This cheery spot–in “downtown” Salem–draws people from the Riverstone community, Keowee Key and The Cliffs. The taproom is 6 miles from Devils Fork State Park and just 1.3 miles from Hwy. 11, which makes it convenient for visitors stopping by after a day on Lake Jocassee or Lake Keowee.
The interior is bright and fun with unique touches and games for patrons to enjoy. The bar offers 14 craft beers on tap as well as domestic beer and wine. Rotating food trucks on site Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Wall Connect Four
Trivia Night on Thursdays
Music Bingo on Fridays
Karaoke every other Friday (after Music Bingo)
Live music Saturdays
In nice weather the patio is great for basking in the sunshine! It’s a comfortable little spot with tables, heat lamps (seasonal), cornhole boards, outdoor TVs and speakers. There’s a mobile jukebox to choose songs from your phone and a convenient walk-up window to order from outside. The bartender can serve another round of drinks without patrons going inside.
Food trucks pull up and park next to the patio Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They have a rotating schedule of trucks and you may find: Palmetto Spoon, Culbertson’s Kitchen Brick Oven Eats, Gigi’s Grill On Wheels, Carolina Classic BBQ, Wing Wagon, Lobster Dogs and La Alazan.
Spring and Summer Concert Series with live music on Saturdays from 6-9pm.
Click here for their website. Scroll down to Events where you’ll find upcoming events and food trucks on the calendar.
Above the patio, there’s a flat area for cornhole tournaments with up to 4 rows of boards. Prize money for tournament winners is collected from entry fees ($20 per person/$40 per team). 1st Place gets 80% payout and 2nd Place gets 20% payout. Check their social media for upcoming tournaments: Facebook and Instagram.
The business is c0-owned by Colt Burton and Randall Goins.
The building has been around for decades. It used to be a clothing store and prior to Colt and Randall moving in, it was used for clogging dance classes.
Salem was originally a lumber town and had six sawmills during its heyday. Major logging of the Jocassee Valley began in the 1880s and continued for decades. Up until WWII, there weren’t roads through the area for trucks to get the timber. The way of transporting logs was to move them down the rivers to sites where they could be loaded onto trucks or hauled off by train. Five rivers flow through the area: Whitewater River, Thompson River, Horse Pasture River, Toxaway River and Eastatoee River. These rivers were damned in the late 1960’s early 1970’s to create Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee.
Salem never was a big town, but it saw a bit of a boom during the 1980’s and 1990’s when the Bad Creek Hydro Station was under construction. Workers for Duke Power flocked to town to work on the project. An 1986 article from the local paper read, “So massive is the Bad Creak project, that after five years of clearcutting, blasting, excavation, and other work, workers have completed only 20% of the project. In another five years, however, the project is scheduled for completion. Units 1 and 2 of the hydroelectric project are to go on line in 1991 and units 3 and 4 in 1992.” Creation of Lake Jocassee led to establishing Devils Fork State Park for recreation purposes in the early 1990’s.
For about ten years, the town of Salem was a hub of activity with lots of Duke workers contributing to the local economy. They moved in with their families which helped support the town’s businesses and their children attended the community school. But when the Bad Creek Hydro Station was completed, most of the workers left town and Salem pretty much dried up. Tamassee Salem Middle/High School got down to as few as 10-12 in the graduating class and eventually the school closed. Salem didn’t see much action for about thirty years.
Although Salem remains rural, the popularity of Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park mean the area sees an influx of visitors coming in the spring and summer to enjoy outdoor recreation. The town of Salem is up and coming again. The vacated middle/high school houses a new Eagles Nest Arts Center and, with Twice A Town Taproom, people stroll the street and enjoying the casual small town atmosphere.
Colt and Randall are proud to be part of the town’s resurgence. They’re also excited that a second hydro station is in the preliminary phase–which would mean a new work force could be on the scene with more hustling and bustling around their little town.
Duke Energy is working to double the existing power generation and storage capacity available at Bad Creek. Duke owns property adjacent to the current hydro station and they have presented a preliminary layout to expand the project facilities. A second pumped storage station has been proposed and termed The Bad Creek II Power Complex. If everything comes together, this will result in years of construction and many workers back in the area.
Twice A Town: What’s that about?
Jennifer Moss, Assistant Curator/Education Specialist for Oconee History Museum, provided this explanation about Twice A Town:
“Salem existed as a community for many years before it was first incorporated in 1907. Salem boomed with timber and mineral companies bringing people into the community. In late June, 1915 a huge storm hit Oconee County, flooding many rivers. Salem was hardest hit. Most of the crops had been ruined and there was extensive damage to roads, bridges, and other community buildings. The years prior hadn’t been great for the town either, especially in terms of tax collection. The town had come to terms with its situation and voted to surrender the town charter. On January 15, 1916 Salem officially ceased to be a town. However, by the 1950s the Salem community had a resurgence. In February 1952, the community came back together to establish Salem as a town once more. On February, 1952, Salem was officially chartered by the state of South Carolina.
So this is why we say Salem is Twice A Town.”
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