Columbia’s new country western-themed pub featuring handmade 20 ft. wooden flag

Miller’s flag couldn’t be attached to the wall until the paint finished drying. Allen Wallace photos.

A new business opening this week is bringing some new things to the Vista, including a piece of art unlike any other.

Carolina Western Pub is set to open its doors at 920 Lady Street (at the southwest corner of Park St.) Friday if all goes as scheduled.
When customers enter the new country-themed barbecue restaurant and bar, they’re likely to notice a very large work of art right away.

“That’s the centerpiece of the restaurant right there,” owner Mark Segal said of the wooden American flag hanging on the wall. The flag is 20 feet long, 11 feet high, and was made by hand by Matt Miller, an Indiana artist, wildlife biologist and Navy veteran. Segal met Miller through a common friend and commissioned him to create the flag.

Segal and Miller both wanted a symbol of their gratitude to the military, police officers, firefighters and other first responders.

“It’s a thank you to anyone out there giving their lives to make sure we’re safe,” Miller said. “It’s not about me ultimately, it’s about giving back. That’s what feels the best, knowing you built something that’s hanging in someone’s home or in a restaurant like this that screams pride and screams America.”

Segal, who also owns Carolina Strip Club restaurant, has wanted to bring a restaurant and bar like this to the area for years.
“Just bringing a little bit of a country feel to the Vista, and a little bit of barbecue,” he said. “We’ll have country and Southern rock bands at nighttime, a little line dancing. Being down here in the Vista I thought this was something that would be well-received.”

Miller’s reputation as an artist specializing in wooden flags of various designs has been growing by leaps and bounds since he created his first as a gift for his dad. The artist is completely self-taught.

“I just got to an artsy point in my life. I had no idea what I was capable of until I started doing it. I just jumped in,” Miller said. “I started doing other ones and next thing I knew I blew up.”

The Carolina Western Pub flag is by far the largest Miller has done yet, and took him a week of full-time work, burning the wood with a torch and giving attention to every detail.

“The hardest part was the stars. That was a huge project. It took me a full day just building a stencil to do that,” he said. “I didn’t know the exact measurements until I got here, then I had to swing from the hip and figure it out.”

No two of Miller’s flags are alike, and that’s by design.

“All of them are different. Each of these flags are built with passion,” he said. “I get attached to them. Every board wants something different. It talks to me a little bit different and I listen.”

Miller’s passion for his art and for his country and those who serve has brought Columbia a truly unique work of art. Segal and his staff are ready to offer food, music and atmosphere to match, and hope to be part of a new hotspot in the Vista.

More information on Miller’s art is available at mizzlemade.com.

Categories: Business, Columbia, Richland County

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