Elliotborough Mini Bar

Good Grit's Favorite Lil' Dive Bar

Apr 23, 2018

It was love at first sight. Peering through the windows of small bar on the corner of Percy and Bogard in the middle of historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Jeff and Pamela Schultz just knew this bar was the one for them—a labor of love they were willing to move all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah, to undertake.

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The neighborhood the Elliotborough Mini Bar calls home is called Elliotborough. It’s just one of many areas of Charleston with its own unique nickname and style—places like Cannonborough and Ansonborough. It occupies a space no larger than 500 square feet, and with its unassuming exterior, you might think it was just part of someone’s home.

That’s why the owner’s description of it fits so well. Jeff and Pamela Schultz fell in love with what they now call their “community living room” in a city that, to them, is just as special.

“I’ve visited a lot of cities in this country, and Charleston is bizarrely unique. People have fun when they are here. Charleston is small in size, but it’s not—you know? It’s just friendly and open,” Jeff says, and I think to myself, That’s a pretty good description of this bar.

Elliotborough Mini Bar goes beyond a place where everybody knows your name. Sitting inside, chatting with the owners, I saw patron after patron come in—each one welcomed like a good friend. If a new person sat down, Jeff would stop the conversation briefly to lean over and introduce himself with a warm smile and friendly hand shake.

“We have patrons who, once a week or so, will pull up on their bikes, grab a glass of wine, sit here and chat for a few hours, and then hop on their bikes to go home,” says Pamela. “We know the importance of developing a relationship with them.”

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“Bizarrely unique” also describes the interior of Elliotborough Mini Bar. Jeff caught my glance as I looked around at the items on display.

“It’s a lot of silly things I’ve collected and stored over the years,” he says. An antique stained glass lamp from the 60s gives off a soft red glow, illuminating the bar and giving it an extra warm vibe. The walls are decorated with an array of old instruments, $2 bills given to them by patrons, vintage license plates, and items that belonged to Jeff’s grandfather, a former firefighter.

There are pictures of his grandfather on the walls of the bathroom. Vintage black and white photos showing him and Jeff’s mother (as a child) on a motorcycle. The photos are mixed in with an array of patron post-it notes with positive words about the bar, inspirational quotes, and fun sayings. A yellow one caught my eye, “Be everywhere. Do everything. Be Happy. Stay Weird.”

There’s a small stack of empty post-its on a small shelf mixed in with family photos, inviting you to leave a message of your own. It’s a personal touch and one that is right on par with this quirky bar.

Words by Crystal Bruce
Photos by Michael Hrizuk