Paint peels from a sign on what used to be Bull Pen Cafe

The peeling paint on old building murals is the only reminder of Bull Pen Cafe, which closed almost 10 years ago. Even the neon sign that once adorned the facade of the building is long gone. Property owner Marty Riback recently applied for a permit to demolish the building and has no specific future plans for the property.

COLUMBIA — The owner of the former Bull Pen Cafe has filed an application to demolish the building.

The restaurant, at 2310 Business Loop, was an iconic gathering spot that also hosted Wednesday cattle auctions before it closed its doors in 2007 after nearly 60 years.

The building will be demolished because it is "a safety hazard," owner Marty Riback said. The barn at the back of the property will remain and has been leased to another company.

The Bull Pen has fallen into disrepair since it closed. Empty liquor bottles, broken glass and overgrown weeds line the facade of the building. The famous neon sign that once sat on the roof is gone. Long-time patrons of the establishment might find it unrecognizable.

Members of the City of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, who reviewed the demolition application during their Tuesday meeting, expressed interest in salvaging a wooden gate and seats from the building's amphitheater.

No date for the demolition has been determined, and Riback said he has no specific plans for the property.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

  • Fall 2017 State Government reporter. I am a junior studying investigative journalism.

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