After 17 years, The Whig is closed. Columbia's favorite dive bar shut down on Nov. 19, after a monthslong build up to its closure.
Located across the street from the South Carolina Statehouse, the bar had become the unlikely home to a mixed bag of sorts. White-collared politicians and lawyers brushed shoulders with the city's service industry and arts scene.
It all took place in a subterranean bar — The Whig was nestled in the basement of a downtown tower at 1200 Main Street — that was known for its tap list and solid bar food. The bar itself had transformed across its tenure, with owners talking of its reputation as an unapproachable, prohibitive space before an intentional effort to broaden its audience took place.
Owners announced in August that the bar would be closing. The news came as plans for a boutique hotel in The Whig's building became public. In the months since, details on that plan have emerged, with hopes to build a rooftop bar as well as fill The Whig space with a new bar and restaurant.
In the months since the closure became public, the bar was home to frequent large crowds. Co-owner Phill Blair said the bar had been 50 percent busier than usual. The Whig's owners have mulled future plans for The Whig, but no plans have been announced.
Free Time contributing photographer Kati Baldwin spent a portion of the bar's final night chronicling it. Here is a small gallery of Baldwin's photos, marking The Whig's final night. The entire collection can be found at free-times.com. DAVID CLAREY
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