We’ve always appreciated the entrepreneurial spirit of Charleston. With our town listed on every top 10 list in publication, it’s only natural a wealth of new businesses would be popping up. We welcomed a few new spots to the neighborhood last Thursday as we party-hopped our way around the Lowcountry.
Holy City Barber, Mixson Bath and Racquet Club, Warehouse
We’ve watched the entertaining Instagrams and Vines from Lynn Costello and Jen Sample, the ladies at the helm of Holy City Barber, so we were excited for their first happy hour open house. As soon as we saw the hipsters spilling out of 684 King Street, we knew we were in the right place. HCB is a throwback neighborhood barber shop — somewhere we’d imagine men sitting around sipping a bourbon while they joked with the ladies cutting hair and trimming beards. Antique scissors and faded tonics shared space on the shelf next to the record player and other antique trappings. Patrons at the party sipped a concoction of Bulleit Rye and honey basil soda from Cannonborough Beverage Company. The Mason jar of cold liquid was a relief from the muggy temperature — we sported a sweat ’stache that could rival most of the gentlemen’s whiskers. Several musicians performed for the crowd over the course of the night, and we were disappointed when we later discovered we left before the saw player took the stage.
We left HCB early because we had to make our way to the Mixson Bath and Racquet Club Sip and Dip party. Even though it’s in North Charleston, the Mixson development feels distinctly downtown. Charleston single homes in the colors of Rainbow Row line the streets next to upcoming developments; it was so perfectly mapped out that it felt like a movie set. Valets in black tie greeted party guests, a small touch that signaled we were in for an exclusive evening of fancy schmoozing.
Walking into the swim club, we were reminded of Slim Aaron’s iconic 1950s photos of the wealthy and fabulous lounging by their pools. The perimeter of the property is flanked with cozy cabanas that guests will be able to reserve, as well as a grassy badminton court and bocci lanes. The chaises were plentiful and we could imagine families playing all day by the water or single downtowners flirting from under the umbrellas as they sunned. We spoke with Courtney Rowson of Stitch Design Co., who helped create the MBRC collateral. She told us we needed to check out the quaint locker rooms and she was right — every detail of the club was superb. There was even a rainbow arching over the space after the quick rainstorm (OK, that was probably just a coincidence and not manufactured by the event planners).
Brett Carron, the owner of Indigo and Cotton, told us he was considering joining the club after seeing the swanky digs. The boys from Cannonborough Beverage Company were at the party and were pleased to hear we’d already had a boozy version of their product at the previous party. Their tequila cocktail mixed (again) with the honey basil soda almost knocked us out. Thankfully there was plenty of food on hand from Básico, the on-site restaurant, to soak up the booze.
The final destination of our social marathon was the soft opening of Warehouse, a new bar at 45 ½ Spring Street. Inside the industrial space, we spotted some of our food industry favorites: Joshua Walker and Duolan Li from Xiao Bao Biscuit were in attendance, as well as Jessica Diaz from GrowFood Carolina. Diaz told us we really missed out by skipping the Pinckney’s Produce event earlier in the evening, but we explained three parties in a night was our max. The shared tables and open banquettes were filled with curious patrons, so we were lucky to snag a bar stool next to Katie Abbondanza, the editor of Eater Charleston.
We were quickly spotted by the chef, Eva Keilty, who asked if we were hungry. “Always,” we responded. Soon, we sat in front of plates full of items from their menu. This was not your normal bar food. Every bite was so full of flavor, we pondered what might be in the Lowcountry spice sprinkled on the pork rinds, or why we hadn’t thought of pairing smoked salmon with deviled eggs. Our favorite dish was the crispy trotter and shrimp spring roll; the result was so tasty, we’ll never be able to go back to take out. Owner James Groetzinger suggested we try the “Dirt Nap” cocktail, a combination of Bulleit Rye, Fernet, lemon, and honey. The drink was the perfect nightcap. The Warehouse is now open to the public, so it will be interesting to see who takes over the new bar turf. We predict the late hours for food service will mean we’ll be seeing a lot more food and beverage workers hanging out as they knock off for the night.