downtowngreenvillegirl











(Or…Movies, Market, Men in High Heels, Painting the Town Red & Lots of Rubber Duckies…)

May has to be one of my favorite times to be in Downtown Greenville. The near-perfect beauty of Downtown’s bright green foliage, & brick red buildings silhouetted against the Carolina blue sky is enough to take my breath away! Add to that, the increasingly pleasant temps and the also-increasing number of great events going on, and you have more fun than should be legal! Too much fun, in fact, for just one blog! This week’s “Part 1” contains tidbits about Moonlight Movies, The Saturday Market, a Men’s High Heel Race, an invitation to paint the town Red…and a whole lot of cute little rubber duckies!

Fans of classic movies anxiously await Moonlight Movies. This free, city-sponsored event allows movies fans to view the classics outdoors in the splendid beauty of Falls Park. Shown each Wednesday (weather permitting) starting at 8-ish in the evening, this family-friendly event takes place every May and September. This year’s theatrical line-up includes the 1953 drama, “From Here to Eternity”, starring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr (May 1), John Ford’s 1956 western, “The Searchers”, starring John Wayne (May 8), the 1938 Cukor comedy, “Holiday”, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant (May 15) and the delightfully quirky “Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein” (May 22). The movie for May 29 is a Viewer’s Choice, where the movie garnering the most fan votes will be shown. The choices are “To Catch a Thief”, “On The Waterfront” and “Philadelphia Story”. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome, but like most city-sponsored events, pets are not allowed. For more information, visit http://www.greenvillesc.gov.

Let Kentucky keep their thoroughbred racing horses, we’ve got cute ‘lil rubber duckies! This most beloved of Downtown’s annual events, the Reedy River Duck Derby, takes place Saturday, May 4th at Reedy River Falls Park and benefits the many local charities assisted by the Rotary Club of Greenville. An all-day event (10AM – 4PM), the fun includes plenty of kid-friendly activities for families. The highlight, of course, is the race itself, which starts at 2:30PM, with participants battling for an array of fabulous prizes. A mere $10 will purchase a certified racing duck to enter in the race (MUCH less expensive than a high-strung thoroughbred horse), or you can purchase a “Quack Pack” for $30 and receive 4 ducks for the price of 3 (all to better your chances of victory). Prior to the official duck race, the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District will conduct its own race of “Yucky Duckies” to promote clean water. If you would like to purchase a duck for the race or wish to find out more about this event, visit: http://www.reedyriverduckderby.com.

One of the most anticipated openings in Downtown Greenville is the start of The Saturday Market. Visitors and locals alike are invited to take a morning stroll on Main Street (at Court Street) every Saturday from May to October to experience the delectable sights, sounds, scents and flavors of this favorite Downtown tradition. The 2013 market season starts up again this Saturday, May 4, from 8AM until noon. Featuring the finest in fresh local produce, beautiful crafts by area artisans and live music by some of the region’s best talent, The Saturday Market is family friendly fun for all! For more information and a calendar of weekly events, visit http://saturdaymarketlive.com.

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 come and “Dance Your Face Off” at this year’s Silver Jubilee soiree at ZEN Greenville on Saturday, May 4th. The festivities will start up at 9PM and last until midnight! There is no need to purchase advance tickets, but a $25 donation is required (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 https://www.facebook.com/TheRedParty.

Women in high heels…fashionably elegant …Men in high heels…side-splitting hilarity! See how the “other half” lives or just come get your chuckles – all for a great cause – at the 2nd Annual Men’s High Heel Race on Sunday, May 5. The stillettoed, testosterone-fueled masses will meet up at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen at 9AM, before making the mad “diva dash” down Main Street, in a riotous competition for some really cool prizes! All proceeds benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research (JDRF) in the Western Carolinas. Want to don your best pair of pumps and take part? Registration is going on now (through Friday, May 3) for a participation fee of $25. Participants will be treated to post-run brunch at Ford’s where they can kick off their heels and rest their tired tootsies! For more information, or to register for the race, visit https://www.facebook.com/MensHighHeelRaceGreenvilleSc.

So there you have it Downtownies…a virtual plethora of May happenings. Check next week’s blog for “Part Two” of this article. Until then, have fun, be safe and see you Downtown! Now, if I could only find a tiny jockey to ride my Duck Derby entry, I’d be set!



When the dogwoods and azaleas bloom on North Main and the temps start to rise, so do the number of really cool festivals Downtown! This weekend, two wonderful festivals, for some equally wonderful causes, will be taking place on and near Main Street. So, if you adore a little wine and jazz or if the smell of bar-be-que makes your heart beat a little faster, head Downtown to pay homage to three of this Southern Girl’s favorite things!

Fine Wine and Smooth Jazz go together like…well …wine and jazz! If you are a lover of both, then join your fellow wine & jazz connessieurs on Friday, April 26, for the Reedy River Jazz & Wine Festival. Starting at 6PM (until 10PM) some of the best regional jazz musicians will be taking the TD Stage at The Peace Center Amphitheatre. The line-up of talent includes locals such as the Anderson University Jazz Ensemble and the Keith Davis Trio, as well as the marvelous jazz vocals of Carol Ingbretsen and the Afro-Cuban jazz fusion of Con Clave. Add to that some delectable food from Larkin’s on the River, amazing wines and the gorgeous views of the Reedy River, all to benefit our local Ronald McDonald House, and you have a mighty fine festival indeed! Tickets are $60 in advance, $65 at the gate (half price for students & military (with ID) and those over 65) and are available online at http://www.reedyriverjazzandwinefestival.org.

Few things get my heart & taste buds jumping like a big ‘ol plate of South Carolina BBQ! And for the meat lovers of our city, no one-day BBQ Cook-off will do! For two days, April 26 & 27th, the succulent aromas of freshly made pulled pork, ribs and chicken wings will invade Downtown Greenville – particularly, the corner of South Main & Broad Streets, as the Project Host BBQ Cook-Off & Festival returns. Benefitting this wonderful local charity, this annual event, now in its fourth year, will feature some of the best local and regional chefs around! Friday will feature a “People’s Choice Chicken Wing Competition” where chefs will test their culinary skills with this favorite snack. Saturday’s competition will feature pulled pork butts and ribs. The event runs from 6PM -10PM on Friday and 11AM – 10PM on Saturday (Saturday tasting is from 11AM – 2:30PM). Those wishing to participate in the judging can purchase tickets to taste for $1 or for $10, you can purchase a big plate of BBQ! For more information, visit http://www.projecthost.org/bbq.

So, there you have it Downtownies! You can sit back, listen to some great jazz while sipping wine by the Reedy River. Or you can stuff your face with pulled pork, chicken wings and ribs! Or do both! And it all goes to some great causes! What could be better! See you there!



Anyone who knows me knows of the deep, profound love I have for the music genre known as “The Blues”. Some of my earliest (& fondest) memories include sitting with my dad, listening to old, scratchy LP’s of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King…and of course, the great Robert Johnson. But one of my favorite bluesmen was an obscure musician from right here in the Upstate – Pink Anderson. Like many bluesmen, Pink was born in the rural South (Laurens, SC). Often thought of as the “Father of the Piedmont Blues”, he spent most of his career performing with a traveling medicine show and only made a few recordings before being “re-discovered” by young blues enthusiasts in the 1960’s. The art-rock band Pink Floyd was named in his honor (and NC bluesman, Floyd Council).

Downtown Greenville continues to honor its blues heritage with many venues featuring the music genre and many young (and not-so-young) musicians following in Pink’s musical footsteps. One of my favorite events at which to immerse myself in Downtown’s current blues scene is Smiley’s Blues Night at Smiley’s Acoustic Café. Presented by Palmetto Drum Co, this rockin’ bluesfest features some of the best musicians and songwriters our region has to offer. Join other blues fans every Wednesday evening to get schooled in the blues at this free jam session. For more information, visit http://www.smileysacousticcafe.com.

New on the blues scene, but already becoming a Downtown music landmark is Blues Boulevard Jazz. Located in RiverPlace (next to Riverworks Art Gallery), this cozy, intimate club offers some of the best local, regional and national talent anywhere. With live music every Tuesday – Saturday, it’s easy to catch your favorite performing blues and jazz standards, as well as original material, many of whom were regular performers at the now-closed Brown Street Club. For more information and a calendar of events, visit http://bluesboulevardjazzgreenville.com.

If you prefer your blues with a heavy dash of jazz, then High Cotton is the place to be! This “high-steppin’” eatery also features live jazz and blues every weekend, including a Jazz Brunch every Sunday. Featuring smaller trios of musicians, this club will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back into the 1920’s. For more information, visit http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/greenville.

Of course, another great way to catch the very best in Greenville’s blues scene is Main Street Fridays. Spotlighting the kings (and queens) of the blues jazz, with a little funk and soul thrown in for good measure, this free, outdoor concert series is one of Downtown’s most beloved spring/summer events. Join other music lovers every Friday (5:30PM) at NOMA Square to enjoy some wicked blues, swingin’ jazz, cool funk and sultry soul that’ll have you dancing in the streets in no time! For more information (and a band schedule) visit http://www.facebook.com/mainstreetfridays.

So there you have it blues lovers…Downtown Greenville’s certainly got the blues…and how! So, if you’re in the mood for something more than just the regular musical menu of hard rock, pop covers and dance tunes, give the blues a go! You’ll be glad you did!

A Little Something Extra: If you happen to notice any these bands performing at your favorite venue, be sure to catch their performance to really get a taste of the blues:

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues: This local musician is the epitome of the “blues legend”. Former bassist with The Muddy Waters Band, Mac has shared the stage with such blues icons as Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. His new band, Plate Full O’ Blues, infuses new blood into his music, while still retaining its original flavor.

J. Michael King & The Catfish Po’Boys: Regulars at Smiley’s Acoustic Café, these guys truly embrace the Piedmont Blues in a way that is joyful and…well…HAPPY (I know, “happy blues” is definitely an oxymoron). Long time fans of the Greenville music scene may recognize Michael & Joe from their former band, Jellyroll Antennae.

Marcus King (The Marcus King Band): This teen phenom’s guitar licks will blow your socks off! It should come as no surprise that he is the son of another local blues guitar icon, Marvin King. Be sure to catch this guy perform before he becomes a huge star!

Palmetto Swamp Congregation: With a frontman named Wolfman, you just know this band can play the blues. Mixed with a serious dash of Tabasco hot “swamp blues” this band’s music will have you “hootin’ & hollerin’” all night!

Craig Sorrell’s Project: Featuring some seriously funky, New Orleans style jazz, soul & blues, this band has one of the biggest (and most loyal) followings around! Inviting a host of local blues & jazz musicians to sit in, you never know who might be playing at one of their performances.

True Blues: A longtime Greenville favorite, this band offers blues/rock that harkens back to the 1960’s. Referred to a “Greenville’s House Band”, the guys can be regularly seen performing at such local venues and events as The Handlebar and Main Street Friday.

This list is just a taste…there are many more amazingly talented blues and jazz musicians to be found in this area!



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 http://greenvillebeerexchange.com.

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 http://www.rockhousegreenville.com.

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, March is upon us and Downtown Greenville is starting look even more GREEN than usual! For the Irish and the “wish they were Irish” this is the most wonderful time of the year! And Downtown has plenty of ways for even the youngest “wee ones” to join in on the St. Paddy’s Day fun!

Festivities for the “greenest ‘ of all holidays kick off with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10th. Celtic revelers will don their green apparel to stroll down Main Street and celebrate all that is Irish! With an eclectic array of Irish music, step dance teams, Irish wolfhounds, setters and other Irish dog breeds, not to mention the obligatory leprechaun or two, this free event will delight one and all! The hour (or so) long parade begins at 1PM, with participants lining up on South Main Street at Wardlaw. For more information, call 288-2922.

After the parade, join the rest of Greenville’s Irish community and “Return to the Green”. For most, this free event signals the true start of the whirlwind of St. Paddy’s celebrations. Starting at 1PM, this family-friendly shindig features Irish step dancers, Irish music from the Greenville Pipes & Drum Corps among others, authentic Irish food, the ever-popular selection of domestic and Irish beer and more Irish accents (both real and faked) than you can shake a shillelagh at. This year’s shamrock soiree takes place at Fluor Field with festivities continuing until 6PM. For details, visit http://www.returntothegreensc.com.

The Children’s Museum gets into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit with some special events for all the lads & lassies. Wee ones ages 5 and under can make beautiful Mosaic Shamrocks from cut paper in TCMU’s “S is for Shamrock” art classes. The classes take place daily, at various times, from March 12 through March 16. The classes are free with museum admission and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, visit http://www.tcmupstate.org.

The Augusta Road Library welcomes all the little leprechauns to join them on Saturday, March 16, for “A Wee Bit of Blarney”. This St. Patrick’s Day celebration will feature Irish stories, holiday crafts and green refreshments. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 277-0161 for more information.

Also on March 16th, The Palmetto Children’s Charity invites you to join them at Fluor Field for the 2nd annual St. Patty’s Dash & Bash. Featuring certified 5k and 10k runs, as well as a children’s “Fun Run” and other kid-friendly activities, this family-centered event benefits local children’s charities like The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Let There Be Mom and Camp Spearhead. Although the event itself is free, there is a $25 registration fee for those wishing to participate in the 5k and 10k runs. Packet pickup is at Fluor Field from noon to 7PM on March 15 and 6:30AM to 7:30AM the day of the race, which begins at 8AM. To register and to find out more, visit http://www.stpattysdashandbash.com.

Another event seeking to make a difference is the annual St. Baldrick’s event at Larkin’s on the River. This annual event, which benefits childhood cancer research, is a much beloved St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Festivities begin at 1PM on March 17th. Whether you’re a spectator, a donor or one of those brave souls allowing their heads to be shaved in the name of charity, you cannot help but be moved and inspired by this event. For more information and to donate, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org.

So, there is no excuse not to head Downtown to shake your shamrocks a bit on St. Paddy’s Day! Just be sure to wear something green or you may get pinched! Details regarding more “adult-oriented” St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be in next week’s blog. Until then, “May the Road rise up to meet You, & may the Wind be always at your back.” Happy St. Paddy’s Day!



When February 14th rolls around, it is only natural for one’s thoughts to turn to love. Whether you are starting a new relationship or have been together for decades, nothing brings out the “sappy romantic” quite like Valentine’s Day. If you want to make this year’s “Day of Love” something your sweetheart will remember for years to come, then Downtown Greenville is the place to start!

What girl (or guy for that matter) doesn’t love to receive some beautiful flowers or something sweet on this most romantic of holidays? If you have found that you have somehow forgotten to pick up something for your significant other the morning of the 14th, Urban Petals can help you resolve that matter. With a “Pop-Up Flower Shop”, which will be located at Port City Java (11 S. Main St) Thursday morning, suitors can purchase hand-tied bouquets of gorgeous, fresh flowers for their Valentines. From a “Best Buds” bud vase for $15 to a breath-taking arrangement of one dozen flawless red roses for $75, there is something for every price point and budget. Don’t procrastinate – Urban Petals will only be at Port City Java from 8AM until 1PM (or until the flowers run out). So get there early, grab a morning cup of coffee and pick some pretty posies sure to keep you out of the “doghouse”!

If your loved one has a sweet tooth, then head down South Main Street to Augusta Street and stop by Coffee To A Tea for a treat as sweet as your beloved. With savory pastries, delectable cupcakes and cookies, not to mention beautifully decorated , decadent cakes that are almost (notice I said ALMOST) to pretty to eat, this cozy little bakery and coffee shop has something for every taste. Leave your calorie counter at the door and indulge in the delicious “yumminess” available here! A dessert from Coffee To A Tea will definitely put you and your dear one in the mood for love!

You can never go wrong with a special evening that includes fine dining…especially on Valentine’s Day. Several Downtown restaurants are preparing special Valentines menus just for couples to enjoy. High Cotton invites you to join them for an evening of dining and music. The culinary staff at this wonderful eatery is preparing a special fixed price menu of 3 delicious courses for $65 per person. Start your dining experience with Charleston She-Crab Soup or Gulf Oysters on the Half Shell, then follow up with Lobster –encrusted Filet Mignon or North Carolina Duck Breast…YUM! Dessert offers such tempting choices as Dark Chocolate Terrine and Salted Pretzel Crème Carmel…to enjoy while listening to the cool tunes of the Sonny Thornton Quartet, featuring guest songstress, Sharon Lamontte. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 335-4200.

Not to be outdone, Devereaux’s Chef Spencer is creating a special 5-course “Chef’s Tasting Menu” certain to please the one you love. This delight for the taste buds includes such choices as Palmetto Quail and Rare Seared Tuna…along with suggested wine pairings. For dessert, enjoy the ultimate in chocolate decadence, a “Chocolate Trio” of Brownie, Milk Chocolate Caramel, and White Chocolate all in a sinfully good Parfait. For more information and to make the required reservations, call 241-3030.

Soby’s New South Cuisine can always be relied on to provide culinary excellence. Chef Shaun is offering his seasonal menu with a few Valentine Features such as Panko Fried Extra Select Oysters, Grilled Aged Ribeye and Pan-Seared Scallops. For the perfect finish to a perfect meal, try their “Romantic Ending for Two” – Chocolate and Red Velvet Cake with fresh raspberries, white chocolate mousse and chocolate dipped strawberries. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 232-7007.

For something a little more exotic, but no less romantic, plan to spend your evening at The Lazy Goat. Chef Vicky’s list of Valentine’s Day features were definitely created with lovers in mind. From the luxurious “Oysters & Pearls” (Kumomotos, Caviar, Champagne and Pink Peppercorn Mignonette, Blibis and Crème Fraiche), decadent Smokey Cocoa Seared Duck Breast (with Minted Cous Cous, Pine Nuts, Chick Peas, Braised Green & Cherry Demi), not to mention a lavish dessert of Dark Truffle and Raspberry Truffle Tart, will arouse feelings of “l’amour” in no time! For reservations, call 679-5299.

Few things are more romantic than beautiful music. And few musical instruments can inspire such gentle feelings of love as the piano. Greenville’s premiere concert pianist, Emile Pandolfi, will be giving a special Valentine’s performance at The Greenville Little Theatre at 8PM on the 14th. A pre-performance reception will be held starting at 6:45PM. Tickets are available for $40 online and can be obtained through http://www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.

All this fine dining and romance may make you and your Valentine decide to truly make a night of it. Why not be a “tourist” in your own hometown and book a room at the historic Westin Poinsett. Their wonderful Spa Package offers a room for $349 a night for two (or $249 a night for one, if you want to give your significant other some “quality time” alone) and includes a One-Hour Customized Therapeutic Massage in their River Falls Spa. Some restrictions apply and advance reservations are required. Find out more at http://www.westinpoinsettgreenville.com.

Plato once said “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” Well, in your case, maybe not a poet, but all this romance may bring out the creative genius in you and may put you in the mood to paint a masterpiece or inspire a culinary creation of your own. Sassy Paints is offering art classes in a romantic theme with their recreation of “Out Tree” Reservations are required and rates and other information are available at http://www.sassypaints.com. For the infatuated foodies among us, Charleston Cooks is offering a Couples Cooking Class on February 13th. For more information, call 335-2000. Or you may just want to stroll down Main Street, holding hands and checking out all the cool art galleries, shops and sites our fair city has to offer. However you decide to celebrate, LOVE is definitely in the air in Downtown Greenville!



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!



Well, we’ve made it through 2012…despite the Mayans’ (& others) predictions to the contrary. Now you are looking for ways to ring in 2013 in style. No worries…Downtown Greenville offers several events to help you make this New Year’s Eve an evening to remember!

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues “Blue Year’s Eve” Parties at The Handlebar have taken on an almost mythical status. Nothing welcomes a whole new year quite like the incendiary blues of Mac Arnold and his “juke-joint rockin’” band. This celebrated bassist, who played with the legendary Muddy Waters, can definitely be considered a beloved musical institution here in the Upstate. Joined by his fellow bluesman from Chicago, Mr. Joe Moss, Mac aims to rock in 2013 in style!  Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the genius of this blues icon! Tickets are $16 ($18 for those under 21) and are sale now at The Handlebar. For more information, visit www.handlebar-online.com.

For a chance to see a blues star in the making, swing on by Mac’s Speed Shop and rock out to the blazing guitar licks of teenaged phenom, Marcus King. This very talented young musician and his band will be ringing in the New Year with some wicked tunes that’ll be impossible to sit still through. This special NYE performance is free to Mac’s customers, and starts at 10PM. For more information, see www.macsspeedshop.com.

Flashback to the 80’s at Wild Wing Café with Greenville’s favorite retro band, Retro Vertigo!  Featuring big hair and sunglasses at night, these sharp dressed men perform everything from The Talking Heads and Devo to REO Speedwagon and Cheap Trick.  For only a $5 cover charge at the door, you too can rock out to…well…U2! There will be drink specials and party favors galore, as well as a free champagne toast at midnight! For details, call 242-9453.

RockHouse Greenville says “Why limit the festivities to just ONE location, when you can have the NYE Bash to end all NYE Bashes at TWO locations?” This year, their New Year’s Eve Party will take place at both Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen, as well as The Lofts at Falls Park. The $20 cover charge will get you a Hollywood-style Red Carpet Arrival, free Champagne toast, pulsating dance music from 2 DJs and drink specials unlike any other club in Greenville. To purchase tickets and for more info, visit www.rockhousegreenville.com.

If you prefer to welcome 2013 in a more relaxed, laid-back manner, then head over to Smiley’s Acoustic Café for their Smilin’ New Year’s Eve.  Chill out to the indie tunes of Kelly Jo Connect, followed by those Downtown faves, The Swingin’ Richards. As always, there is no cover charge…just a good time with good people. For more information, see www.smileysacousticcafe.com

For those looking for a hot NYE party with some cool jazz, you are in luck! Two of Downtown’s premier jazz clubs are ringing in the New Year in their own stylish manner. High Cotton will be serving a special New Year’s dinner, with music provided by the Jamie Wright Experience. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 335-4200. Not to be outdone, the Brown Street Club will be ushering in 2013 with a little help from the smooth sounds of  Dan Z followed by The Shane Pruitt Band.  For more information or to make reservations, see www.brownstreetclub.com.

For Downtown thespians looking to start 2013 in a dramatic fashion, the Greenville Light Opera Works invites you to join them for their 2013 New Year’s Gala and Fundraiser at Centre Stage. This benefit event for Greenville’s Light Opera Works will feature an open bar, a dessert buffet, dance music provided by Innfusion and both silent and live auctions. Opera and musical theatre lovers will also be treated to a special cabaret performance by Ms. Andrea Leap as well as a sneak peek performance of GLOW’s 2013 season. Tickets for this swanky soiree are $100 per person/ $180 per couple and can be obtained through www.greenvilleopera.org.

So there you have it Downtownies…eight ways to ring in the New Year…to suit every party style and budget. And, as always, if you’ve enjoyed too much revelry of the alcohol-related manner, please take a cab home. We want you around to enjoy all the fun Downtown Greenville has to offer in 2013. Happy New Year!

Just in case you’ve had too much fun, here are numbers to some of the area’s Cab Companies. Please remember that this is their busiest night, so be patient and expect delays …

Yellow Cab – 864-233-6666

Greenville Metro Cab – 864-235-8807

Budget Cab – 864-233-4200



The Holidays seem to bring out the best in most folks. Whether you are dropping a few dollars into a Red Kettle, providing gifts for children who are less fortunate or gathering canned goods for our local food pantries, this time of year makes many of us dig a little deeper to help our fellow humans. Combine that sense of charitable giving with some of our great local music, and the combination would make even the “Grinchiest” heart grow three sizes!

The Handlebar has long donated its Listening Room for some of the best fundraising concerts in town, and December is no exception! This Friday, December 14th, join the guys from Outshyne as they throw a Dixie-Fried Country Christmas Bash to benefit the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots. Joined by friends and fellow do-gooders, The Smith Outfit, Josh Owens & Anna Leigh, this rockin’ Holiday happening is sure to get your toes to tappin’ & your rump to shakin’! Tickets are $11 in advance and $13 the day of the show (a $2 surcharge is added for those under 21) and the music is set to start at 9PM. Collection bins for toy donations will also be positioned throughout the venue.

For more than a decade, Greenville’s favorite jam band (and all-around nice guys), The Work, has been hosting their annual concert to benefit local charities. This year’s event, The Work’s 11th Annual Christmas Jam, will take place on Friday, December 21st at The Handlebar. Joined by such local talent as Acoustic Syndicate, Yo’ Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Millifungus, The Bad Popes, Doug Jones & more, many consider this event to be THE Holiday Party of the year! The guys will be onstage at 7PM and play in a big ‘ol jam session until they decide it’s time to stop. This year, the American Red Cross will benefit from proceeds of this concert, to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy and other disasters. Tickets are on sale now for $15 and will be $18 the day of the show. For more information on this and other concerts at The Handlebar, visit www.handlebar-online.com.

On Wednesday, December 19th, local acoustic artist, Kylie Hinze will be performing her annual concert to benefit The Ellen Hines Smith Girls Home. Taking place at The Channel, this evening of Holiday music will also feature a silent auction & a visit from Santa.  With special musical guests, 4th Shade Avenue (from Simpsonville), Kylie will take the stage at 7PM until 9PM. A donation of $5 is requested as admission at the door. For more information, visit www.thechannelonline.org.

Downtown Greenville comes alive with music and good will every Holiday season! Take time to enjoy these and other wonderful events that take place in our fair city. I’d be willing to bet you will come away from these celebrations with the “strength of 10 Grinches…plus two!” Happy Holidays, Y’all!

More Downtown Businesses That Are Giving Back in Unique Ways…

  • Traveling Chic Boutique – Collects in-store donations for such local charities as Safe Harbor, Cancer Society of Greenville County, Greenville Humane Society, Ronald McDonald House, Meals on Wheels & Loaves & Fishes.
  • 864toGo.com – Donating a portion of their December food sales to The Special Olympics.
  • Subway – Participating restaurants are hosting Salvation Army Angel Trees to collect toys & clothing for children who would not otherwise receive gifts.
  • Red Ribbon ReSale Shop – With an eclectic assortment of items, this resale store benefits the many programs of AID Upstate, which offers support and information for those battling HIV/AIDS.
  • Safe Harbor ReSale Store – Featuring mostly gently used, upscale clothing, proceeds from this resale shop supports programs that aid victims of domestic violence.
  • Soby’s – Their Thursday Guest Bartender Happy Hour, from 5-7PM weekly, donates 20% of proceeds to area charities.
  • The Barkery Bistro – Supports local animal shelters and rescue groups with their monthly Yappy Hour events.
  • Coffee Underground – This cornerstone of Downtown’s caffeinated community supports several local charities through donations and fundraisers.


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 – http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/greenville

■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 – http://www.westinpoinsettgreenville.com/restaurant

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

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

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

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

 



et cetera