It’s SPRING! That time of year when Downtown erupts into a riot of color as trees & flowers bloom and people venture out after a long winter, eager to don their shorts & flip-flops and enjoy all that Downtown has to offer. Spring also signals the return of two of Downtown’s most beloved music events – Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays.

Music lovers of all ages are encouraged to gather at NOMA Square (in front of The Hyatt) every Thursday at 5:30PM to experience some of the best musical talent the Southeast has to offer! The 2013 season of Downtown Alive kicks off the first official day of Spring (March 21st), with the 8 piece guitar driven southern funk rock of TJ Lazer & the New Detriots. The March lineup also features Orangeburg country crooner, Brad Jennings on the 28th. April not only spotlights some sweet bluegrass from local favorites, The Piedmont Boys, but also features a trio of acts from the Charleston area like Downtown regulars, Stereo Reform and The Tarletons, as well as a newcomer to DTA, Brave Baby. May does not disappoint with a plethora of rock, soul & Americana to choose from in the homegrown music of Mark Webb, Old You, Lyric and The Soul feathers…not to mention a kilt-flaring Scottish ceildh with The City of Greenville Pipes & Drums and the Celtic rock of Cleghorn to kick-off the Greenville Scottish Games on the 23rd! As the temps heat up, so does the music with June performances by cover band, The Sound Committee, local YouTube darlings, Outshyne, Downtown funk diva, Kelly Jo Connect and local fave, singer/songwriter Doug McCormick. Don’t let the steamy July & August weather keep you indoors…or you will miss some AMAZING music, like alternative tunes of The Wheresville Project, Charleston-based songwriter, Luke Cunningham, and Downtown music scene regular, Benton Blount in July and Midlands newcomers, The Reggie Sullivan Band, the adventure of Bushfire Stankgrass, the big ’80’s hair, flashback fun of Retro Vertigo and the incendiary guitar finesse of teen phenom, Marcus King & his band! Downtown Alive winds up with a performance by the winner of the Last Band Standing Battle of the Bands on the 29th.

If your taste in music leans more towards hot jazz and cool blues, then Main Street Fridays is the event for you! Join all the other music aficionados on Fridays at 5:30PM in NOMA Square to start your weekend in style! This year’s Friday musicfest begins with the powerhouse beach sounds of Jumpstreet on March 22nd. Also in March, enjoy the smooth sounds of Charlotte natives, 5th and York. April plays host to some familiar favorites such as True Blues and Wanda Johnson, as well as some new sounds on the Downtown music scene such as Soul Stew and Hot As A Pepper. Fridays get funky in May with a wealth of righteous local talent – Southern Crescent, Green Vegas, The Jamie Wright Experience, Wine Down and The Groove Planet with Whitney Walters. Hot temps equal hot tunes and there is plenty of both this summer with The Flashbacks, Shades of Brown, The Nightcrawlers and The Swingin’ Richards appearing in June, and The Derrick Dorsey Band, NuSound, 20 Point Turn and Cosmic getting July all hot & bothered. August starts to really rockin’ with The Robbie Ducey Band, Tobacco Road and The Rock & Roll Reunion and The Craig Sorrells Project and The Wiredogs bring on the heat to finish out the month. This much good music can’t just be contained in two seasons, so MSF continues the music experience into September with the wicked swamp rock of the Palmetto Swamp Congregation, the energetic showmanship of Encore, the scaulding hot funky rhythms of Earsight and the wild ride that is The China Bulls finishing up the MSF season with a bang!

These much loved music series’ are completely free and are enjoyed weekly by thousands of music lovers. Beer and other beverages are available for sale, but an ID bracelet as proof of age(for a cost of $1) is required to purchase alcohol. And like most city-sponsored events, families are welcome, but please leave your pets at home. For more information on these events, visit the official city page at See you Downtown!


This is the week that I find myself craving that perfectly poured Guinness. And not poured by just anyone, but by a curly-haired bartender with a gleam in his eye, an adorable accent and a name like Sean or Declan. If you find yourself looking for more “grown-up” festivities for St. Patrick’s Day, then look no further than Downtown Greenville, where there is music and merriment and St. Paddy’s parties abound!

Want to immerse yourself completely in the Irish beverage experience, but unsure of which one to try? Then let The Greenville Beer Exchange tutor you on that subject. As part of their weekly free beer tastings, GBX will be introducing beer lovers to all the wonderful beers, ales and stouts that hail from the Emerald Isle this Thursday, the 14th. The tasting begins at 5PM and continues until 7PM. Like some of the beer you’ve sampled? Then you may want to take home a growler of your favorite to share with your friends (or keep all to yourself)! For more info, visit

On Friday, March 15th, Sharkey’s Pub asks “Who’s Your Paddy?” This ever-popular, annual Bar Bus Tour will visit at least 6 of Greenville’s friendliest drinking establishments (and maybe more) to allow revelers to celebrate St. Paddy’s in style! Festivities start at 6:15PM at Sharkey’s Pub and the bus rolls out from there. This pub crawl includes t-shirts and door prizes that’ll have you dancing an Irish jig (or if that doesn’t, the drink specials certainly will)! The cost is $20 in advance / $25 the day of the pub crawl. To register and for details, visit

Saturday, March 16th, will see a plethora of St. Patrick’s parties taking place Downtown. Wild Wing Café invites you to revisit the ‘80’s with everyone’s favorite flashback band, Retro Vertigo! With a play list that is certain include everything from Van Morrison to U2, you can find yourself transported back to the time of Bono’s “uber-mullet”. For info, call 242-9453. The Velo Fellow celebrates Ireland’s patron saint with drink specials on Murphy’s Irish Stout and Irish Car Bombs, a wondrous thing called “Pudding Shots” for $1 and an Irish-themed menu that includes such amazing food items as Irish nachos and corned beef plates. Top that off with a musical performance by local bluegrass band, BearWallow, and you have a celebration that even St. Pat himself would enjoy! For details, call 242-9296. Chicora Alley’s festivities are not only a nod to Greenville’s Celtic roots, but a birthday bash for two of her favorite local musicians, Jef Chandler and Jeff Buchanan, as well! Jef & Jeff, together with fellow musician, Brian Buffalo, invite you to don your green apparel and join them for all the fun! Call 232-4100 to find out more.

Not Downtown, but nearby, are two excellent pubs in which to raise a pint to toast the Emerald Isle. The Irish Pub, located on Pleasantburg – and owned and operated by an Irish guy named Patrick (really!) – throws the grandaddy of all Irish parties, so big that it takes up the entire weekend! With live Irish music, complete with pipers and step dancers, and authentic Irish beer, stout & ale, this party celebrates all things Irish (hey, even the bartenders are Irish)! The fun starts Saturday, the 16th and continues until Patrick throws everyone out. Then it all starts up again on Sunday, the 17th! Not to be outdone, Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub on Laurens Road invites you to their St. Patty’s DAZE. Starting Thursday, March 14th and continuing through the 16th, and offering food and drink specials, door prizes and live music, this event and this pub are definitely worth checking out!

Although, one of Downtown’s favorite St. Patrick’s events, The Blarney Bash, will not be happening this year, Greenville offers many ways to get your Irish on! So, pull on that “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt and your shamrock sunglasses, dye your hair green and head Downtown to Party with St. Paddy! But, however you decide to celebrate, have fun and be safe! Erin Go Braugh!

Well, Downtownies…February 12th is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras. For those who don’t know, it is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40 days of Lent, when traditionally, you give up sweets ( and general frivolity) as a symbol of fasting.  Fat Tuesday (and the weekend before) is a customary time of celebration and decadence and no city does it better than New Orleans.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows of my love for the Crescent City. It is probably the only place with even a chance of ever pulling me away from my beloved Downtown Greenville. This time of year, I find myself feeling a little nostalgic for my “other” city. If you also feel the need to experience Mardi Gras – NOLA style – but can’t make the trip to the Gulf Coast, Downtown Greenville offers a little bit of The Big Easy, right here in the Upstate.

Probably the closest you can come to Bourbon Street without leaving Main Street is Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  Located on South Main, this fun-loving eatery offers some of the best Cajun cooking outside The Quarter. And do they know how to do up Carnival Season! Starting this weekend, Chef Damon has created a special Mardi Gras menu that’ll make you start your own Second Line! They are kicking off the festivities on Saturday with a boisterous Masquerade Ball in their upstairs rooms, with dance music from DJ Apollo, drink specials and all the throw beads you can catch. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Costumes are strongly encouraged. The festivities continue on Fat Tuesday with a party worthy of its own parade krewe. DJ Apollo will return to provide dance music and drink specials and party favors will having you shouting “Throw me somethin’ mister” in no time!

Not to be outdone, Smiley’s Acoustic Café, throws  its own Mardi Gras soiree, that has become nearly legendary in the Greenville music community.  Featuring a casual jam session with members of local faves, The Work, Smley’s is all about “le Bon Temps”! With New Orleans inspired food & drink specials, Moon Pies and throw beads galore, this celebration will make you feel you’re in a rockin’ juke joint in the Treme’!!

Since Mardi Gras is all about “living it up, before giving it up”, a stop by a Downtown bakery on this most  decadent of Tuesdays may be in order. Chocolate Moose on Main,  is the perfect place to indulge in some sweet,  delicious cupcake debauchery! With cupcake flavors in Southern favorites like Red Velvet, French Toast and Bourbon Pecan Pie, your taste buds will be jazzed up big time!

The Mardi Gras festivities may put you in the mood to hear some of the music New Orleans gave birth to. Brown Street Club offers some mighty smooth jazz nightly from Tuesday to Saturday. On the 12th, enjoy the talented trio of Brendan Williamson and friends.  With the cool atmosphere and the hot tunes, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a underground jazz club on Frenchman Street.

So, there you have it Downtownies – lots of ways to experience a little NOLA in the DTGVL! So, let your hair down, kiss a stranger, dance in the street and Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler! See you Downtown!

One of my favorite holiday movies has to be The Christmas Story. Who can forget that hilarious scene when Ralphie & his family, holiday dinner having been devoured by the Bumpuses’ dogs, are forced to have their holiday meal at the only restaurant in town that is open…Chop Suey Palace. If you find yourself without Thanksgiving dinner (from consumption by the neighbors’ dogs or for some other reason), don’t resort to “Chinese Turkey”…head Downtown to one of these fine eateries for a Thanksgiving meal worthy of its own holiday movie!

If you want a home-cooked meal to rival Grandma’s, look no further than Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett.  Deriving its name from the famous ‘spoonbread” long served at the Poinsett Hotel, this iconic eatery offers both brunch & dinner options on Thanksgiving Day. Start your holiday off right with Virginia Ham & its Maple Mustard Glaze and some Maple Rosemary Biscuits.  Or visit their Made To Order Omelet & Pasta Station…with over 25 different ingredients to choose from. Come back for dinner and enjoy such Thanksgiving classics as Sage Rubbed Turkey served with all the traditional sides such as Cornbread Dressing & giblet gravy or Cinnamon Pumpkin Soup. Or, for a twist on tradition, try the Seared Salmon, served with a Mustard Glaze over Goat Cheese Grits and Braised Collard Greens. Finish it all off with a big slice of Pecan Pie or Red Velvet Cake and your taste buds will be thanking you!

Another longtime favorite of Downtown foodies, Soby’s, will also be open Thanksgiving Day. Chef Shaun Garcia & his team are putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu featuring all your favorites such as Buttermilk Braised Turkey & Pineapple Glazed Pit Ham and sides such as Brown Sugar Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Maple Butternut Squash Succotash & Soby’s delicious Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. Add a dessert of their delightful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites & it will be a day well-spent. Soby’s Table 301 partner, Devereaux’s, will also be serving a special menu on Thanksgiving Day. Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage & Rosemary and Roasted Pork Loin will be taking center stage, supported by such appetizing sides as Green Bean Casserole & Sweet Potato Puree. Their dessert menu looks mighty tasty as well, with Apple Spice Cake & Chocolate Mousse Cake & more – making it hard to choose!

If you prefer your Thanksgiving to be a little more laid-back and Lowcountry, then head to High Cotton for some down-home cooking, Charleston style!  For starters, try the Roasted African Squash Soup –Maine Lobster, Pumpkin Seed Brittle & Vanilla Crème Fraiche.  Want to forego the traditional Thanksgiving fare in favor of some traditional Lowcountry delicacies?  Then try the famous High Cotton Shrimp & Grits – featuring huge Shrimp with Chicken Andouille Sausage, Melted Leeks, Sharp Cheddar Grits & Tarragon Broth…you may never have turkey for Thanksgiving again! For dessert, try the Pecan Tart with decadent Chocolate Sauce & Cranberry Compote…YUM! If you want to go even more laid-back, visit Sticky Fingers, who will be preparing a delicious Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. Not feeling Turkey? They will also be offering their regular menu of amazing BBQ favorites.

The weather on Thanksgiving Day promises to be gorgeous, with sunny skies & highs in the mid-60, so you may opt for dining al fresco. The Green Room, with its cozy outdoor seating and its delectable menu, is an excellent choice.  Start things off with a Southern classic appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes, served with Herbed Cream Cheese & Red Pepper Relish.  Move on to something a little unexpected, like their Braised Short Ribs, served with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes & Bacon Brussell Spouts. Thanksgiving traditionalists need not fret, The Green Room will be serving Brined & Roasted Turkey, as well as the expected sides such as Herbed Stuffing and Macaroni & Cheese (which is considered a vegetable here in the South) as well as Pecan Pie (although I tend to opt for the sinfully delicious Chocolate Brownie, a la mode & topped with a yummy Blackberry Sauce). The bar will remain open late for those wishing to hang out and get in the “Holiday Spirit” of the alcohol-inspired sort.

Speaking of the Holiday Spirit, several bars will also be open Thanksgiving Day for those who want to escape all the “family togetherness” for a little while, or who maybe just want to get together with friends (who I call my “urban family”). Downtown watering holes that will be welcoming guests on the 22nd include such local favorites as Sharkey’s Pub, Barley’s Tap Room (upstairs only), Blue Ridge Brewing Company, On The Roxx, City Tavern & the bar at Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  As always, if you imbibe in too much of the Turkey of the bottled, Wild variety…PLEASE take a cab home! We want you around to enjoy many more good times Downtown. Well, have fun & be safe Downtownies…and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

More Info on Restaurants:

■High Cotton: 550 S. Main Street, 335-4200 – Open 1PM-7PM –

■Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett: 421-9700 – Open for Brunch 10:30AM-2:30PM & for Dinner 5:30PM-9:30PM- Brunch Cost: $29.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 7-12; Dinner Cost: $32.00 –

■The Green Room: 116 N. Main Street, 335-8222 – Open 11AM-8PM – Cost:  $30 for adults, $12 for kids under 12 – (Bar to remain open late)

■Soby’s: 207 S. Main Street, 232-7007 – Open 11AM-7PM –

■Sticky Fingers: 1 S. Main Street, 331-7427 – Open Noon – 7PM – Cost: $17.99 for adults, $8.99 kids 4-12 –

■Devereaux’s: 25 E. Court Street, 241-3030 – Open Noon-4PM – Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for children 7-12 –


I don’t know about you, but when the temps turn chilly, my thoughts turn TO chili…the kind with lots of meat & beans! Every region thinks they have the best chili cooks in the country. Now, I may be biased, but I think it’s hard to beat the chili-making talent found right here in lil ‘ol G’Vegas! This Saturday, The Handlebar (304 E. Stone Avenue) will showcase the very best Greenville has to offer in its 5th Sometimes Annual Chili Cook-Off.

This most beloved of Downtown’s music venues has long been bringing the heat in the form of blazing guitar riffs, heated drum solos & steamy vocals. But, this Saturday, November 17th, they will be bringing the heat of the culinary kind…full of cayenne, curry and a few other ingredients I’m not allowed to disclose at this time. Starting at 4PM, some of the best chili chefs in the area will be going head-to-head in a gastronomical cage match (okay, so there’s ACTUALLY no cage, but the competition still pretty heated). And there will be no culinary school trained judges for THIS event of the people!!! No sir…The Handlebar invites YOU to be the judge of who is the BEST chili chef in Greenville. For $10, guests will receive a ballot, a bowl to sample all the meaty, beanie, chili goodness AND a beer to wash it all down with. Be one of the first 100 to sign up & you get to keep your pint glass…how cool is that!

But wait…there’s more! Not only will you get to make your taste buds sing (or cry for mercy) with all this delectable chili excellence, but The Handlebar will be providing the amazing live, local music they are famous for! Feed your inner music lover with tunes by Wasted Wine, Tim TV, Our World Festival, Darby Wilcox & Zumba! Best of all…it’s FREE!

For those who wish to get a little Christmas shopping done while they fill their senses & stomachs with musical & culinary goodness…well, The Handlebar can help you there too! Starting at 11AM (until 4PM), Outside Arts SC will exhibit works by some of the area’s coolest and most innovative artisans in the 2012 Holiday Market. Benefitting the Greenville chapter of Meals on Wheels, this event allows you to meet these talented artists in an intimate setting, enjoy a unique shopping experience and take home some special one of a kind gifts for everyone  on your list.

So come on out to The Handlebar this Saturday for some tasty food, hot tunes & one-of-a-kind crafts…you’ll be glad you did!

For more information, visit:

The Handlebar:

Outside Arts SC:

Are you a beer drinker who would love to have the chance to try something other than Bud Light or PBR? Are you a wine drinker who desires a chance to sample wine from around the world? Well, my fellow imbibers, Downtown Greenville offer several chances to take a “spirited” tour of the world…sip by sip!

Drinking wine is considered by most to be a very sophisticated and refined past time and it’s this perception that can make becoming a wine drinker seem a bit intimidating. Whether you are a seasoned wine connoisseur or a “wine-curious newbie”, Northampton Wines offers wine lovers of all types the chance to sample products from wine regions around the world. Every Friday evening from 6:30-7:30PM and Saturday afternoons from 4PM until 5:15PM, this restaurant and wine café, located on East Broad Street, conducts tastings of a variety of vino. This weekend, visitors have the opportunity to experience a selection of Cabernet Sauvignon from California and Washington State, with guidance from wine expert, Richard deBondt. As space is limited to 40 people, reservations are required.  Freshly baked bread from The Restaurant and a selection of cheeses are served during these events. For more information, visit

Another Downtown establishment that offers an occasion to delve in the delights of wine is West End Wine & Spirits. With wine tastings every Thursday from 5PM to 8PM (and an occasional beer tasting), this South Main establishment allows visitors a chance to sip wine in an atmosphere that is both upscale and laid-back. They even have monthly Wine Trivia! For details on events, visit:

A Downtown business that offers the chance to sample the unique in both wine and beer is The Community Tap. Owner/Operator, Mike Okupinski, opened this North End establishment with the simple intent to provide good beer and wine in an atmosphere that is casual and inviting. Regulars to the unassuming building located on Wade Hampton, near Stone Avenue, agree that TCT is a welcome addition to Greenville’s beer culture. With offerings of their diverse selection of beer and wine, tastings are often filled to capacity, so reservations are sometimes required. Upcoming events include tastings of Sour and Wild Ales (together with a selection of cheeses) on Wednesday, July 18th , 6:30-7:30PM and a “Wine Holiday” sampling of wines from Southern France on Wednesday, July 25th, also 6:30-7:30PM. For more information on these and other events at The Community Tap, visit:

Another contender in the beer tasting category is the Greenville Beer Exchange.  Located just off Main Street on South Laurens Street, word of GBE has quickly spread among beer lovers in the area. With a selection of unique beers and pilsners with fun names like “Golden Monkey” and “Good Chit”, their Thursday Tastings (which are 5-7PM & usually free) are popular with the Downtown “after-work” crowd. For more info and a list of what’s currently on tap, visit:

Downtown Greenville gives beer and wine lovers alike to try something a little different from their usual. Some of these events are free, some have a cost attached or other restrictions, so it’s best to call ahead. A word of advice, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of trying new varieties of your favorite alcoholic beverage, so be cautious about how much you drink. Many tastings have “spit buckets” available and others serve hor d’oeuvres in an attempt to prevent “over-consumption”. If you have had too much to drink, please take a cab home. For daily listings of these and other fun Downtown events, visit the Downtown Greenville, SC Facebook Page at

You usually wouldn’t think of cool jazz, hot food and a rare cancer in the same thought, but you will after attending Brown Street Alive! On Saturday, June 23rd, historic Brown Street will become one big jazzy, jammin’ block party with food, fun and more as traffic is blocked off and music lovers are encouraged to dance in the streets. Sponsored by the Sarcoma Warriors of the Upstate, this family-friendly event is guaranteed to raise funds, awareness, as well as spirits, to fight this debilitating disease.

Not many people have heard of this rare, aggressive form of cancer that attacks the muscle, fat, cartilage, arteries and nerves – all the things that “hold” our bodies together. Because it is so incredibly rare (only .01% of the population will ever be diagnosed with it), there are few support systems for patients and their families and very little research done on its cause. Because it is so rare, most cases are diagnosed in later stages, making treatment difficult and very costly. Because this cancer is so rare, there are no pink ribbons (and a huge cause marketing campaign), there’s no race for its cure and yogurt companies do not make donations based on the number of lids sent in by customers. There are only these fearless Sarcoma Warriors, at “the ready” to do all they can to help those dealing with this dreadful disease.  Thinking of themselves as “Hired Henchmen”, this amazing organization works tirelessly to support patients and their families in fighting the “good fight” – by offering not only financial assistance, but emotional support, medical information and a voice in issues that affect those stricken.

Fast forward to this weekend and Brown Street Alive.  Featuring food, drink, games, prizes, silent auction and a vintage car and motorcycle show, this event is a crowd pleaser for all ages. But it’s the caliber of music that will make you glad you ventured off Main Street to follow the sweet sounds of jazz. Most of the bands taking part in this special event are familiar to regulars to the Brown Street Club. From some grumpy old jazz men to a teen-aged phenom whose guitar licks are incendiary – you will hear jazz that ranges from old school to rockin’ blues. Beginning at 4PM, three bands, Grumpy Old Jazz Men, The Marcus King Band (with Brendan Williamson) and Java, will be performing outdoors in a concert that is very family-friendly. Later on, starting at 6:30, The Adam Knight Trio and Shane Pruitt will be performing inside the more adult-oriented Brown Street Club.

So be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, June 23rd and make your way to Brown Street for some cool tunes and hot times. The music is free, the food and games are very affordable and the cause is priceless. Fighting cancer never sounded so good!

More Info on the Bands Performing at Brown Street Alive…

Grumpy Old Jazz Men: Seen regularly tearing up the stage with their old school style, this group of jazz masters will make you feel anything but grumpy. They will be performing on the outdoor stage from 4PM to 6PM

The Marcus King Band (with Brendan Williamson): A favorite at several Downtown venues, including The Handlebar, Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe and Chicora Alley, this rockin’ blues band, fronted by teen guitar prodigy, Marcus King, is a must-see (they will also be performing at Main Street Friday on August 24th). Performing with guest musician (and another familiar face on the Downtown music scene), Brendan Williamson, this band will be taking the stage (outdoors) at 6PM, and burning it up until 8PM. For more info on this amazing band, visit

Java: Another regular of the Brown Street Club, this entertaining band is as heart-thumping as the caffeinated beverage from which they grabbed their name.  Be sure to check out their next Brown Street performance on July 21st. Going onstage at 8PM the guys will be closing out the event with their crowd pleasing, eclectic playlist until 10PM.

Adam Knight Trio: Often seen at High Cotton as well as the Brown Street Club, this talented trio will soothe your soul with their signature cool contemporary jazz. Kicking things off inside the Brown Street Club at 6:30PM, this threesome will provide delectable dinner music until 9:30PM. If you get the chance, try to catch them at their next Brown Street Club gig on July 24th. For more info regarding this band and their music, visit

Shane Pruitt Band: Another group you’ve seen around Downtown at places like The Handlebar and Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe is the Shane Pruitt Band. With rockin’ tunes that will set your booty to shakin’, the guys will be closing things out in the Brown Street Club starting at 9:30PM. Catch them now, because they won’t be back at Brown Street until September 8th. For more info on this bodacious band of fellows, visit

To learn more about this event, Sarcoma Warriors or the Brown Street Club, visit or


{June 15, 2012}   Feed The Carnivore Within

car·ni·vore (kärn-vôr, -vr) noun:  somebody who eats meat: somebody who is not a vegetarian and likes to eat meat…lots of meat!

This Sunday is Father’s Day and there is almost no better way to bond with Dad than by consuming vast quantities of meat…beef specifically. Now, I know nothing beats getting together in the backyard with all the guys in your family to grill up some former animal over an open flame. But what if you don’t have a grill…or even a backyard? Well, no worries…there are restaurants Downtown that serve up burgers so sinful, you may feel the need to go to church after eating them!

I occasionally do the vegetarian thing – I eat Boca burgers, Portobella mushrooms disguised as burgers, even beans and rice mixed together, flavored and fried to resemble burgers. But nothing brings me back to my carnivorous tendencies quite like the Beefalo Burger served at Barley’s Taproom.  What is a Beefalo, you may ask? A Beefalo is a grain-fed cross between a steer and a buffalo, resulting in meat that is leaner, very flavorful and higher in iron and protein than ordinary beef.  Topped with spinach and served on a tasty whole grain bun, this burger is actually pretty good for you! When your Barley’s server asks you what side you’d like with it, pick the potato salad…trust me on this one. Add a pint of beer chosen from their wonderful selection of unique pilsners, porters, ales and stouts (I always enjoy it with a Guinness, myself), and you’ll have a meal that’ll make Dad think you might be a pretty great kid after all.

Another burger that awakens my hidden carnivore is the Bohemian Burger at…you guessed it…The Bohemian Café. If you take Dad there for Father’s Day, be warned that The Bohemian is only open 11AM – 2PM for brunch on Sundays. But the special trip is worth it for this half pound of hand-pattied Black Angus sirloin, cooked to order and served with a juicy tomato, crisp lettuce and a red onion on a fresh roll. To truly send your taste buds to burger nirvana, add blue cheese crumbles and applewood-smoked bacon –YUM! When the server tells you that the burger comes with chips, you may be disappointed, but trust me your disappointment will quickly fade as soon as you bite into one of the delectably crunchy little bits of salty perfection. Many patrons visit this café just for these homemade potato chips! If your appetite is particularly hearty this day, and, if you’re a fan of blue cheese like me, ask for a side of blue cheese macaroni…you’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of blue cheese, another mouthwatering burger worth a try can be found at Liberty Tap Room. This laid-back, testosterone –friendly pub certainly has its share of tasty burger options. You may find it hard to choose between the Freedom Burger, the Swiss Burger, and the Cowboy Burger, but it’s the Red, White & Blue Burger that keeps me coming back for more! This Cajun-crusted certified Angus patty, topped with blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, crispy onion straws and even MORE blue cheese in the form of dressing poured on top is so delectable, it outta come with a warning label!  Add a perfectly poured beer from their vast selection on tap and you have a meal fit for a burger-loving king!

Are you drooling yet? Well, if you have a heart condition, you may want to stop reading here, because the next two burgers will make you have to double up on your cholesterol meds.  The first burger worthy of owning your own personal defibrillator for is The Stone Burger (also known to regulars as the Krispy Kreme Burger) at Grille 33/The Channel. Now, Grille 33/The Channel is known far and wide for their delicious patties of beef, all named after Greenville streets and landmarks, and each more mouth-watering than the one before.  Brian “Head” Welch, formerly of Korn, often makes a pilgrimage to this humble establishment just to experience them. But this one miraculous creation rises above the rest. The 8 ounces of juicy certified Angus beef, topped only by  a thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese (no veggies needed), is served up on every southerner’s favorite breakfast item, a glazed Krispy Kreme donut. I KNOW…A KRISPY KREME DONUT!!! How crazy is THAT?! Improbable though it may sound, this impossibly delectable burger is so “sacri-licious”, just by eating it you will have certainly committed at least six of the Seven Deadly Sins.

If you venture north up Main Street, you’ll find Northgate Soda Shop and another burger you will happily clog your arteries for – the Pimento Cheese Burger.  So seriously scrumptious, this burger has already enjoyed a good bit of notoriety from burger aficionados from all over the US – George Motz even waxed poetic about this local favorite in his book, “Hamburger America”.  But North Main residents have long known about this heart-attack inducing little bit of hamburger excellence. As soon as you walk into the Northgate Soda Shop, with its retro décor that seems frozen sometime in the 1950’s, you know that you’ve stumbled upon something truly special. And once that amazing, “old-school” burger (the recipe is over 40 years old) is set in front of you, with that tangy mix of mayo, cheddar cheese and pimentos oozing over the bright red tomato and farm-fresh lettuce onto the grilled bun, you’ll be sure you’ve died and gone to heaven…and not just regular heaven, but Carnivore Heaven Supreme! Just taking one bite of the moist burger covered in cheesy meltiness will make you feel sorry for all the poor souls who have yet to venture to this little piece of Downtown to discover this wonderous delight! Now, I’m waxing poetic…but really…it’s THAT FREAKIN’ GOOD!

Now, I’m not saying these are the only choices for burgers in Downtown Greenville, just some of my personal favorites. I hear that the West End Burger at Smoke on the Water and the Gastro Pub Burger at Nose Dive are near perfect, I just haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet (looks like there may be a Part Deux to this article in the future) and Sharkey’s Pub, Corner Pocket and Blue Ridge Brewing Company also have tasty burgers, but with limited space, I had to narrow it down to the ones that most inspired “burger lust” in my carnivorous little heart! Many of these fine establishments also offer delicious alternatives with yummy veggie burgers…but this article is all about the beef!  So I suggest that you take this opportunity to impress Dad with a little “Burger Exploration” yourself…you’ll strengthen your bond with your “old man” and maybe even discover some beef patties worthy of a little “burger lust”of your own! Happy Father’s Day!

More Info…

Barley’s Taproom: 25 W Washington Street; (864) 232-3706 (Across from the bus station)

The Bohemian Café: 2 W Stone Avenue; (864) 233-0006 (Next to Horizon Records)

Liberty Tap Room: 941 S Main Street;· (864) 770-7777 (Next to Fluor Field)

Grille 33 / The Channel: 221 N Main Street; (864) 552-1990 (Across from The Hyatt)

Northgate Soda Shop: 918 N Main Street; (864) 235-6770 (In North Main neighborhood)

What do a Beauty Pageant where men dress as women, a call to Paint the Town Red, a Concert with some of Greenville’s Best Bluegrass and a bunch of little Rubber Ducks have in common? A week full of fun, all for great causes! This week, some Downtown Greenville venues will play host to 4 fundraisers that are so much fun, it outta be illegal!

The first event is the 5th Annual Womanless Beauty Pageant, hosted by the St. Francis First Mates. On Wednesday, May 2nd, the stage at The Handlebar will be “graced” by the “alluring beauty” of several contestants – who in their “real” lives are not only local physicians, health care providers, business owners and other professionals, but real men!  Dressing the part of the stereotypical beauty queen, and performing various “talents” for your amusement, this group of guys are good sports for a great cause! Funds raised will benefit the local chapter of The American Cancer Society & Relay for Life.  The contestants take the stage at 7:30PM and tickets are on sale now for $15 in advance, $20 at the door. So come on out and have a good laugh at the expense of these brave male souls! For more information, visit The Handlebar’s website at

 The next event is also one of Greenville’s favorite May events – The Red Party. Each year, AID Upstate invites others to “Dine With Friends” as part of their annual fundraising and Aids Awareness campaign. After having dinner with your pals, participants are invited to The Red Party to enjoy drinks at the cash bar and free desserts. Everyone is welcome to attend this year’s Salsa-themed soiree at ZEN Greenville on Saturday, May 5th. The steel drums and the flowing rum will start up at 9PM and last until midnight! There is no need to purchase advance tickets, but a $50 donation is requested (and greatly appreciated) at the door. Funds raised will provide supportive services to those Upstate families affected by HIV/AIDS.  For more information on The Red Party, AID Upstate or to participate in “Dining With Friends” visit

The Handlebar steps up again to lend its venue to a great cause!  This Saturday, they will play host to the best in blues, bluegrass and rock n’ rhythm at Musical MAYhem!  Featuring such local gems as Fat Cat Daddy, Neal Carpenter & The Younger Brothers, The Broadcast and Sanctum Sully, this event will set your toes to tappin’ and your tail feathers to shakin’! The show starts at 7PM and benefits Gateway House, a local non-profit that assists adults who are battling mental illness. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

Last but certainly not least on the list is the 2012 Reedy River Duck Derby! Let Kentucky keep their thoroughbred racing horses, we’ve got cute ‘lil rubber duckies! This most beloved of Downtown’s annual events takes place Saturday, May 5th at Reedy River Falls Park and benefits the many local charities assisted by the Rotary Club of Greenville. A mere $5 will purchase a certified racing duck to enter in the race (MUCH less expensive than a horse), or you can purchase a “Quack Pack” for $25 and receive 6 ducks for the price of 5 (all to better your chances of victory). The race starts at 2:30PM with participants battling for an array of fabulous prizes. If you would like to purchase a duck for the race or wish to find out more about this event, visit:

So there you have it – FOUR fantastically fun events that’ll tickle your funny bone, shake your booty and help your neighbors in need – what could be better?  Now all I have to do is find a tiny little jockey to ride my Duck Derby entry! See y’all Downtown!

When the days get longer and the temps warm up, Downtown Greenville “springs” into action with a flurry of great outdoor events. Everything from outdoor concerts and movie screenings, to farmer’s markets and festivals…DTGVL has a little something for everyone!  And the best thing? Most of them are FREE! So, round up your family and friends and head Downtown for a little fun in the sun!

March kicks things off with two of Downtown’s favorite concert events: Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays. Chosen as one of the Best Places to Hear Free Live Music by fans of the Downtown Greenville, SC Facebook Page, Downtown Alive takes place every Thursday around 5:30PM at the Hyatt Plaza. Featuring some of the best musical talent the Upstate (and beyond) has to offer, this year’s concert series starts March 15th with a performance by local favorite, Kelly Jo Connect.  Not to be outdone, Main Street Fridays (which shares DTA’s Main Street venue and 5:30 timeslot), gets Downtown groovin’ on March 16th with the sweet funky sounds of Chocolate Thunder.  These free concerts continue until late August / September and are the music lover’s ritual that signals the start of the weekend.

April sees not only the continuation of DTA & MSF, but also Greenville’s very first International Film Festival. The goal of this multi-day event is to unite film enthusiasts and filmmakers from around the world to display the power of visual storytelling, creative excellence, and imagination of independent filmmaking. The event begins April 25th and continues until the 28th. Several Downtown locations will share hosting duties including Coffee Underground, ZEN, Centre Stage and The Kroc Center. Martial Arts and Eastern philosophy enthusiasts may enjoy taking part in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on April 28th. This special event, held at Falls Park, will celebrate, demonstrate and educate the public on Tai Chi and Qigong. If your life’s philosophy includes BBQ, then you will not want to miss Project Host’s BBQ Festival on April 27th and 28th. Pulled pork aficionados will gather on Broad Street for a fun-filled festival with entertainment, crafts, cooking competitions and best of all…BBQ! Be sure to bring your appetite!

DTGVL’s calendar really revs up in May with a smorgasbord of fun! The merriment begins May 2 with Moonlight Movies. Featuring everything from family favorites like “The Muppet Movie” to nostalgic cinema classics such as “An American in Paris”, everyone from Grandma to the kids will find a film they like. Screenings take place every Wednesday in May around 8PM and due to the construction at The Peace Center, will happen in a new Falls Park location this year. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcomed (and fun), but like most City-sponsored events, pets are prohibited.

The first weekend in May will also see the return of the Saturday Market. This outdoor farmers’ market, features locally grown, farm-fresh foods as well as locally grown crafts, and begins May 5th at its long-time location on Court Street. Like the name implies, The Saturday Market takes place every Saturday from 8AM until noon and will run until October. Also taking place Downtown on May 5th is The Reedy River Rubber Duck Derby. This delightful annual event, featuring a river full of cute, little yellow rubber duckies, benefits local charities.

Thespians will be thrilled with two sophisticated events occurring in the month of May. Artisphere, one of Downtown Greenville’s premier festivals, takes place the weekend of the 11th through the 13th. Featuring the works of visual artists from all over the country, this art fest is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Although the artwork is the highlight of this event, festival goers can enjoy a diverse selection of food and beverage and as well as experience the musical talents of local bands performing on a number of stages. Fans of the Bard will be happy to hear that Shakespeare in the Park will be starting up again on May 24th. Every Thursday – Sunday evening, Falls Park will play host to the enchanting works of William Shakespeare (with a modern twist) performed by a troupe of talented actors.  Audience participation is welcomed and very much encouraged.

If you’re looking for entertainment with an ethnic flavor, May offers two fun-filled festivals featuring the cultures of Greece and Scotland. Craving baklava? Then head over to St. George Greek Orthodox Church May 17th through 20th for the Greenville Greek Festival. Don’t miss this chance  to experience everything Greek with Greenville’s Greek Community! Mad for plaid? Then Greenville’s Scottish Games are just the thing that’ll make your kilt twirl! Starting with the Great Scot Parade down Main Street and ceilidh (that’s Gaelic for party) on May 25th, the good times continue with The Games at Furman on the 26th.

In recent years, Greenville has become a mecca for cyclists and cycle enthusiasts. Once again, Downtown Greenville will place host to USA Cycling Pro Championship Road Race on the 28th, with time trials taking place on the 26th. Some streets along the race route may be temporarily closed or blocked off on the day of the race.

So, you see, there is absolutely no excuse to sit at home on the beautiful Spring days for which our area is famous. Call your friends, grab your sunglasses and head Downtown to savor all that Greenville has to offer! See you there!

et cetera