Weather News

Partygoers in Columbia refuse to face Hugo dry

The impending arrival of Hurricane Hugo led to impromptu “hurricane parties” at bars, restaurants and inside homes across Columbia, SC.
The impending arrival of Hurricane Hugo led to impromptu “hurricane parties” at bars, restaurants and inside homes across Columbia, SC. File photo

More from the series

Hurricane Hugo coverage from The State: Sept. 17 - Sept. 24, 1989

Read more stories from The State’s original reporting of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. From Hugo’s collision with the Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico to its catastrophic landfall near Charleston, The State kept readers up-to-date with vital news about the event that turned into the worst storm South Carolina has ever seen.

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This story first appeared in The State on September 22, 1989.

Some folks run from hurricanes; others make a run for them -- the kind you drink, that is.

Drinks like the Hurricane and the Dark and Stormy were in demand Thursday night as Columbians staged parties and gathered at area nightspots and restaurants to wait out the storm.

The party talk was on by midafternoon.

”We’ve had a lot of people coming in wanting to know if we have a Hurricane mix,” Jack Pruett, manager of Green’s liquor store, said. “If anybody out there has one, he can make a fortune,” he said, adding there’s a patent on the original Hurricane drink.

Yesterday’s restaurant and pub in Five Points and B.L. Rooster’s on Bluff Road had their own versions of the cocktail: both included rum and fruit juice.

Those drinks and other spirits kept bars and restaurants busy stocking up for larger-than unusual crowds. Video stores, liquor stores and party shops also were enjoying a boost in rentals and sales.

”We always have storm parties at Yesterday’s,” Virginia Funk, manager of the Five Points bar, said. “This just seems to be the place everybody comes when it gets wet” and the lights go out.

Three off-duty Yesterday’s employees, Tie Mudge, Shely Harris and Jennifer Parks, sat in a booth sipping a special “Hurricane” drink, waiting for their fellow workers to finish up.

”We’re inviting everybody back for a party. We feel that if everyone’s together, no one will be washed away,” Mudge said.

Phil Dooley and Mark Beale, doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, said they weren’t on call and were able to make the drive Thursday after patients had been relocated in Columbia hospitals.

”They told us it was a party town,” Dooley said.

Hurricane parties could be found across the city Thursday night: at Sharky’s Pizza and Rockafella’s in Five Points; at B.L. Rooster’s; and at The Cock Pit on South Main Street.

According to some liquor store managers, however, more people probably were having their own parties at home.

The Leesburg Liquor and Party Shop’s sales were going more “like a normal Friday” than a Thursday, manager and owner Monty Chamberlain said. “It looks like the weekend people are starting early. They’re buying cases of beer and large bottles of liquor.”

Carr Gilmore of Pawley’s Island and Joel Bain of Charleston, two University of South Carolina students, were stocking up on beer at the Party Town No. 4 on South Harden Street. They were having friends over.

Also Thursday, area video stores reported higher-than-normal rentals.

”We are having triple the sales. On the average a person usually rents about two movies. We’re having people rent up to the limit,” the assistant manager at a Blockbusters Videos said, adding customers may rent up to nine movies.

At Pic-A-Flick Video in West Columbia, manager Meredith Shepard said: “People are getting three or four videos and keeping them for a couple of days. We still have videos in, but it’s getting kind of thin.”