Vickery's closes ... for now

The sign on the door of Vickery's Bar and Grill downtown reads: 'Thank you! 18 years she's tired.' The popular Beaufain Street hangout closed Sunday night. Owners say they are looking for a location that is closer to the new center of downtown Charleston.

Downtown Charleston diners and drinkers have lost a popular, late-night hangout while its owners look to relocate.

Vickery's Bar and Grill closed Sunday after an 18-year run at its quiet Beaufain Street location. The restaurant, which could hold about 260 people, drew tourists, longtime customers and students from the nearby College of Charleston.

"I'm real sad. That's a great restaurant," said Kathy Britzius, director of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association. "Their concept was very good -- very casual. It mixed age groups. It had a good feel to it."

General manager Geof Wisdom said the owners, a partnership called SWNN, want to move the restaurant to a different downtown location by year's end, if possible.

He noted the downtown area's revitalization, which has sent the social scene up the peninsula, and the restaurant's quirky spot off King Street as reasons behind the decision to relocate.

"We're a bit off the beaten path," he said.

Wisdom said the operation wasn't hit by the economic recession, which curbed some consumers' appetites for eating out.

"Anything downtown seems to be doing fairly well," Britzius said.

The restaurant group's Mount Pleasant location overlooking Shem Creek will continue to operate, as will the group's Gene's Haufbrau in West Ashley and several Atlanta restaurants.

On Monday, Wisdom said he was busy closing down the operation: transferring nonperishable foods to nearby restaurants, packaging up equipment for storage and cleaning the remaining space.

"We're making sure to close it down with dignity," he said.

Reach Katy Stech at 937-5549 or