East Cooper bar and music venue the Village Tavern closed for business on Sat. Jan. 21. Manager John Morlan broke the news to City Paper today. Morlan and talent buyer David Warren took over the Crickentree Village venue in mid-2010 and invested a considerable amount of hard work renovating the kitchen, bar, and live music areas, adding a new stage and PA system. They opened for business on Nov. 18, 2010.
Original owner Trey Lofton opened the Village Tavern in 2002. Through the years, the venue established itself as a hotspot for original live music.
"It was a culmination of factors," Morlan says of the decision to close. "Business was up down at times, but that's to be expected with us being in business less than 18 months. It really was a culmination of various business and personal issues that led us to a business asset sale."
The ongoing construction project along Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in front of the venue discouraged traffic into the shopping center as well. Other businesses and restaurants in the area continue to struggle with the issue.
"It was a fun and interesting year or so," Morlan adds. "We offered something we thought Charleston would love. We always wanted a place where people could go and get great food, have lots of different beer, and see live music. I thought there were enough sports bars in the world. I feel like we had some great bands play, and there were a ton of little-known but extremely talented musicians that took that stage. The Tavern was important to us for several reasons besides the nostalgia of us going out and seeing live music there in our younger days. We wanted there to be a live music venue east of the Cooper. Even though some complained that we changed the interior, we tried to keep the spirit of the old place, which to me was this place to go see great live music acts. I think we accomplished that."
Morlan says that there's already a new owner with plans to reopen the venue under a different name in the near future. Stay tuned.