Tiger Town Tavern
After 10 p.m., you must be 21 to enter. TTT's is known for it's 21st birthday t-shirts (given free to all people celebrating their 21st birthday) and its unhygenic bathrooms. There are also several pool tables available on a first-come, first-served basis. Unfortunately, NTN Trivia has been discontinued. TTT's is also a popular pre-game hangout (must be 21 to enter on game days). [This policy leads to gameday misunderstanding between a sub-21 patron who is denied entrance in the fall of 2009, and an exchange of letters in The Tiger. -Ed.] Bingo is played on Tuesday nights and trivia is offered between 10 p.m. and midnight on Wednesdays.
Tiger Town Tavern is located in the oldest College Avenue business structure and actually occupies two buildings that were combined during a remodelling in the summer of 1980. The single story portion at 116 College Avenue, was a hardware store named The Feed Bag until about 1968. The first "bar" in downtown, The Study Hall, had opened in 1967 and when the two operators split up, one kept the Study Hall and the other renovated the Feed Bag into the Red Carpet Lounge in the fall of 1968. A food menu was offered in the early years. An advert in The Tiger in the fall of 1970 proclaimed "Hot Home Cooked Meals, Short Orders, 8 a.m.-11 p.m." and offered "Live entertainment nightly, 8-12 p.m." Drafts were 25 cents during Happy Hour, 2-7 p.m. By 1974 it primarily vended beer and music was provided by a jukebox. Wooden nickels were distributed with the purchase of a pitcher and a given number of them could be redeemed for a pony keg.
The Red Carpet met its demise after an incident on September 22, 1977 when a 19-year-old Central redneck shot a Seneca resident in the left thigh (no students were involved) in the back of the lounge. The establishment's reputation was badly blemished and it never recovered its former popularity, closing that winter.
Tiger Town Tavern opened in the old Red Carpet location in the fall of 1978. The two-story building attached to the lounge had seen a variety of businesses on both levels including apartments upstairs in the 1920's and 1930's. From 1961 to 1967, it housed Skelton's Home and Auto. By 1974 the ground floor was occupied by a Pizza Hut franchise with Rainbow Graphics screen printing business and Images photo studio upstairs. Images was run by Newry, South Carolina resident and historian Rick Hiser. When the pizza shop relocated to another location on Tiger Boulevard, the Tiger Bite Site restaurant took over for several years. It then moved up the street and as the other tenants moved on, the Tiger Town management gained the lease to the adjoining structure and broke through the wall downstairs into the former eatery and expanded the lounge during the summer of 1980. Students at Clemson in the late 1970's and early 1980's still tend to refer to the "old side" and "new side" of Tiger Town.
In 1988-1989, the city of Clemson made an abortive attempt to gain control of the business location by blocking renewal of the Tavern's lease from the absentee owner who lived in Arlington, Virginia. A campaign of Tavern loyalists' letter-writing inundated the City Hall and the city quietly abandoned its proposal. In 1991, the Tiger Town management was able to buy the buildings outright and gain control of their occupancy. They immediately undertook additional remodelling including replacing the old wooden front wall of the original one-story structure with clear glass blocks and a stained-glass logo, and a complete ventilation/heating/cooling upgrade, among other changes.
A change in drinking laws in the early 1990's raised the legal age of consumption to 21 and most surviving watering holes in Clemson added full kitchens to their operations in order to compensate for the lost alcohol revenue. The "Triple T" followed suit and now offers a full sports bar menu with items named for Clemson-themed athletic figures and events.
Although Tiger Town Tavern has long had a reputation of being a rock and roll bar, recent reports that Miley Cyrus has been played there in 2010 suggest that the true rock bar of Clemson has shifted to Backstreets where Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead will be heard, but never pop-teen rock.
- Founder J. C. Cook retired at the end of 2007.
- The drunken Tiger logo was designed by former bartender and manager Marshall Feimster.
- Current pinball machines at Tigertown are Stern's The Simpson's Pinball Party and Stern's T3 - Rise of the Machines.
Tiger Town Tavern
368 College Ave.
Clemson, SC 29631