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Want a tour of Columbia’s old Down Under bar scene? Here’s a chance, with costumes

Historic Columbia to throw ’70s party ‘Down Under’

Historic Columbia is offering tours of the former Down Under in the Arcade — the first shopping mall in Columbia, S.C. The basement hosted a bevy of bars from 1972 to 1974.
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Historic Columbia is offering tours of the former Down Under in the Arcade — the first shopping mall in Columbia, S.C. The basement hosted a bevy of bars from 1972 to 1974.

Wanna party like its 1974?

You’ll get your chance Friday night when Historic Columbia throws down a ‘70s-themed costume party in the Arcade’s former Down Under — the basement of Columbia’s first shopping center that was chock full of bars and the center of Columbia’s night life from 1972 to 1974.

The party is the kickoff for Historic Columbia’s new Fall Tour.

And on Saturday, attendees can get a behind-the-scene tour of some of Main Street’s other historic and unique lofts and buildings, including The Pastor’s Study, the new Hendrix, The Nickelodeon, the Kress Building, the Berringer Building, Hotel Trundle, Coral’s and more

The Fall Tour replaces the organization’s Palladium Society’s chili cook as an autumn fund raiser.

“We wanted to do something different,” said Lauren Gilsprat, a Palladium Society board member and co-chairwoman of the weekend’s events. “I think people will enjoy dressing up for Friday night, and on Saturday they’ll get an exclusive look and access they wouldn’t normally have” to other notable buildings.

Tickets for Friday’s party are $75 for Palladium members, $90 for Historic Columbia members, $100 for general public and $100 at the door for everyone. The 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. event will include specialty food and drinks, music from DJ GLDFNGR and dancing.

Gilstrap said that because of Down Under’s limited space, tickets will be capped.

“Fire marshal,” she said, which was why the original Down Under had such a short life span.

Saturday’s event will be held at The Venue on Main, 1620 Main St. It runs from noon to 5 p.m., with tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 for Palladium members, $25 for Historic Columbia members and $30 for general public.

The event will feature a biergarten from The Whig, food trucks from City Limits BBQ and Pawley’s Front Porch, games and music.

Tickets include a map of the locations available to tour, access to the biergarten and one beer ticket.

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