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Sherlock Holmes Pub Still in the Dark

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Sherlock Holmes Pub Still in the Dark

(Columbia) Jan. 3, 2004 - Even the legendary sleuth would have a hard time solving this one: will the Sherlock Holmes Pub ever re-open? Owner Dexter Cooper would like to know,"June 23rd, we closed and we're still closed."

The underground pub had to shut down after chunks of concrete fell from the steel support beams that were holding up the sidewalk up on Main Street. Cooper and his wife hoped that the city would be able to help out with the necessary repairs, especially since the city was in the process of streetscaping Main anyway.

The streetscape project did not include fixing the support beams. Cooper says it's a missed opportunity, "The machines were here. They could have fought over who was going to pay for it later. This was before the building got sold. They could've had it fixed by now. And we could've been open."

The building is the Palmetto Building above the pub. Developer Rick Patel wants to turn it into a 112 room hotel, "We're looking at about a year to 16 months."

In August, Patel told News 10 the renovation would save the Sherlock Holmes. Now, he's indicating the pub might be getting in the way, "A few issues, especially the basement issue."

The city isn't offering much hope either. A few months ago, the city attorney decided the portion of the pub under Main had been operating for free on a public right of way. He recommended the city reclaim the land.

Cooper is telling customers the mayor and council "haven't found time" to deal with the situation.

Dozens like Jason Watkins have signed petitions asking the city to help the pub re-open, "If you take a look at this landscape, everything's done except for this one little hole right here."

Whether Watkins and other loyal customers ever get their pub back remains a mystery.

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The Sherlock Holmes Pub is a great urban space.  For those of you that have not seen it, just imagine a smaller version of the set from the TV show "Cheers".  I would eat lunch there from time to time when I lived in Columbia.  The food was decent and reasonable and the atmosphere could not be found anywhere else in Columbia, or many other places for that matter.

That space has been in use as a restaurant/pub for as long as I can remember.  Now, because of a bunch of bureaucratic/political BS, this small business which gave employment and provided a service, has been closed for months, and may never reopen.  And for what purpose?  Undoubtedly all the patrons have found new eateries or watering holes.  Probably somewhere in the 'burbs! Even if it reopens, the owners will have to rebuild their clientele from square one.  And for what purpose?

If the city has neglected to 'collect rent' since probably the 1920's on this place, isn't the city at least partly to blame?  As I see it, the pub owner has squater's rights by now.  Besides we are only talking about a small strip of land UNDER the sidewalk.  It is of no value to anyone else except the pub owner.  Maybe the city thinks that by closing the pub, they can now lease out the small part of it that is under the sidewalk.  This is my suggestion for a advertisement:


Approximately 75 square feet available underneath crumbling sidewalk.  Excellent income potential as nightly rental to the numerous homeless in the area. Includes four restaurant booths perfect for homeless accomodations.  Forward inquiries to the City of Columbia.

That city attorney should be shot, why not give the pub owner a permanent easement in exchange for him paying the cost of fixing the sidewalk.  How about the city helping the guy get a loan for the expenses, similiar to the fascade loans that the city has available?

How can the city ever expect Main Street to draw new merchants when they won't even help keep the few merchants they have in business?

Dan Rickenman is a small business restauranteur that won by by running against the city's boneheadedness, what does he have to say about all this?

I also question where the new building owner's head is.  Doesn't he think his clients would like a convenient place to get a meal or a drink?  I guess they are suppose to get their booze at the same liquor store as the homeless.  At least there are plenty of the homeless to give directions.


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Nice. :) There's a letter to the editor right there. You should send it in.

It really does suck that the city can't get their act together enough to help this guy out.

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