Southern Hops

by The Flossip on February 7, 2011

in Pee Dee Living,Places to Eat,Restaurants,Things to do in Florence, SC

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,
Florence SC
(Off Palmetto Street near Celebration)
(843) 667-1900

(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.

Southern Hops Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 June 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

We still have not been here, but plan to eventually. I like the concept a lot.

2 Molly J March 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I am always willing to give a restautant a second try….we went with friends on a Thursday night…we had to seriously hunt down a waitress and finally had to ask a manager for help…I was the told the Ruben sandwich was just great and that they even use their specialty cole slaw in it….and we ordered a large pizza also….well the Ruben came without any slaw, the meat was so tough i couldn’t bite throught it…the pizza never came after 1 1/2 hrs and then we were told they couldn’t even find our order …30 min latter it came…it was not cooked and the dough was soggy….just wish the food was better…

The atmosphere was great for a relaxing time with friends, and the vastness of the place was appealing…even enjoyed the shouffle board….although I would go back and have a drink, I’m not so sure I would order any food…

3 NoneYa February 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Like Sally, I had the chicken sandwich and was also not impressed. Very dissapointed with the wings as well. They only had two home brews and one was out. I ordered a cider and found out when I got the check it was $9. (I can say in thier defense it was larger than I thought…but the menu lacks sizes and prices.) Hopefully they’ll get it together soon. I don’t plan on returning.

4 ES February 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm

This restaurant is smoke-free. Another interesting point is that, presumably in an effort to curb obesity, this restaurant does not serve any fried foods. The food I had was good. Unfortunately, I had to wait about and hour and a half to taste it. My friends and I went on a Friday night and got seated right away but were practically forgotten the rest of the night. This place really does need to work out the wait time before it loses so many customers, it can’t stay “afloat” any longer.

5 Rachael February 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I’m excited something like this has come to Florence!

6 Lisa February 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm

We went on a week night and had really great service and the food was good…..wings, pizza, pretzel platter, lots to choose from. I normally will not try different types of beer but the Goldilocks brew was really good. I have heard both good/bad service reviews but like any new restaurant, it takes time to get it just right!

7 Nicole February 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Totally agree with your take on a porch — outdoor seating is a huge plus, especially when temps increase and so does the taste for beer! I bet that Sweet Tea martini is delicious.

8 Sally February 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Is the beer ready? The only time I have been I got a chicken sandwich. It had absolutely no taste! I do look forward to going back and trying something new. My husband enjoyed his BBQ pork sandwich. It would be a great place to go with friends just for a few drinks.

9 Kurt February 7, 2011 at 11:26 am

I’ve been there several times and enjoyed every minute of it’s non-corporate, non-chainy smoke free environment. Very fair assessment by Mr. Flossip and I would agree with most points. The food is very good and the home brews are excellent! I’m ready for warm weather so I can sit out in the beer garden and partake of more.

10 Mark February 7, 2011 at 11:06 am

10 of us had dinner there Saturday Night. I ordered the Buff Chix Pizza and a Yuengling. Our server was Kristen G.
This was our first time at Southern Hops. Our server was on top of it and did a great job. The pizza was awesome and the atmosphere was great! Not to mention my wife and I had a great time with our friends.
We eat out rarely, but we will be back sooner than later.

11 Todd February 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

Sounds interesting. Is it smoke-free?

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