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Davis keeps ties with Camden through Old Towne Tavern

Posted: December 23, 2010 11:12 a.m.
Updated: December 29, 2010 5:00 a.m.
Trevor Baratko/C-I

Camden native Patrick Davis (left), now a songwriter and musician in Nashville, and his business partner, Travis Maynard (right), worked recently to put the finishing touches on The Old Towne Tavern in the old Brew n’ Cue location on Broad Street.

When word broke that the songwriting, Nashville-residing Camden native Patrick Davis was opening a pub in downtown Camden, many people automatically assumed it’d be a music joint.

But according to Davis, that’s not really the case with his new establishment, The Old Towne Tavern at 1044 Broad St., which opened its doors for the first time last week.

“We will maybe have one or two shows a month, but we’re not really marketing ourselves as a music venue,” said Davis. “But when we do have a band or someone comes in, it’ll be a ticketed event … if people come out and see a show here, I want them to know it’s going to be worth something. I want this place to have a lot of value for people to come here. If they pay $5 or $8, they’re going to get their money’s worth.”

Davis’ vision is to create “a vibe that everyone in Camden can enjoy,” and he’s been working for months to create this vibe. The floor of the space had to be power cleaned numerous times, the bar completely refurbished, and new seating was installed along the wall opposite the bar. Davis said it took countless hours to remove the various “junk” -- for lack of a better word -- that had piled up.

“I want this to be a place that sticks around, a place where people in Camden are still going to in 30 years,” Davis said.

The first of the “ticketed events” will be a New Year’s Eve program tonight, when Patrick performs with a couple of band mates and his father, Rusty Davis, owner of Davis & Sons Guitar Shop down the street. Pairing the performance with the South Carolina Gamecock football team’s bowl game, and a champagne toast, it should be the unofficial grand opening, Davis says.

“These first couple weeks are kind of like a soft opening, we’ll still be getting things straightened out. New Year’s Eve will be our first big event, and then the grand opening will probably be in January sometime,” Davis said.

He was, however, quick to point out that the specifics of Tavern -- days and hours of operation, theme, drinks and food -- could change down the line. While he’s spent countless nights performing in them, Davis has never tried his hand at operating a bar. He’d never even thought about it. He was lured into the venture with longtime friend and owner of the White Mule in Columbia, Travis Maynard, who has developed a strong reputation for bringing in up-and-coming talent.

Camden Downtown Manager Wade Luther contacted Maynard to see if he’d be interested in filling one of the several vacant buildings along Camden’s downtown strip. Maynard agreed, and brought Davis on board.

“I didn’t see any reason not to. It’s been very exciting. Every day I’m learning something new,” Davis said. “Travis will probably be here a lot for the first few months since he knows the business. Hopefully I can get here every few weeks to enjoy the place.”

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