The Catch-Up: West Columbia pride bar settles on new name

By Natalie Szrajer and Jordan Lawrence
Posted 6/1/23

What the Chronicle believes is West Columbia’s first and only pride bar has settled on a permanent new name after changing ownership earlier this year.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

The Catch-Up: West Columbia pride bar settles on new name


What the Chronicle believes is West Columbia’s first and only pride bar has settled on a permanent new name after changing ownership earlier this year.

WE’S on Meeting, which for a brief time was known as Meeting Street Bar, is now The Spot on Meeting Street.

And as was indicated to the Chronicle immediately after the change in ownership, managers Havilah Huntington and Avery Mckenzie said the intent is to otherwise keep the bar, which initially opened at 735 Meeting St. in March 2022, largely the same.

“Our goal is to see it exactly like the same space that’s always been welcoming,” Huntington explained. “We want to honor [previous owner] Walking Eagle’s legacy and have a safe space for the LGTBQ community and all allies.”

Another cosmetic change aimed at allowing people to notice the bar easier is the new mural along the wall of the bar as people drive down Meeting Street headed toward Columbia.

“The mural was a gift from an artist. She did that out of goodwill for Walking Eagle’s honor,” said Huntington.

The managers said previous memberships are still honored and the membership fee remains the same.

“When Bill [Kinsey] and his [business] partners took over, there was concern that we were going to change. Rumors were heard in the community. It hasn’t changed and we’re still supportive,” said Huntington.

“Bill continues to honor Walking Eagle’s legacy and the commitment to keep the bar as is. Bill’s hope is for the community to come together,” said Mckenzie.

The owner and managers are looking to add more shows and host a songwriter’s open mic in hopes of supporting all local artists. They also said they want to be a hub where the LGTBQ community can find resources. — NS

Columbia man arrested for Lexington County murder

A Columbia man is accused of shooting a man to death.

According to a May 29 release from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, investigators determined, based on a review of evidence, that Tyrese Shevon Madison, 24, shot and killed Gary Anthony Kelly II while both men were sitting in the front of Kelly’s car on Foxfire Drive.

"Investigators have been working hard to develop leads in this case since it happened [the afternoon of May 25]," Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon is quoted.

Foxfire Drive runs through Piney Grove Apartments, located off Piney Grove Road near Interstate 26.

Madison, who was also charged in connection to drugs he had in his possession when he was arrested, was also found to be in possession of some of Kelly’s property, which he tried to hide and destroy, the release notes.

In connection to the shooting, Madison is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Deputies arrested Madison May 26 at his home in the Pine Grove complex. He was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, where he remains, bond having been denied. — JL

Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf changes hands

A lakeside restaurant is under new ownership.

Charlie’s Fisherman’s Wharf, located at 3224 Highway 378 in Leesville along Lake Murray, became Fisherman’s Wharf and Tavern in early May.

The seafood restaurant, which sits beside Captain’s Choice Marine and just down the road from Hollow Creek Distillery, is now owned by Terri Gervais. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, it now has live bands playing and has introduced karaoke and bingo nights.

The menu includes a range of seafood baskets along with burgers, po-boys, chicken sandwiches and traditional appetizers. — NS

Lexington County man sentenced for 2017 homicide


A Lexington County man was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for a 2017 shooting death.

Caleb Keefe, 22, was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Justin Simons, which occurred Sept. 17, 2017. Keefe was arrested four years after the shooting on Dec. 7, 2021, according to a release form the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which prosecuted the case.

Keefe was sentenced after pleading guilty to the manslaughter charge.

“A co-defendant in the case, Isaac Hidalgo, age 24, pled guilty in May of 2022 and was sentenced to 22 years for his role in the homicide,” the release states. “The investigation determined that Keefe shot Simons and that Hidalgo was driving the vehicle which carried both suspects to and from the crime scene.”

Investigators from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department determined that “Hidalgo and Keefe arrived at a residence on Stirlington Road under the guise of a marijuana purchase.  Evidence established that the victim was not armed. As the victim spoke with Hidalgo at the car window, Keefe approached the victim from behind and shot him in the back with a Mossberg pistol gripped 12 gauge shotgun. The victim attempted to flee and Keefe pursued him, shooting him again in the back. The victim collapsed in a nearby driveway. Keefe then robbed the victim by pulling items from his pockets.”

According to the solicitor’s office, Keefe fled with Hidalgo in a silver Kia after the shooting. The murder weapon was later  located at Keefe’s home, and DNA evidence tied Keefe directly to the weapon with GPS cell tower date placing his phone in the area of the crime.

While he initially denied involvement in the shooting, Keefe initially confessed in 2021.

“Keefe was age 16 at the time of this offense in 2017 and Hidalgo was age 19,” the release states. “Keefe was 20 years old once he was arrested and formally charged in this case in 2021.” — JL

the spot on meeting st, west columbia pride bar, we's lexington county


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here