ESSO Club


ESSO Club

The Esso Club is a sports bar in Clemson, South Carolina, that evolved from a 1920's gas station and grocery on Old Greenville Highway, what was at the time the main highway between Atlanta, Georgia and Greenville, South Carolina. As local historians note, the corporate trademark change to Exxon went unnoticed by local patrons and the original Esso oval sign is still displayed out front. The business stopped pumping gas in the winter of 1985 and now soldiers on as a nationally recognized sports bar. ABC sportscaster Brent Musburger makes it a point to have a beer at the Esso when in town for Clemson football games. A letter from Billy Carter, brother of President Jimmy Carter, is in the archives. The Esso Club possesses the oldest beer license in town, dating to December 1933, immediately after the 21st Amendment went into effect on December 5. The main bar is topped with the original wooden seating from Death Valley, Clemson's football stadium. Traditionalists raised their eyebrows when new owners introduced a liquor license to the traditional beer joint for the first time in 2003 but a peaceful transition was made. For years the closest business to the stadium, the Esso Club is a favorite among the Clemson loyal.

Spitoono (or Spittoono in alternating years), a local charity fund-raising music festival organized by a loose confederation of Esso Club regulars operating under the guise of the Redneck Performing Arts Association (RPAA), was held in the parking lot from 1981 to 1990 by which time it had outgrown the available space. This, coupled with accounting disagreements over beer sales with the then-owner of the Club, led to Spitoono moving to the Clemson National Guard Armory ballfield in 1991.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.