves as a booker and sound engineer at New Brookland, pointed out taped-off spots where a cozy corner stage, a long bar and a small kitchen are slated to be built in what is currently a large room with rough-hewn columns running down the center.

The owners are approaching the new space with equal parts haste and patience.

The haste came when Justin Osborne, leader of the popular Asheville-via-Charleston folk-rock band SUSTO, asked to bring through another one of his solo tours on June 1, but the club was already booked. The New Brookland team had already been looking at the Attic space but had yet to pull the trigger, so when a guaranteed sellout that would help out one of their friends came across their radar, they decided the time was right.

“We have such a long relationship with Justin, like, ‘We can't stop doing another show, right?’” Thompson said.

The patience comes from the main driver in New Brookland looking at the space: It needed a green room.

Thompson explained that many of the touring bands the club looks to book expect to have a space where they can enjoy some peace and quiet away from the crowded bar. One of the club’s small back rooms will be used for this purpose.

“There's so many other venues within, like, an hour or so driving distance that have all that stuff,” he said.

Thompson explained that while New Brookland has been able to compensate by being more lenient on mosh pits and stage diving than some venues (attractive to some metal/punk-leaning bands), not charging a percentage of merch sales (like many venues do) and trying to cut booking agents the best deals they possibly can, it still goes a long way to provide a green room space.

He pointed to the recent example of Copeland, one of the first touring rock bands to take advantage of the new green room option, and how much they appreciated being able to get up and away from the heat and humanity.

As to the lounge itself, Thompson said the idea is for it to be a varied, catch-all kind of hangout spot. It will host small concerts and other events, such as comedy or perhaps yoga on the large deck out back, but that will mostly be on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Once it gets fully up and running, it will keep regular hours (something like 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thompson speculated) and feature tapas-style food, beer and wine alongside higher-end liquor, along with an emphasis on non-alcoholic options including coffee and tea and perhaps mocktails and kombucha. 

There are also plans to add a merch area where local musicians can sell their wares, and Thompson mentioned that The Cigar Box’s old walk-in humidor may be used as a game room.

“A lot of it is definitely going to be like the opposite of New Brookland,” Thompson said, emphasizing how The Attic will look to stand out from the neighborhood with its casual lounge atmosphere.

“People from the apartments [across the street] that come by, they want to just have a beer, we mostly have a show going on at New Brookland that they don’t want to be a part of. Can’t go to State Street [Pub] because they can’t get a membership. D’s Wings is crowded and loud and sometimes not the crowd they want to be around.”

The timing for when the new space will be fully operational is unclear. As of last week, the liquor license was still up in the air, and the build-out will take time. 

But Thompson said they are content to slowly introduce themselves to the neighborhood, likely hosting some visual artists and letting people come in and see the space during West Columbia’s annual Art on State festival Friday, May 5.

And there will be shows, regardless of whether the stage is there yet, with local band The Ben Walkers set to headline a three-band bill on May 12 before Osborne plays on June 1.

“I think what we’re looking at doing is starting slow,” Thompson said. “Just to put the idea out there to people, like, ‘Hey, we’re about to start doing stuff up here.’”

new brookland tavern, west columbia bar, the attic lounge, lexington county music venue, columbia concerts


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here