Bohemian Cafe & Restaurant on UrbanspoonIn case you do not know me that well, let me tell you a few things about myself: I love a good meal, a tasty beverage, and have a passion for music. To that end, I am always on the hunt for good restaurants, bars with a unique beer selection, and anywhere I can buy or listen to quality music. Therefore, it should go without saying that if I could find these things all under one roof, I would fall into a Zen-like trance.

Welcome to Bohemian Café and Horizon Records. 

When I was a kid, Horizon Records was on Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville. It was the “alternative” record store where my Dad would find the records (yes, vinyl records) he could not buy at the mainstream garbage record store at the mall. As Downtown Greenville evolved, so did Horizon Records, and they moved to their current location at the corner of Main Street and Stone Avenue. They share the space with the Bohemian Café and it is nothing short of a marriage made in Heaven.

Sometimes I will go into Bohemian Café and buy a beer at the bar. The restaurant opens directly into the record store and they are not opposed to me taking that beer next door while I shop for music.  Alternatively, Horizon Records maintains an active interest in the local and regional music scene and frequently attracts performers to play at the Café next door. Bands playing at the Handlebar down the street or just passing through town on tour frequently stop in for impromptu performances either inside the Café or out in the parking lot the two businesses share.  

2 W. Stone Ave.
Greenville, SC 29609

This past Saturday (after my flight adventure) my wife and son and I stopped in to the Bohemian Café for a snack and a beer before we returned home to Anderson. We were greeted by a packed house and a performance by Ben Hall.  Assuming you are like us and have no idea who Ben Hall is, I will tell you this: Ben Hall looks like he is twelve years old but is actually an award winning singer/songwriter that is too talented to be playing for free during  lunch on a Saturday.  He played the Bohemian Café as he was traveling through Greenville and it was quite possibly the best unexpected show I have ever seen.

Our intent was just a quick snack, but instead we enjoyed a delicious burger, two ice cold beers, and a spectacular musical performance. The crowd ranged from younger 20-somethings to a couple of septuagenarian women seated next to us and, judging by the carefree grins, we were all enjoying the experience equally.  All of this happened at 3:30 in the afternoon when most places are experiencing the calm between the lunch and dinner storms. The Bohemian Café, on the other hand, had a crowd that many places would be jealous of during prime time on a Saturday evening. 

The menu at The Bohemian Café is as unconventional as the name suggests.  The selection offers an array of international fare from Cuban to Italian to Mediterranean cuisine.  This does not come at the cost of sacrificing local loyalties though as one of my favorite features is The Hillbilly Philly. You can always keep your selection honest to the Bohemian name as well; enjoy The Bohemian Salad or add The Bohemian flavor to your favorite cut of meat to taste the true essence of the restaurant. 

Right next door, Horizon Records offers just as much variety in their musical flavors as the Bohemian does in their food.  This is not a record store where you see Billboard’s Top Artists featured when you walk in the door.  If any regard is given to what is “popular” in the selection of featured releases, then it closely parallels the music played most frequently on WNCW. As you may already know, this is quite alright with my auditory palate.  I recall a day when I departed Horizon Records with music from Tom Waits, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Cypress Hill… not too many record stores appeal to listeners like myself, much less allow to make these type of purchases with a cold beverage in my hand.

My favorite thing about The Bohemian Café and Horizon Records is that it appeals to whatever mindset I may be in at any given moment. I have stopped in at Horizon for a new release that I could not live without and never stepped foot next door.  On the other hand, we have had evenings where a good meal was our only focus and we skipped the Horizon option. I prefer to give in to total gluttony and stop in for a live performance and follow it up with a sampling of all of the pleasures The Bohemian Café and Horizon Records have to offer.  One-Stop-Shopping has never been better.