Friday, July 19, 2013

Nick's Weird Adventures: The East Cooper Disco



Every day on my way to work, I pass by an odd looking green-painted building near the intersection of Hungryneck Blvd. and Venning Road called the East Cooper Disco. I wouldn't believe that it actually was a disco except for the fact that a sign out front constantly announces various DJs, live bands, and events before each weekend.

When I tried to ask people about the location, however, no one seemed to know anything. My online searches came up very little in the way of information, as well. I was only able to find a Facebook page, a couple of random mentions, and various map results. 

I did come across this promo video, but that didn't tell me very much other than it was definitely not a place I would hear Jimmy Buffett or a country music artist performing any time soon.





Otherwise, the building (and what went on inside of it) seemed to be a complete enigma to the town of Mount Pleasant along with the rest of the world.

When I told people that I was planning to visit the East Cooper Disco for an installment of Nick's Weird Adventures, the general responses I got were:

-"You're going to get shot."
-"Please don't get shot."
-"Do you want to get shot?"

Now in case any of you think these comments were racially motivated, they were made by many of my black friends, as well. To be fair, however, the exterior of the building does not inspire confidence that you are heading into a classy/safe environment.





When I asked my best friend Joe to head over with me on the evening of July 6, he was understandably a bit hesitant. We had already spent a large portion of that Saturday evening at a trendy place on Shem Creek. We had endured waiting 1 hour for a table and 2 hours for our food (which wasn't that great).

But I'm nothing if not persistent (and a master at relentless badgering). We departed from my house and arrived at the East Cooper Disco at approximately 9:45 PM. As we walked in, a greeter in a ticket booth (which looked suspiciously like a utility closet with a burned out light bulb) told us that it was $15 each for us to get in.

Things were already off to a bad start.

But when we walked into the main building, however, Joe and I were surprised to find that the interior of the East Cooper Disco looked MUCH better than the exterior. There was a light up technicolor dance floor surrounded by dinner tables and comfortable chairs which all faced a decent sized stage.

The bar area had regular seating and stool/table seating facing back towards the stage/dance area. There was also a pool table/TV section and more stool seating next to various groupings of incredibly comfortable leather couches. (There was also another unused bar on the opposite end of building).

These aren't stellar due to the lighting and my crappy photography skills, but here are a few photos and quick vidoes of the East Cooper Disco courtesy of my Instagram and Vine.












As Joe and I walked in and sat down at the bar, we noticed a couple of things:

1. We were the only white people in the place.
2. At 33-years-old, we were both probably the youngest people in the place, as well.

This was definitely an older crowd, but also a lot of fun to hang out with. With the exception of one drunk dude who tried to talk to us about his high school wrestling career (and what bar doesn't have one of those), everyone was incredibly friendly and laid back.

Joe ordered a beer from the bar and was shocked to discover that it was only $2.50. Me being a non-drinker simply ordered a Coke...and was nearly transported back to 1999 when it only cost me $1.00

Joe went on to say that the liquor selection wasn't very good, but he was incredibly happy with the fact that he could get quality beers without paying the "douchebag premium" that most bars tack on (and raise the total price over $7.00).


Good, cheap beer makes Joe happy.


While we listened to the opening act (a pretty decent bass player/singer named Ric McCants), Joe and I decided to play some pool.


After getting beaten by me (which I assure you was simply luck on my part), Joe and another bar patron decided to play for a little money. This (predictably) led to Joe getting his ass handed to him.




As the evening went on, Joe and I were having a lot of fun...and I was starting to get hungry. Waiting two hours and getting terrible service for moderately good food at dinner had not been enough to sate me.

The house DJ had been announcing that the kitchen was open all evening...and something smelled amazing. I asked one of the people at the bar what it was.

"Chicken wings; 4 for $5." she replied.

This seemed a bit steep, but I figured the cost was justified in my quest to get the full East Cooper Disco experience. My order (which arrived to me in less than 10 minutes) turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

The wings were delicious. They were also so large that I was unable to finish the last one. This was definitely a full meal sized portion.



The main act, however, was the best part of the evening. I had never heard of Sir Jonathan Burton before, but he was fantastic. We were treated to an upbeat mix of old school funk and hip hop. Burton himself was not only a great singer, but could shred on a guitar like you wouldn't believe.

Embedded below are a few quick snippets of his great set.







The dance floor had also finally come to life. People much older than us were getting down while Joe and I wisely sat back at the bar and enjoyed the music. No way were two white guys going to do anything but embarrass themselves trying to bust a move out there.

As the evening drew to a close, Joe and I said goodbye to a place that ended up being an unexpected surprise for both of us. It may be a cliche to say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that definitely applies when you're talking about the East Cooper Disco. What it lacks in exterior flashiness is more than made up for with its laid back atmosphere, delicious food and drink, and great live music.

Now I'm not saying every night will be like that if you decide to head over to 1162 Venning Road. This doesn't exactly look like my type of scene.





But if there's a live funk/soul/R&B band playing, than you can't do much better for a night of fun and good music.

Oh, and for those of you wondering about the whole "don't get shot" mystique, there was a police officer there. He was laughing and talking with the owners the whole time. As far as that one drunk dude, the owner of the bar actually came up to the dude and told him to leave us alone.

So yeah...much safer than I probably would have been downtown.


Final Verdict

Pros
-Great atmosphere. Very laid back and relaxing.
-Good beer for a better price than almost any other bar in the Charleston area.
-Food is amazing and doesn't cost much at all. Service was lightning fast.
-Great live music, active dance floor.
-Not crowded, but nowhere near empty, either. Plenty of space to move and mingle.

Cons
-Poor liquor selection. No draught beers.
-If you're looking to pick up girls, you better have an AARP card. Except for the cute bar tender, the average age looked to be at least 50.
-High cover charge.


Overall
A good place to have a good time; one of the best kept night club secrets in Mount Pleasant. I will be going back again.


But I will not be stepping onto that dance floor any time soon.



Check out the East Cooper Disco's Facebook page for updates on shows and events.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

If you'd like to see more pictures and videos from my skewed perspective, search the hashtag #NicksWeirdAdventures on my various social media accounts.

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