Looks like the Broadway at the Beach bar formerly known as Blarney Stones is ready for another go-round.
Beginning with tonight’s grand opening, the Rodeo Bar & Grill will open for business less than two months after turning in its Irish Pub theme for a Country and Western one.
“I think it’s gonna do well. I really think [the country theme] is going to increase our demographic,” said Paul Irby, Rodeo’s general manager.
According to Irby, who also served as GM for Blarney Stones, the transition from one of Broadway at the Beach’s longest-running clubs to its hottest new attraction has been a busy one.
“We knocked everything down in two days. These guys from Lumberton came in and hung all new sheet rock in a day and a half. It’s just been amazing how quickly it’s all come together.”
As of early Thursday morning, a crew of a dozen or so workers was still putting the finishing touches on the stage lighting and the rodeo pit was still short one mechanical bull — it was waiting in the wings ready to be placed — but for the most part Rodeo appeared ready for prime time.
“All we’re waiting on is DHEC to give us a go,” he said.
Turning nearly 180 degrees from the layout of Blarney Stones, Rodeo will feature a long-straight bar in the spot that formerly held a stage. The bar is double-sided in that patrons sitting on the outside patio in Celebrity Square can also access it through a cutout in the side of the bar that provides a little open air to the otherwise windowless club.
The interior features brightly painted walls and warm lighting with an obligatory cow skull or two, but isn’t over-the-top with its country decor. One interesting piece of memorabilia displayed on the wall was a large wooden “Mother Fletchers” sign rustled up by the staff to pay homage to the longtime downtown dance club.
“The upstairs will be similar to what is what before, but it will now be a martini, whiskey and bourbon bar,” said Irby.
Completing the ambiance inside, Rodeo will feature Country music videos playing on the many flat screen TVs during dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. each night and there will be special Happy Hour deals which include not only food and drinks, but also entertainment.
“It’ll be free to ride the bull during happy hour,” said Irby, noting that the charge to ride at other times will be $5 per person.
The new club’s signature feature will be its large, open dancefloor and a completely-revamped stage, which dominates the back corner of the bar that used to be a covered area with tables during the Blarney Stones days.
“I absolutely love the new stage. The lights are ridiculous. We’ve got another brand-new sound system in here. It’s going to sound great,” said Irby.
Occupying said stage will be Country group the Josh Brannon Band, who will serve as Rodeo’s house band.
“When we had Josh here at Blarney’s it was great,” said Irby. “The Coastal crowd loves him, he’s a good guy and his band is a bunch of good guys and they just sound ridiculous. We’re proud to have them as our house band.”
In addition, Rodeo will also feature a house DJ — well-known local Brian “DJ BZ” Heady — who Irby says will not only spin a good variety of Top 40, House and Dance music, but will also continue to incorporate Country music into his mixes.
“We’ll have a house DJ spinning before and after the band comes on, so I think it’s kind of the best of both worlds,” he said.
And if great local entertainment isn’t enough to keep the crowds coming, Rodeo also plans to bring in touring acts in the near future.
“Starting probably next month, we’ll be aiming to bring in a national act,” said Irby, adding that he’d like to get a good balance of well-known favorites — older groups like Diamond Rio or Little Texas — as well as up-and-coming stars to the stage.
Tonight’s “Red Carpet” Grand Opening party from 8-10 p.m. is an invite-only event (click here for details on invitations), but the club will open to the public at 10 p.m. with nationally-touring DJ SupaSkip providing the music. Visit Rodeo on Facebook or at rodeomb.com for more details on all the opening weekend and upcoming events planned at the club.