For some driving down Highway 24 in Jacksonville, North Carolina, the off-white exterior and nondescript of this business would hardly have warranted a second look. But when, last week, the for the Driftwood Lounge went down, collective gasps and virtual tears rippled across the internet. The Driftwood, sincehas been the place many a 2nd Marine Division boot chased hazy dreams after finishing engineer school, returning from the field or just to grab cheap beers on a week night for a relief from life on Camp Lejeune.
The thumping music, flashing lights and strange combined scent of cheap perfume, the ubiquitous strip-club lotion smell found in all corners of the globe, and other unidentifiable odors mark the memories of many a Marine who spent time in the swampy home of the 2nd Marine Division.
For more newsletters. It was the place to mark a promotion, birthday, engagement, birth of or that oh-so-glorious day of exiting the Corps.
Who are we kidding? There was no excuse needed to visit the ladies of the Driftwood. A random Tuesday would suffice. Strip clubs come and strip clubs go. They dot the highways and byways of nearly every military town. But for those happy few Devil Dogs in this place where the Corps calls home, the Driftwood was different.
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And its doors were not open exclusively to Marines. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, heck we have no doubt a Coastie or two might have even graced its confines for a night of revelry while at the base for training or simply passing through. It may be one of the best examples of transfer of wealth since Karl Marx espoused his communist philosophy. Money flowing from the government to Marines to dancers. With the recent passing of legend of a different sort, Gunnery Sgt.
So, we here at Marine Corps Times asked for you.
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It has transformed for a new era of more discerning night club clientele. Gone is the mismatched wallpaper that dizzied beer-filled Marines.
Instead, a regal purple now adorns the cleaned-out club. Crumpler got his share of criticism for changing the name of the club that has stood for nearly 40 years. It was an immediate reaction when the went down last weekend, he said. Without pointing to specific establishments, the co-owner said the general treatment of Marines in Jacksonville can be a bit testy by local business owners.
You won’t believe what’s happening to the iconic driftwood lounge outside camp lejeune
He aims to treat said Marines with a little more respect. But, it is a nighttime venue. If folks act up, they will be asked to leave, he said.
There are rules. He wants to focus on customer service, greeting patrons at the door, communicating throughout their experience. Though, if one online commentator is correct, the old place had its way of connecting with customers.
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And his methods are proving out in some hard data. When they took over in December, the club rarely saw triple digit attendance on Saturday, the busiest night of the week. Some wondered if the new owner might mean a fresh start for past customers.
The business has been owned and operated by the same family since Before becoming a topless bar, it served sandwiches and other food snacks to hungry Marines on their way in and out of the main gate. But at least a few online have their own ideas. The old stage did have the Driftwood name emblazoned on it. He had planned to save that item of local history for the owner but somehow in the renovations it was tossed along with other scrap.
Which is too bad because one long-ago customer has an idea that could preserve the place forever in Marine Corps lore. But, despite complaints, the business is trucking along.
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Even through major renovations it has been open every day since December. And there are no plans to close, well except for one day.
Yes Marine, there is a Santa Claus. Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since and was named a Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War. Todd South. Thanks for ing up! Fear of missing out? Thanks for ing up.
Comment from discussion ThatJarhead's comment from discussion "The end of an era About Todd South Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since and was named a Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation.