WEST ASHLEY BAIT & TACKLE
1117 Magnolia Road
West Ashley Bait and Tackle is old school — since 1963. The tackle store turned bar reopened last November as a "bluegrass tavern," and its laid-back vibe is beckoning West Ashleyans to make it their second home.
Owners Yates Dew and Andrew Hollowell kept it simple, leaving the turquoise building at the intersection of Magnolia Road and Highway 61 as it was, while sprucing up the inside with modern amenities like an internet jukebox, a pool table, and three big-screen LCD televisions. The nonsmoking bar and dining area glow with the blue lights of Pabst Blue Ribbon lamps along the walls, enticing the poor drinker to "never stray far from their PBR" — always $1.50 for an ice-cold can. A bottle of Miller High Life will run you $1.75, on up to a rotating array of 'dank' beers in the $3-$4 range. The wall-length ice trough is always stocked with a healthy selection. For now, happy hours are from 4-6 p.m., featuring $1.75 domestics.
A door from the main room leads to a patio/smoking porch featuring a stage and tables with overhead space heaters. Every other Friday, local pickers Flatt City pack a foot-stompin' crowd in to hear their high-energy bluegrass. As the weather warms, the tarps will come down on the patio and some highly regarded bands will start rolling through — the Biscuit Burners are scheduled for March 18 and the Hackensaw Boys are in the works.
West Ashley Bait and Tackle is a diamond in the rough on Highway 61. "Who knows what we'll be talking about a year from now," said Hollowell. "Del McCoury and the boys out back." Big dreams, but realistic. Chilly beer, quality food, and great music in a place where folks can feel at home is a darn good recipe for success. Go to relax at the Bait and Tackle, just don't go looking for nightcrawlers. —Stratton Lawrence