East Bay Street bars holding out hope one year after fire
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One year after a downtown Charleston fire destroyed four East Bay Street businesses, former employees and members of the city's food and beverage industry came together Tuesday. The building at 213 East Bay Street is still empty, but the previous tenants say they're anxious to get back inside.
A fire ripped through the building last April, flames reaching the roof. Four bars, The Brick, Club Light, The Speakeasy and Squeeze, suffered damage.
"We sat on the Customs House desk and watched, on those steps over there, people's dreams, people's businesses, people's pocketbooks, everything kind of just fizzle up," says Joe Joe Fahey, a bartender at The Speakeasy."
Fahey says within a day of the fire another bar family opened its arms and doors. Burwell's just across the way hired Fahey.
"Myself, I was very, very fortunate. A couple other guys were very fortunate, and some of them took advantage of the next thing."
Fahey says others weren't as lucky, and some are still out of work.
Clint Gaskins, the managing partner of Squeeze says he hasn't lost momentum. He says they've focused on their on-site bar tending company called Squeeze On Site. According to Gaskins, the businesses are jointly pursuing legal action against the owner of the building, who Gaskins says canceled the leases.
"I think the hope is still there, and it's tough because there is so much red tape," says Fahey.
Live 5 News did reach out to Yaschik Development, the owner of the building, for a comment but did not hear back.