The Five Points bar formerly known as The Library was shut down by Columbia officials around 1 a.m. Sunday for operating without a proper permit.
The club was serving alcohol, a DJ was playing music and a doorman was standing outside to sell tickets, said Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins. Jenkins entered the club around 1 a.m. Sunday with members of the city's Hospitality Task Force, which includes fire marshals, police officers and employees from the city's business license and zoning offices.
The bar no longer uses the name The Library and signs with that name had been removed from the front. Since the bar's name changed, the business license was no longer valid, Jenkins said.
The bar's owner was given a citation for operating without a license, Jenkins said.
Justin Kershner, The Library's owner, was standing outside the bar on the 800 block of Harden and Greene streets as people packed Five Points to party.
Kershner told The State newspaper that his club was not open for business.
But Jenkins said the music, alcohol and the doorman with a money box gave his squad enough reason to go inside. About 15 to 20 people were inside when the hospitality team made the owner turn on the lights and send people home.
"He said he was not open. However, he was serving alcohol," Jenkins said.
The Library has been called out by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott as a hangout for a nationally known criminal street gang. The sheriff said the bar needed to close.
A day after the sheriff hammered the club in a press conference, the S.C. Department of Revenue told the owner he had to pay nearly $19,000 in unpaid taxes or risk losing his alcohol permits.
Kershner borrowed money to pay the back taxes and then closed indefinitely. Last week, people were seen moving things in and out of the club.
Early Sunday morning, Kershner told The State he wanted to change the club's image and then be left alone so he could run his business.