THE MAP ROOM1650 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.
Billed as a live music venue, the newly opened Map Room occupies a cavernous space in West Ashley's Village Square shopping center. A stage and wooden dance floor dominate one end of the venue while scores of restaurant tables contribute to an interesting dining-turned-concert venue hybrid. Speakers perched on wooden barrels emblazoned with the Jack Daniels name and a smattering of vintage-looking maps comprise the basic decor. I confess to having a slight twinge of nostalgia for the old Desperado upon arrival. Local acts take the stage Wednesday through Saturday. All shows start at 10 p.m. and are void of a cover charge unless otherwise stated. On a recent weekend, the CP's own Ballard Lesemann treated the audience to his musical stylings behind the kit. Guinness and Bass dominate the tap wall at this predominantly beer-swilling establishment, although an interesting wine list accompanies the pleasant dinner menu. Happy hour specials include 50 cents off draft beer, a dollar off house liquor, and 50 cents off top shelf liquor every weekday, while house-ground burgers and chicken sandwiches are specially priced at $5. Watch out, the waffle fries paired with a thick stout will have you coming back time and again to the Map Room, which is likely to become a neighborhood hang-out in short order. Bonus: Loads of free parking thanks to its location in a shopping center.