COLUMBIA, SC — Some Gamecock football fans spent Saturday afternoon having a few drinks, eating food and watching the University of South Carolina football team play a close game at some of their favorite bars and restaurants in Five Points.
They cheered on Columbia’s football team in the popular nightlife area that was surrounded by media coverage last week after an 18-year-old USC freshman was hit by a random bullet and paralyzed in the early morning hours last Sunday.
The small crowd Saturday was relaxed and simply enjoying a close Carolina game.
At Pawleys Front Porch, USC senior Jessica Wood watched the game with her boyfriend, Austin Matthews.
Wood says she usually comes to Five Points to watch away games with her friends, but a lot of students were out of town for the university’s fall break.
She lives in the Shandon area, so Five Points is a convenient place to walk to, and the couple enjoyed appetizers at the restaurant.
“The atmosphere here is really cool,” Wood said.
A few guys watched USC, as well as a couple of other football games, at Jake’s Bar and Grill.
The locally owned business has several TVs and low beer prices, said Keith Johnson, the manager.
His friend and patron Shaun Murphy agreed.
“It’s a more intimate atmosphere,” Murphy said.
USC law school alumnus Jonathan Riddle also watched at Jake’s, where he said the beer was cheap, plentiful and cold, what he called the “holy triumvirate.”
A bucket of cold beers were being enjoyed at Salty Nut Cafe by Michael Waites and Ashley McClary.
“It’s an environment where you can hang out for a couple of hours,” Waites said. He said the atmosphere was exciting because everyone is there to watch the game – a turbulent game.
“Besides the score, it’s been really great,” Waites said.
Jim O’Keefe took a break from the game and stood outside of Yesterday’s chatting with Megan McKenzie.
McKenzie said she leaves Five Points before midnight now, but she went to the area when she was a college student and even worked in Five Points until 2 a.m. “years back.”
“I love Five Points,” McKenzie said. “It is awesome.”
About halfway through Saturday’s matchup, O’Keefe said it was one of those where Gamecock fans wouldn’t know the outcome until the last minute.
His prediction came true, with fans on edge until the last few seconds.
Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope.