As you all have probably heard by now, we lost. And by we, I mean the men and women who frequent the bars along Upper King. The City of Charleston has passed the bar ban. It's over. It's done. It's fine.
Whether you regularly embark on a long night of stunt drinking or toss back a few after your food-and-bev shift grinds to a sweaty halt, know that the days of new bars on Upper King are over with.
Yes, there are a few late-night establishments that are already in the pipeline, although there might be some confusion over exactly who that applies to. But barring those and a few hotel bars — they're exempt from the 12 a.m. rule — there will be no new taverns slinging suds and mixing cocktails after midnight for one long and dreadful year.
However, there's no reason to believe that after the next 12 months have passed the City of Charleston will lift its moratorium. It's not going to happen.
Over the next year, the city will try to determine what to do to make sure the Charleston Brand remains unsullied in the eyes of Travel + Leisure
fanny-packers from Findlay, Ohio and that the needling needs of the teeth-gnashing nimbys around Upper King have all been met. But those findings are irrelevant. The city has already decided what happens next.
After all, Charleston city planner Tim Keane has been very clear on where the current administration stands: the Holy City doesn't need an entertainment district. Or at least not one on Upper King.
It doesn't take a degree in urban planning and a subscription to Condé Nast Traveler
to see that the late-night entertainment scene is being pushed toward Morrison Drive, far away from the knee-high-stomping grounds of the Fodor's-flipping masses.
One only needs to look at the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government's plan to turn NoMo into a new-urban eyesore
that looks tragically similar to Celebration, Fla. Of course, for that to happen the city will have to allow bars and restaurants to revitalize the area. Once the gentrification is complete, a new bar ban or something similar will be put in place, pushing night-life even further up Meeting Street, perhaps all the way to Spruill.
So in order to stop Upper King's transformation into a Disney-esque Main Street simulacrum — and save NoMo from a future Mickey Mouse makeover — there is only one thing that can be done: Upper King must secede.
As you may know, Charleston has a proud history of secession. It's in our blood, you might say. Which is why if anybody can do this and do it right, it is us.
But before we act, we must have a plan. Fortunately, I already have one.
The men and women of Upper King and their allies will first petition the City of Charleston, asking the Riley administration to peacefully allow Upper King to leave the city. The City of Charleston no longer represents them nor their interests. We will then draft a declaration of our intent and post it to every restaurant review on Yelp, and we will hand out pamphlets to every attendee at the downtown farmers' market. All will understand our cause, and all will know that it is just.
If Mayor Riley is a reasonable man, he will allow Upper King to secede. If not, then, sadly, my friends, this split will not be so amicable.
In the event that Riley chooses to extend his tyranny, we will be forced to fight.
We will chain bicycles to trees and lampposts, creating a wall around our city, and anyone who crosses over our borders had best be a friend.
We will employ an army of bouncers to patrol our streets to check IDs and formally eject anyone who doesn't look of age — namely anyone over 60.
We will encourage our bartenders and mixologists to serve water-downed drinks to tourists and anyone who doesn't support our cause.
We will send roaming packs of smokers and woo-girls into the surrounding neighborhoods to pollute the air with their smoke and their sorority-girl screams.
And if worse comes to worst, we'll pry up every single piece of blue slate and replace it with, gasp, concrete.
Sadly, even these efforts may not be enough. It's a frightening concept, but one we must all accept. I imagine that we may be forced to take the fight out of our fair city — and by that I mean the Kingdom of Upper King — and turn against our our brothers and sisters on Lower King, Meeting, East Bay, Market, and all the surrounding streets.
We will carouse at the Aquarium, we will carouse in the Market, we will carouse at Charleston Place, we will carouse in the very chambers of City Hall, we will never surrender, whatever the cost may be. Hopefully, that will be enough.
But let us not talk of even more dire matters now, my friends. Let's talk about the future. Let's talk about the victory that is ahead of us. Let's talk about the day that Upper King is a free land and we are a free people.
Secession now, secession tomorrow, secession forever.