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SWIG ‌ The Ice House



104 E. Doty Ave., Summerville
While the bar scene expands in and around Summerville's historic downtown district (hello Kickin' Chicken, O'Lacy's, McGuire's, etc.), one old favorite still stands out as a robust throwback to a cheerier, golden era: The Ice House. The bar's motto fittingly reads: "The club that's a step above the rest." Located upstairs from a busy restaurant just off the main drag, this busy little watering hole (a.k.a. "Upstairs at the Ice House," a.k.a. "The Crystal Ice House") serves as a warm, cluttered, no-nonsense tavern with a friendly atmosphere. It boasts one of the loudest happy hours in town. By midnight, it gets damn near deafening with the ring of laughter, beery conversation and debate, and clinking glassware. The red/orange and brick decor is covered from floor to high-beam with hundreds of color snapshots and old black-and-white photos, many featuring longtime regulars in silly poses. Antique tavern paraphernalia, license tags, and street signs hang over the L-shaped bar near the main entrance. Just around the corner stands an old table and a weathered 1951 Webster dictionary. On the same wall, the popular "Ice House Party Wheel" hangs alongside two dartboards. Across the room, a cool "old-style" jukebox stands filled with a surprisingly diverse selection of rock, rap, country, jazz, and blues tunes (bar manager Woody constantly takes song suggestions from the clientele). The bar features over 90 different beers on draft and in cans and bottles, as well as "the largest selection of liquors in the state" — including a menu of "house infused vodkas" of various fruit, herb, coffee, and spice recipes. The venue's dedication to hosting random local rock bands, folksingers, and karaoke nights remains intact. Altogether, it's quite clear why the place has been voted "Best Summerville Bar" by City Paper readers for seven years in a row. —T. Ballard Lesemann

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