CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Charlotte has a long tradition of knocking down historical places all over the Queen City.
But one iconic bar has stood the test of time.
When the Thirsty Beaver Saloon opened 15 years ago, all that surrounded it was a road, grass, and empty lots. The brothers who own it said they chose that spot because they wanted a place to jam out and not disturb their neighbors.
However, a lot has changed in 15 years.
Piled together underneath the bar is a stack of 4×6 snapshots.
“This is a protest,” pointed Mark Williams.
There are 15 years of memories in those pictures. Some are hung on the walls, but most are shared over a cold beer and a bar stool.
“One of those things where it’s gone so quickly, yet so slow,” said Mark.
Mark and his brother, Brian, own the Thirsty Beaver Saloon in Plaza Midwood. The two opened up the bar 15 years ago with one goal.
“When we first opened, we didn’t have any real expectations other than just being a neighborhood bar,” said Mark.
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At the time, they didn’t know their bar would become a one-story symbol of rebellion and standing up to the man.
“I think It’s part of why people are so attached to this place because it did happen organically,” said Mark. “It wasn’t something we forced or tried to push.”
As Plaza Midwood started to grow, a developer who owned the land surrounding the bar wanted them out.
“Probably the most tense time,” remembered Mark. “There was this period of six months, or so that was really, we weren’t too sure.”
In 2013, the developer went so far as to install a chain link fence around the bar, just a few feet away from their building.
“I showed up, and they were putting poles in, and I said, ‘oh boy,'” said Mark.
But they won in the end.
The apartments were built up all around their little neighborhood watering hole.
“So now, actually, that’s one of their selling points; you’ve got your own bar right downstairs,” laughed Mark.
The bar has become a local legend.
Its story is only getting grander with time, with one of the most famous rock stars in the world swinging by for a cold one.
“Someone like Mick Jagger can roll in, just another guy, and hey, we’re all the same,” said Mark, who wasn’t there that night.
All those years ago, their goal was to create a spot for everyone.
They didn’t have to dream ‘big’ to do it.