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March 28th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

The Esso Club

(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts and Scott Rhymer)

Today’s photos include a view from the press box inside Memorial Stadium and is of Brent Musburger wearing an Esso Club hat. Musburger is a noted fan of both Clemson, and of the Esso Club.

The Esso Club is a sports bar in Clemson, South Carolina, that evolved from a 1920s 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.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described it as the best bar in the South.

ESPN The Magazine picked the Esso Club as their top pick for college sports bars, and "patrons can taste-test the beer in a niche dubbed the 'Educational Corner'".

ABC sportscaster Brent Musburger makes it a point to have a beer at the Esso when in town for Clemson football and basketball games. The authors of South Carolina Off the Beaten Path suggest going to the Esso Club to get tickets to games that are sold out years in advance, rather than the stadium.

The memorabilia in the Esso Club has been described "cool enough to qualify as museum quality." 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 cedar 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.

This summer, my wife and I traveled Europe. While in Berchtesgaden, Germany (just outside of Salzburg, Austria) we ran into this sign on the way to Adolph Hitler’s Eagles Nest.

It goes to show you that you never know when you are going to run into something that reminds you of Clemson.

(Note: If you have old pictures dating before 1990 that are Clemson related and you would like to share them, send them to me in an email with as much information about the picture as you can give and I will use it for a future “Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day”).

Scott Rhymer can be reached at

Credit to and wikipedia.

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