Celebrating 35 Years in Food & Beverage, 60th Birthday, and Entertaining Millions with HonkyTonk Saloon’s General Manager Bob Shipley
Bob Shipley went off to University of South Carolina to study law, following in the footsteps of his father, who worked as both a lawyer and a judge. After a year and a half the Goose Creek native changed course and started studying at MUSC. He worked nights to make extra money at a club. Thus began what would become a 35-year stint in the food and beverage industry with a nod towards entertainment.
“I’ve had over 2,500 people work for me over the years and in fifteen years at Desperados and another seven years at The Plex (2001 to 2008) we entertained over four million people,” says Shipley. “At Desperados, we entertained anywhere from 1,500 to 1,800 per night. Country was hot, really at its peak. At HonkyTonk Saloon (recently named Best Country Saloon in City Paper’s Best of 2018 issue), we average 500 to 700 on weekend nights. It’s one of the top country nightclubs in the southeast and one of the biggest attended venues in the area,” he added.
Despite his tremendous success, Bob Shipley is a humble man who happens to love his work and takes tremendous joy in keeping his clientele happy, safe and entertained. “We strive for great service and
a great product. People need an escape. We strive to provide a safe atmosphere, especially for the ladies, that’s paramount. It is satisfying to see people have fun and appealing to see people have a quality dining and entertainment event.”
Reflecting upon his 35 years in the business, Shipley waxes sentimental. “I’m so blessed to have so many people work with me, literally thousands.” In addition to his work, Shipley takes exceptional pride in his children, Ryan and Lauren, both of whom are committed to spreading goodwill and giving back to the world. Ryan is in law enforcement and Lauren is a mental health technician about to take her sixth trip to Africa to assist orphanages and an artisan program for the underprivileged. “She’s a special person, they both are. God blessed them with the ability to make the world a better place.”
Shipley is so committed to Lauren’s cause, he is donating proceeds from $10 spaghetti dinner and raffles at his birthday party and anniversary to Artisan Global, the charity Lauren works with.
At HonkyTonk Saloon since 2016, Shipley was President of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association for two years, Vice President for four years, and on the board for fifteen years. “It’s astounding how much the culinary industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. People always want to share a story with me about how great our area is. I love to do my best to give back to the community.”