By Shannon Wilson
Empty plastic bags and beer cans line the grey, tarred road. The bottom part of the glass door is smashed, but still intact, fractured into tiny glittering mirrors.
The entrance into Champs bar.
You open the door into a smoky haze, a dull fog of colourful lights. Strings of people sit around the bar, all deeply immersed in conversation. Manager Mike Theron, AKA Dirty Mike, says that the place used to be a restaurant called Scott’s Spot, which was “nothing like Champs.” Theron explains that Champs’ grimy exterior is not an indication of what the bar has to offer. “Inside Champs there are a lot of different people who come here for a lot of different reasons.”
There are pool tables, food services and plenty of company round the clock. I happened to walk into the bar at 2:30 on a Wednesday to find the place packed with students of all ages, genders and races.
One woman mentioned that this was ‘her place’; she came here to relax and have a drink while in Grahamstown. She enjoyed chatting to those who came and went and always found it welcoming.
Champs has been open for four years. Theron loves Grahamstown nightlife and live music so much that he often DJ’s at Champs when he can’t host a karaoke night or find a band. Most weekend nights he works from five in the evening till three in the morning.
“Behind the Champs door you’ll find live music, karaoke, the idols competition and a good vibe”