After a six-month struggle to reinvent itself — first as a dessert bar and then again as a tapas restaurant — Chai's finally closed its doors at the end of February.
About six weeks ago, Fish bartender and one of Charleston's most creative mixologists Evan Powell left (amicably) his post at Patrick Properties.
What do the two have to do with each other? Well, Powell is now the general manager of a new venue that's going into the old Chai's: Republic Garden & Lounge.
Republic is working with Charleston architect Julia Martin and interior designer Charles Doell of Mr. Important Design in Oakland, Calif., to transform the space at 462 King St. into an upscale bar and lounge that Powell promises will have exceptional service and a comfortable setting.
"We’re going to have a little something for everyone," says Powell. "Beer, great wine. If you like handcrafted cocktails, we'll have that available. We'll have a friendly, knowledgeable staff and a high level of customer service. This is a hospitable town, and we want to raise the bar.
The food will be small plates of internationally inspired food. "Elegant bar food," as Powell puts it. "But we’re focusing on the lounge, the social aspect, the creativity in the events realm. It's the total package, not just a cocktail bar or a tapas restaurant or a wine bar."
When it comes to special events, Powell says they have some space in the building that they are hoping to utilize, but right now they are focusing on getting the bar and lounge open first.
They expect to be open by mid-July, but Powell says they aren't rushing anything. "We’re taking our time to be thorough and making sure that out of the gate, we do it the right way. We want our staff to be knowledgeable about everything. ... It's not going to be pretentious about anything. It's going to be hospitable, welcoming, and catering to different tastes."