Christopher West was a much-loved member of the local food and beverage community, but there was never any question that the native Charlestonian identified himself as a writer first: The word was tattooed on his forearm in such a way it could be read whether you were standing alongside him or seated on the opposite side of the bar.
“That’s part of why he liked working F&B,” West’s friend and former employer Garret McNally, owner of Mac’s Place, recalls. “He got stories from it.”
Before West died Saturday at the age of 40, he was working three nights a week at The Griffon Pub, the last in a long string of Charleston restaurants and bars. He was also a regular contributor to Skope, a music magazine based in Boston.
West briefly lived in Boston, but returned a few years ago, saying the city was too expensive. He came back to his hometown an avid Red Sox fan, unable to shake a nickname he’d picked up before he left. Although friends say everybody knew West, The Griffon’s owner Scott London says he could always tell which patrons were longtime friends, because they referred to West as “Fish”, for reasons London still doesn’t know.
“Chris was a great guy,” London says. “A great guy to be around, a great guy to talk to. He’s going to be missed.”
Friends this weekend shared their remembrances on social media, a selection of which is excerpted in a Storify assembled by Andy Paras.
Mac’s Place is planning a celebration of West’s life; tomorrow’s event, which runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the 215 E. Bay St. bar, will serve as a fundraiser for West’s family. West is survived by his mother and father, Judy and Terry W. West; brother, Bryan West; sister, Terri L. Fox and two nephews, James Haselden, Jr. and Aiden Fox.