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Columbia's iconic underground bar The Whig to close

Building containing subterranean dive bar sold, construction continues on hotel

COLUMBIA, S.C. — One of Main Street Columbia's iconic spaces has announced it will be closing sometime by the end of 2022.

Owners of The Whig, the subterranean dive bar at 1200 Main, posted on Facebook that the building "has transferred ownership and a massive construction project is underway to rehab the space."

Richland County property records show that the building is owned by State Capitol Hotel LLC. Developers are planning to rehabilitate the 100-year-old building and convert it into a hotel.

Will Green says he and Whig co-owner Phill Blair had hoped to stay but the building's owners are not renewing the bar's lease. The duo is exploring the possibility of relocating to the Main Street area.

Credit: The Whig

For the 17 years of its existence, The Whig has been a meeting place for a broad spectrum of Columbians and has been named the Best Bar in Columbia for seven years running by readers of Free Times. Green said it was a mission of The Whig to be more than a bar, to engage with the community through the Jam Room Festival and First Thursday events, and promote other venues such as Columbia Museum of Art and Richland Library.

"We see ourselves as a welcoming point in Columbia," said Green.

No closing date has been set, but The Whig's lease is up sometime this Fall.

Green said that business at the bar will probably pick up as folks want to come in for a final (or first) time. He asks that patrons bear with the staff and remain patient as The Whig tries to continue to present the best possible food and service as time winds down.

And if you are worried about that stuffed bobcat, don't, it will be heading home with Green. 

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