Chai's reopens as a dessert lounge 

From tapas to tarts

Henry Eang and his team at Chai's must have read our minds. Or perhaps we publicly bemoaned the lack of late-night sweet spots.

In a swift reinvention, Chai's has been transformed from a high-end tapas and cocktail bar into a swanky dessert lounge.

General Manager Palmer Quimby says, "We felt that changing from a tapas restaurant into a dessert lounge was a natural evolution. There is no dessert place on this side of town and we now fit the bill."

Pastry Chef Dani Manilla, new to the Charleston area, is creating all of the goodies from her original recipes. Manilla has spent her career cooking all over the world, most recently in France. Her menu features plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth — chocolate torte, fruit tarts, pound cakes, and crisps — priced from $7-$9. In addition, she's put together an attractive selection of savory tarts. The Charleston Tart ($10) layers pimento cheese and crab with sherry on a cream cheese crust. She also explores the globe with a variety of flavors. They all look tasty, particularly the Tart Mykonos ($8) which comes with spinach, feta, pistachios, golden raisins, and mint.

Aside from the new menu, Chai's has also undergone some minor aesthetic changes. It now features couches inside and outside, bistro tables, and a cake case to display Manilla's current creations. "We've been open for years, and we feel that we still have quality service and products," says Quimby. "We want people to enjoy a drink before dinner and then come back afterwards to enjoy a nice dessert."

The lounge features a full bar with specialty cocktails, a selection of craft beer in bottles and on draft, and wine selections by the glass and bottle, and an original coffee blend served in French presses. They open every night at 5 p.m. and stay open until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

—Cullen Lea contributed to this report.
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