Weekend crowd at Social | photo by Christian Barker
Walking down Gervais Street in the Vista, Social Bar and Lounge is easy to miss. The small club is tucked inconspicuously behind two buildings, having grabbed the secluded spot that once belonged to the whiskey-enthused Rust. It looks cool enough from the outside, accented by low-key blue lights that highlight the roof’s unusual curve, but the space inside is tight. Only a few feet separate the edge of the stage from the corner of the main bar, providing an up-close encounter with the EDM DJs who provide the entertainment.
But despite its possible impediments, the 350-capacity club is thriving, reeling in marquee electronic names like Bassjackers, Borgeous and — on May 7 — the colorfully kinetic Chainsmokers, currently riding the wave from their punchy and sardonic single “#SELFIE,” which has racked up more than 86 million YouTube views since dropping in January. Opened in 2012, Social has quickly established itself as a surprising new hotspot, bringing Columbia national and international talent in a genre that has often passed it by.
What: The Chainsmokers
Where: Social Bar and Lounge, 918 Gervais St.
When: Wednesday, May 7, 10 p.m.
With: J Scarlett, M00DY
Price: $10 ($15 under 21)
More Info: socialcolumbiasc.com
“In this area, there’s a lot of different bars,” offers Matthew Sakatos, Social’s technical director. Last year, while still living in Charlotte, the audio-visual design specialist started working with the club on some of its bigger events, including a December appearance by the Nevada DJ Starkillers that helped solidify Social’s current success. Swept up by the energy surrounding the venue, he came on board in an official capacity two months ago.
“It’s a really big college scene,” he continues. “But there really wasn’t something that was really magnificent when it came to EDM.”
Social sought to fill this void, starting its push by packing the club with local talent. Bright and acerbic trap duo LUCiD and the more smoothly bass-knocking M00DY were among several local EDM outfits that hit the room regularly, often a few times each month. The opportunities granted these up-and-comers a new level of local popularity, while allowing Social time to shore up its resources before chasing down bigger names. For Nick Lovaas, one half of LUCiD, it’s been a win-win proposition.
“We were just excited to play there as much as we could,” he explains. “Around here, man, an EDM spot is rare. There’s Red Hot [Tomatoes], and we used to have the [Five Points] Pub back in the day before it closed down. For a good sound system and a nice little space, Social is heaven-sent.”
With cash to spend, Social focused on courting powerful talent agencies such as Circle and AM Only, booking the lesser-known acts the companies were anxious to get gigs. Those relationships established, the venue was able to grab more popular artists from their rosters — AM provided pulse-pounding Turkish DJ Deniz Koyu; Circle sent Kennedy Jones and Mightyfools — an advantage Sakatos will continue to leverage.
The finances behind these bookings are daunting. The flashier names regularly cost Social well more than $2,000, a hefty payout for a room that holds less than 400. The venue has battled this issue by selling tickets to its biggest shows, but it prefers to forgo a cover charge, leaning on the profits from drink sales and VIP upgrades.
But while the formula is delicate, Sakatos continues to push. The new Turnt Up Thursdays, started last week, aim to tempt college kids to the Vista by offering surprising acquisitions — Kennedy Jones, for instance — with no cover. He also wants to use his new connections to organize one-off parties in larger rooms, attracting artists that Social can’t fit.
“The past couple months have been a privilege, to bring in these big names and see exactly why they got so big,” Sakatos says. “I think our clientele sees that and respects that.”
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com
Currently seeking a friendly & detail-oriented individual for an Administrative Assistant/Data Entry Clerk position on our Administrative Office team. Primary responsibilities include: Data entry, process incoming & outgoing mail, good communication skills required. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: email@example.com.
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com