The Esso Club
The Esso Club evolved from a 1920s gas and grocery into one of Clemson's great traditions bars and holds the oldest beer license in town, dating to 1933. 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 never fails to have a cold one there when in town for football games. ABC aired a feature about the club during the Miami game in September 2005. A letter from Billy Carter, brother of President Jimmy Carter, is in the archives. Traditionalists raised their eyebrows when new owners introduced a liquor license to their 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.
Spittoono (or Spitoono 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. In 1991 the then-owner of the Esso informed that the RPAA that the Club was taking over the festival, like it or lump it. With this "our way or the highway" ultimatum, the RPAA scrambled to find another venue in the fortnight before the scheduled dates, and Spitoono moved to the Clemson National Guard Armory ballfield, where it remains to the present. There had also been accounting discrepencies about the quantity of the beer sales that comprise much of the charitable monies raised. At the new location, a clearer picture of actual profits was made possible.
The Esso Club
129 Old Greenville Hwy
Clemson, SC 29631