This post is written in its entirety by Mr. Flossip. We don’t agree on everything, especially the part about Clemson. Divided house!
Before I begin my foray into the Sim-City on Crack world of digital expression let me first introduce myself to all of you.
Yes it is true – Mr. Flossip does exist.
In a nutshell, I am an average Southern male who loves anything that feeds my ADHD, believes that wetting yourself while laughing is better than any medicine you will ever take, and that emoticons & internet slangs (lol, rofl, omg) are the work of the devil. (By the way, yes it is required to capitalize Southern.)
Formal introductions complete, let us begin to discuss something of regional, if not national, importance – a topic that has been a Pandora’s Box to some civilizations, and guiding light to others…the neighborhood bar.
According to my good friends at the Cambridge University Press, a bar is defined thusly:
- bar, noun (DRINKING PLACE) a place where especially alcoholic drinks are sold and drunk, or the area in such a place where the person serving the drinks stands.
I always laugh when people say they went to Broadway at the Beach and ‘hit all the bars’. Those aren’t bars. They are Jersey Shore knock-offs where people go to begin their eventual walks of shame.
In college we were surrounded by bars. As in any college town, most of them were similar to those described above. Others were that rare Cheers-type bar.
Then, in the late 1990′s a hybrid bar was born – the micro brew. The beer is produced, consumed and celebrated all in one place. And now it has come to Florence.
Recently Southern Hops opened in Florence.
This is not a chain, so the owners do not have the benefit of corporate training, corporate finances or corporate advice. These guys are learning as they go, which is why they are going through some start-up pains.
The wait staff is slow at times and needs to have more confidence in dealing with the world of micro-brewing. It takes more than just knowing what beer is on the menu – people want to know what it tastes like, what dark versus light stout means, and why someone would name a beer Dogfish Head. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should at least know what you are selling. And speaking of selling, an empty glass is an empty register. Wait staff should be very mindful of that fact.
The staff should also realize that your bar exists in a blue collar town. We work hard for our paychecks which means a Friday night date-night often involves kids (going out is expensive enough without having to pay a babysitter). Kids need food fast – have food that can be prepared quickly and brought to the table with little fuss. Happy kids make for happy parents…happy parents will soon return without the kids to consume more than just chicken strips.
Enough with the negative – here is the positive.
Southern Hops is a perfect addition to Florence. It is a true neighborhood bar run by local guys who went to school to learn how to make beer. (Dear high schools guidance counselor, thanks for not telling me that I could go to school to make beer…)
What truly makes South Hops a great addition to Florence is its uniqueness.
To begin with, the location is marked by what I can only describe as a large 20′ tall still proudly watching cars drive down Hwy. 76. Now this is not meant as humor, this is meant to describe a landmark. Ask anyone where to get BBQ in the city and they will reply, “under the brown/white pig on 2nd Loop”. After parking my gas guzzling vehicle in the gravel parking lot I stepped onto a small porch that seemed to beg for warmer nights. I have to tell you, any place that has a front porch is tops in my book.
As soon as I walked into Southern Hops I felt right at home. Although the inside is very spacious, it has this small town feel to it. In the pre-fab environment of commercial construction it was refreshing to be surrounded by, dare I say, actual wood. It’s as if South Hops has always been there – we just couldn’t see it.
Despite the openness, the layout allows for areas to be ‘claimed’ as your own. If you and a friend want to focus on a game, you can sit at the bar. (As an avid Clemson Tiger fan, sitting at the bar seemed the best place to help wash away my tears.) If you would rather play a game, you may sit in another area. If you and a date want to eat and occasionally check the score, you can sit at a smaller table. If you want to celebrate with friends, the staff will quickly pull a few larger tables together.
The bottom line is that no matter where you sit, you can carry on a conversation and enjoy the company of your entourage.
Although the food service was slow – the food was very good. The pepper Buffalo wings were very tasty, as were the varied styles of pizzas. Of course, had I not been busy trying beverages I’m sure I could have found room for more food.
Southern Hops is not quite ‘there’ yet. They still have some kinks to iron out. But considering the tough environment that exists for people who have never operated a restaurant/micro brewery trying to open one in today’s economy and in the snowiest winter on record, they are doing very well.
March Madness is right around the corner, warmer nights are visible on the distant horizon and college football will be here before we know it. You can not deny that these events will be made better with beer names like ‘Goldilocks’ or ‘Leroy Brown’.
Next time I will have to try something called a Sweet Tea martini. I’m not sure I am ready to jump into this metro-sexual identity but I am a sucker for good drinks.
If you are going:
911 S. Sunset Acres Drive,
(Off Palmetto Street near Celebration)
(Flossip notes: a) Mr. Flossip is alone in his love of Clemson. b) I’m withholding my thoughts until I go back for the second time. c) We certainly had a designated driver, you should too.