Midtown Bar and Grill on King Street quietly closed for renovations last August after a decade-long run as probably the most popular college bar downtown. And the decade had taken its toll.
Owner Mike Shuler says the place was in rough shape. Light fixtures were ripped off the walls, and the bathrooms, let’s not even talk about the bathrooms.
“As a prolific college bar for 10 years, you can imagine,” says Shuler, who didn’t just replace floors and fixtures but rebranded the bar in an attempt to flip the crowd and provide a more grown-up space.
“I have the crystal ball,” he jokes. “I know what’s coming.” As part of the development team that owns the Morris Sokol plat at 510 King St., Shuler does indeed know what’s coming because he’s the one bringing it. While he and his partners in that project are not ready to announce their plans, you can expect it to be as important a development for Upper King as Charleston Place was to Lower King. It will be the new centerpiece.
Shuler, a maturing 36 year old who employs around 250 people in his various businesses, says he also had the benefit of serving on the City of Charleston’s late-night task force. “Being on that opened my eye’s to everyone else’s perspective,” says Shuler, who admits he never intended to open a raucous college bar. “We were 25 years old and didn’t know what was going on. We’d never been in the restaurant business before.”
So that’s why he’s focused on “changing their stripes.” Midtown is no more. In its place is King Street Dispensary, a name inspired not by the cannabis industry but by the historic liquor laws in South Carolina. In the backyard of the building, they found several intact glass dispensary bottles,