Situated in an impressively renovated gun and tackle shop in a small plaza along Maybank across from the Fat Hen, the Irish-style pub is a dimly lit tavern with a U-shaped bar and several cozy seating areas with handmade wooden tables and chairs. Kieran, a native of northeastern Ireland, has worked at Muse and Charleston Grill. He tends bar nightly, serving an array of fine whiskeys, gins, wines, exotic cocktails, and microbrewed and imported ales and lagers dispensed from custom-made tap handles.
The name (pronounced “shon-a-key”) refers to a traditional Irish storyteller. There are no TVs in the pub. Instead, the bar offers a small library of books, ornate chess boards, and weekly live acoustic music as entertainment. Non-members are welcome on music nights. Celtic-themed acoustic sessions take place every other Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. Local folk, bluegrass, and jazz groups perform at 7 p.m. on Fridays and occasional Saturdays.
Food trucks like Roti Rolls (rotis, tacos, sides, drinks, desserts) and the Foodie Truck (chips, dips, soups, sandwiches, slushies) set up in the parking lot on the weekends during the performances.
Visit seanachaisocialclub.com for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann
Earlier this week, we stopped in to Proof, King Street's newest watering hole. Located in a former to-go pita place at 437 King, it's a joint venture between the owners of the TBonz Restaurant Group and Craig Nelson, who worked at the West Ashley Pearlz for four years.
Though it's been touted as a cocktail bar, it offers a little something for every palate, from $1.75 PBRs to artisanal cocktails to tasty bar snacks. With its dark burgundy walls and long community tables, the place feels a little like Raval (R.I.P.), which is no surprise — Nelson worked there years ago, and he says he wanted to bring elements of various places he's worked to Proof.
To sip, there are the aforementioned cheap cans of beer (for the late night F&B crowd) as well as more "real good beers," each with its own helpful description on the menu. The Grand Teton Bitch Creek "has more medals than Michael Phelps" and the Avery Out of Bounds is "practically Maalox." As for the cocktails, we enjoyed Le Gin et Le Juice, a blend of Tanqueray, Ricard, Peychaud's Bitters, and grapefruit juice ($8) as well as le Club Fez Aperitif: Lillet Blanc with blood orange bitters ($7.50). That one's a nod to Fez, another of Nelson's former ventures.
The regularly-changing menu is scrawled onto a chalkboard over the bar, and it's full of great bar food that's been kicked up a notch. Wild Olive chef Jacques Larson helped put together the menu, which includes a few skewered foods like big fat meatballs in savory marinara sauce (2 for $5) and sugary sweet fried doughnut bites ($5). There's also currently a nice trio of dips served in cute little mason jars, including a boiled peanut hummus, decadent duck rillettes, and some tasty pimento cheese — Nelson's wife's own recipe. You'll also find jars of pickled eggs on the bar — a nice touch from Larson — and for $1.50, you might as well try one. They're served with a dollop of mustard and a pepper shaker, and they taste a little like salt and vinegar chips.
Nelson says business has been good so far — they've had a line out the door the last few weekends. Stop by to see what they're all about.
When I was speaking with Dan Latimer, the general manager of Husk, for this week's article on the Southern bourbon boom, he told me the story behind the empty bourbon barrel that now adorns the bar at Husk. It's a genuine Pappy Van Winkle barrel, and, no, it did not start off empty.
Back in the fall of 2010, as he was preparing to open Husk, executive chef Sean Brock — a long-time Pappy Van Winkle zealot — got in touch with Julian Van Winkle III to secure a large supply of Van Winkle bourbon for the restaurant. He ended up acquiring a full barrel of the stuff, and even as barrels of Pappy Van Winkle go Husk's is a pretty special one.
When Julian Van Winkle's father, Julian Jr., started the Rip Van Winkle Distillery in the 1970s, he did so with a stash of whiskey that had been produced at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. That was the distillery created by Pappy Van Winkle himself and produced famous brands like W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, and Rebel Yell before passing out of the family's control. Julian Jr. also bought up old inventory from other Kentucky distilleries and stored it away, using it to create their uniquely long-aged brand of bourbon.
Those old bourbon stocks couldn't last forever, though, and awhile back Julian Van Winkle III contracted with the Buffalo Trace Distillery to distill the wheated bourbon that now fills the Van Winkle barrels and will be used for the brand going forward.
The barrel that Brock acquired for Husk is one of the few remaining ones from the old Stitzel-Weller stock, making it a particularly historic vintage. Brock and crew bottled it with their own Husk special-edition label. Over the past year they've used up a good bit of it, Latimer says, and they're guarding the rest of it closely. They do, however, break out a bottle or two for a special occasion, and when they do it goes onto the back bar for the general public to order.
So, the next time you're at the bar at Husk, keep your eye out for the special-edition bottle of Pappy. It's quite literally a rare taste of bourbon history.
They have sold 60,000 cans of PBR so far this year, which breaks down to more than 200 cans sold per day.
Chris "Boston" Diamattia says he goes through about 65-70 cases a week. Recently, the PBR representative for the Southeast dropped by to take a look at the little place doing big volume. Boston says the rep was amazed, considering the size of the bar.
During happy hour (4-8 p.m.) at the Recovery Room, PBR is only $1.25. It's two bucks the rest of the time, which goes a long way toward explaining those sales.
The Pour House on James Island has the distinction of being number two in PBR sales. Not surprisingly, Charleston is the number one PBR market in S.C.
On St. Patrick’s Day last week, I spent a good chunk of time with my family debating where we should go for dinner. Despite having eaten a corned beef and cabbage dinner a few nights earlier, we were in the mood for Irish fare — you know, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, fish and chips.
We thought about going downtown, but knew the crowds would be out and rowdy. Not a good place to take the kids, even though it was still early. We ended up at Boulevard Diner eating decidedly non-pub food, despite the Guinness gravy on my pork chop.
Our conclusion at the end of the night: James Island really needs a pub.
Two days later, on my way to Publix, I saw a sign touting the arrival of O’Brion’s Pub in the old Twizt location on Folly Road. The first O'Brion's is located in I'On (hence the i-o-n).
Fer cripes sakes, first Obama wins the White House and now this! How lucky can a girl get?
I talked to Brent, who will be managing the place, and got the details: lots of TVs, above average pub food (hell, I love average pub food), and 14 beers on tap!
Hells yes. They plan to start dry runs in a week or so, with the ultimate goal of being open in time for the NCAA championship game on April 6.
They’ve renovated the space, closing off the kitchen, putting in new floors, painting, and expanding the seating with new booths and tables.
The kitchen will be open everyday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and the bar will be open until 2 a.m.