June 13, 2018 § Leave a comment
Event Organizers Anticipating a Full House at Popular Venue Charleston City Papers Reader’s Voted Best Country Bar, Deemed a “Country Gal’s Dream”
Easton Corbin made history when his self-titled debut album yielded two consecutive No. 1 hits, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” in 2010. That was the first time since 1993 any American country male artist had achieved the same success. The Trenton, Florida native, who once worked at Ace Hardware while building his following, eventually moved to Nashville and signed with Mercury Records in 2009.
Currently touring the country on an exhaustive tour, the 36-year old singer/songwriter will hit HonkyTonk Saloon’s stage on Friday, June 22. Lauded for his traditional country sound, authentic lyrics, and mastery of understatement, Easton will wow the 600-seat audience with live performances of songs from his three studio albums and complete performance repertoire. Doors open at 6 p.m. The tickets include Corbin’s show and two opening artists’ shows. Tickets range in price from $25 to $65 and are available at Eventbrite.com
About HonkyTonk Saloon – HonkyTonk Saloon delivers two times the country-themed fun with locations in downtown, Charleston and nearby Ladson. Live country music, line dancing, mechanical bull rides, barbecue from Queology’s pitmaster kitchen, and a slew of delicious brews and cocktails make HonkyTonk an excellent place to party with friends. The Ladson location is located at 192 College Park Road. For more information call 843.569.6000 or visit HonkyTonkSaloon.com
May 14, 2018 § Leave a comment
Celebrating 35 Years in Food & Beverage, 60th Birthday, and Entertaining Millions with HonkyTonk Saloon’s General Manager Bob Shipley
Bob Shipley went off to University of South Carolina to study law, following in the footsteps of his father, who worked as both a lawyer and a judge. After a year and a half the Goose Creek native changed course and started studying at MUSC. He worked nights to make extra money at a club. Thus began what would become a 35-year stint in the food and beverage industry with a nod towards entertainment.
“I’ve had over 2,500 people work for me over the years and in fifteen years at Desperados and another seven years at The Plex (2001 to 2008) we entertained over four million people,” says Shipley. “At Desperados, we entertained anywhere from 1,500 to 1,800 per night. Country was hot, really at its peak. At HonkyTonk Saloon (recently named Best Country Saloon in City Paper’s Best of 2018 issue), we average 500 to 700 on weekend nights. It’s one of the top country nightclubs in the southeast and one of the biggest attended venues in the area,” he added.
Despite his tremendous success, Bob Shipley is a humble man who happens to love his work and takes tremendous joy in keeping his clientele happy, safe and entertained. “We strive for great service and a great product. People need an escape. We strive to provide a safe atmosphere, especially for the ladies, that’s paramount. It is satisfying to see people have fun and appealing to see people have a quality dining and entertainment event.”
Reflecting upon his 35 years in the business, Shipley waxes sentimental. “I’m so blessed to have so many people work with me, literally thousands.” In addition to his work, Shipley takes exceptional pride in his children, Ryan and Lauren, both of whom are committed to spreading goodwill and giving back to the world. Ryan is in law enforcement and Lauren is a mental health technician about to take her sixth trip to Africa to assist orphanages and an artisan program for the underprivileged. “She’s a special person, they both are. God blessed them with the ability to make the world a better place.”
Shipley is so committed to Lauren’s cause, he is donating proceeds from $10 spaghetti dinner and raffles at his birthday party and anniversary to Artisan Global, the charity Lauren works with.
At HonkyTonk Saloon since 2016, Shipley was President of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association for two years, Vice President for four years, and on the board for fifteen years. “It’s astounding how much the culinary industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. People always want to share a story with me about how great our area is. I love to do my best to give back to the community.”
HonkyTonk Saloon is located at 192 College Park Road, Ladson, SC. For more information, call 843-569-6000 or visit honkytonksaloon.com
April 25, 2018 § Leave a comment
In its Best Of issue published today, April 25, writer Mary Scott Hardaway writes a glowing review of HonkyTonk Saloon Ladson. The most fun you can have with your boots on. Here’s a recap:
By Mary Scott Hardaway
The moment I entered into the dimly lit Honkytonk Saloon situated right off of I-26, exit 203 to Ladson, it was all Bud Light wishes and rhinestone dreams. I could feel the beer chasing my blues away, the whiskey drowning my worries … I knew I’d be okay. I thought to myself, grinning ear to ear, “Damn, those were some good directions.”
My sister and I first visited the country western bar on a Saturday night. It was still early, around 7 p.m., and the free hour of couple’s dance instruction was just getting started. With our fiances preferring the bar scene to the dancefloor, my sister and I partnered up with about four other couples, ’cause some days, you just gotta dance.
Two cocktails deep (this uncoordinated cowgirl needs to pregame a little to boot scoot boogie, OK?), I clutched my sister’s hand as she attempted to lead “one and two and three and four.” I looked around. We were the only couple facing the same direction in which we started. I wondered if we’d even moved.
“OK just pay attention,” I urged my sister; she nodded emphatically, sipping her vodka soda until the ice started to clink. It was only every other memory that I had of my sister chugging a rail vodka in a bar that led me to believe we were probably not going to master the West Coast Swing that night.
The instructor moved across the floor like a landslide — like one bourbon, one shot, and one beer — like a lifted F-150 on a red dirt road. You get the idea. She was a pro. She smiled patiently at our scuffling feet and swung the other dancers around the shiny wooden floor as the band from Nashville started to set up in the background. I ordered another vodka.
A week later and finally recovered from my honktonky hangover, I visited the bar on a Wednesday afternoon to chat with managers Bob Shipley and Shelly Shattuck and some bar flies. Over a shot of Jack Daniels Honey — well, two, split three ways, it was 4 p.m. after all — regulars Anthony Daubs and a man who called himself Rusty Shackelford informed me that people don’t come here for “that IPA scene.” My vodka/Bud Light/maybe some bourbon? hangover could attest to that — usually I’m a slow, steady saison sipper on a Saturday night.
“That’s out where you are, and that’s if you want to go back and relax,” say “Shackelford.” “They’re so heavy. The point here is the environment.” The single Daubs, who is here after work most days, says a Friday or Saturday evening brings out a lot of other singles. We didn’t ask him his success rate with pick-up lines, but he seemed amicable. Hell, everyone there was friendly. And not in that cheeseball saccharine, “oh let me try to sell you on this place” bullshit.They were just genuinely having a good time.
And why wouldn’t you? Even for a creature of habit who prefers clutching a crowler in a taproom to dancing on a bar, Honkytonk brought out the “Shit damn I wanna stay all night” in me. And for this 20-something homebody, that’s about as often as a cold day in July.
Even if staying into the wee hours on the weekend with, according to a security guard, anywhere from 500-700 other patrons (the place is HUGE), jamming to live country music and watching the servers hop on the bar for a coordinated dance (y’all seen Coyote Ugly?) isn’t your bottle of domestic beer. Honkytonk does it all.
“Tuesdays are open mic night, and we do a paint night for $10 on the second Tuesday of every month,” explains Shattuck. “Some Wednesdays are bike nights, with money going to a local children’s charity, some are truck/jeep nights with money going to a local PTSD foundation. Thursdays are ladies night — a lot of female regulars like to come and learn (for free) the dance the servers do on the bar. Fridays are line dancing and a DJ. Saturday is couple’s dance instruction and a live band and then a DJ later in the night. We’ve had a hypnotist, we’ve done comedy. We just started a jazz night.”
And then there’s the mechanical bull, which, “Shackelford” says you can “pay something like $5 and ride all night,” the pool tables, the laughably good happy hour prices.
“Country is hot right now,” says Shipley. “We are primarily a honky tonk, [people come here to] eat good food, drink a cold beer, dance to good music, and get great service. At the end of the day that’s what we’re about.” The spacious Honkytonk building, situated on an even larger parking lot, has changed hands quite a few times over the years. To solidify the identity of the less than two-year-old concept, Shipley knew the name was everything. “That’s why we came up with Honkytonk Saloon, we thought that said it all. There’s no doubt about what it is.”
It’s a country bar, it’s an after-work happy hour destination, it’s a hub for large, charitable events. It’s a meeting place for singles who want to dance all night, for families who come early for the barbecue, for the 85-year-old regular who, Shattuck says, closes the bar every Friday and Saturday night. It’s for a large demographic — races, genders, ages — driving in from Ridgeville, Mt. Pleasant, Johns Island, Summerville. It’s for those who stay ’til the ugly lights come on, for the cowboy who wants to prove he can ride that bull for 30 seconds. It’s as Shipley says, “the most fun you can have with your boots on.” And for this small town girl, it’s one helluva Saturday night.
April 12, 2018 § Leave a comment
Running is More than a Sport for Local Runner Lauren Shipley – It is a Purpose
Lauren Shipley began running two years ago and (at the time of this interview) was ramping up for her second Cooper Bridge Run, getting in about 15 to 20 miles of training per week. The 23 year-old Charleston native and daughter of HonkyTonk Saloon general manager Bob Shipley (pictured with her, bottom right), began running as a means to alleviate stress. “Initially, running was a huge therapeutic outlet for me. A wonderful way to relieve stress and anxiety while getting a great workout at the same time. Now, I really enjoy it. It’s a big part of my life.”
Shipley, who lives in downtown Charleston, finds inspiration in the city’s beauty, especially when she is running. “It’s actually a big part of how I got into running. I run a path around the entire peninsula and am always seeing new things and the water is so soothing.”
Helping the disadvantaged is another very big part of what drives Shipley’s running purpose. A professional mental health tech who works at a behavioral health hospital, she will be taking her sixth trip to East Africa this fall where she will be working to aid children and artisans in Uganda. After, she will head to Ethiopia to participate in her first marathon, Ethio Trail Marathon, which is a fundraiser for the artisans she will be assisting.
The Cooper River Bridge Run (a 10K run that took place April 7), is one of the running steps she took to prepare for the marathon. “I just love it. It is absolutely about the sense of unity. I teared up last year. Standing there with 40,000 people cheering you on. It is indescribable.”
Lauren’s tip for race success? “I always try to stay focused. My main thing is to settle into a motivational play list. My favorite right now is Fight Song by Rachel Platten.”