detail minibottles Richards Bar

Minibottles, a rarity now in the state, at Richard's Bar & Grill in Mount Pleasant on Friday, April 14, 2017.

Wade Spees/Staff

I am but a bartender, in the last dive bar in Mount Pleasant. This bar is the last of the Mohicans, the last stronghold of the eclectic crowd, the last semblance of what this town looked like 30 years ago. We are the dinosaur among the trendy mall eateries, the strip mall takeover, the $12 drink.

We are a bar. There is no “kid’s menu,” no worry about offending your inherent sensibilities. We do not cater to the politically correct. Our boss, Richard, is the defender of the downtrodden, a beacon for the blue-collar working man. He’s self-made, and will extend a kindness to anyone in need. His business model is “keep it simple, stupid” — and he is nothing if not consistent. He cares. Maybe too much.

I’m local to a fault. I don’t like the increase in population. I remember a time when dirt roads outnumbered gas stations, and when a home on the creek was stick built for under $240,000. Times were simpler, slower and you did business with family and friends.

This is not the Charleston I grew up in. Its charm has been exploited and changed into something unrecognizable, and it hurts to watch. Plain and simple, my kind is a dying breed, outnumbered at every turn.

The new Mount Pleasant is not our champion. It doesn’t recognize the heritage and history that comes with a bar like ours. We’re viewed as an eyesore, an inhibitor of growth, and are poorly thought of, much like a house of ill repute — rough, a place known as harboring the last of the town’s undesirables.

Yet, in this place, the low mix with the 1 percent, black with white, Democrat with and Republican. Polar opposites imbibe in fellowship and harmony and alcohol, in a terrarium of sorts, seemingly built for one type of animal. Yet we all tend to get along and enjoy each others company.

Everyone is subject to our credo, “Be Nice, Be Good, Or Be Gone.” This definitely reaches beyond our doors into the Southern mentality — assimilate or kick rocks towards your next destination.

We need your help. We need your patronage, your well wishes, your support. Once we’re gone, nothing will ever mirror this place again. It’s lost to time and space, reduced to a story about how things were, and what fun was had.

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L.R. Smith

Island Club Drive

Charleston