Vendue Grand Opening
We aren’t really sure when art hotels became a thing officially, but now we’ve got one here in the Holy City. It’ll be a nice departure from the collection of Old South (TM) inns that crowd the southeastern part of the peninsula. The Vendue re-opened at the corner of its eponymous range and Bay Street this week and threw quite the little bash to celebrate. Oil paintings from nearby galleries, local vegetables, and a James Taylor cover artist decorated the downstairs half of the party, but the real fun started on the rooftop, which featured every conceivable iteration of oysters on the half-shell and a bar with hard liquor. The view of the city at night was really pretty and peaceful; it was easy to forget that a mere three stories down lay vomiting bridal parties from Bergen County, N.J. and the carnival bark of the Market. We don’t often book hotel rooms in our own hometown, but we recommend you check this one out so you can decide if your cool aunt should stay there next time she’s in from Sedona.
World Cup fever has taken hold of the CP office. And on Saturday, nothing could stand in the way of us and the games. Or so we thought. As we biked our way toward Bay Street Biergarten, we took an innocent turn on Sumter Street, only to be directed by some police officers to ride on the sidewalk. OK, officer, we’ll break the law for you. And then we saw why. Coming down the street were floats of people dancing to Caribbean beats. We’re not sure what the point of the Unity of Charleston street parade was, but we got into the spirit of things. As participants shook what their mamas gave them, we tried to shimmy along on our bikes. That wasn’t a good idea. One shimmy too much and we almost face planted over our bike handles. Our hips did lie. Sometimes it’s best to leave our inner Shakiras on the inside.
Not wanting to miss the kickoff of the Uruguay vs. Costa Rica game, we had to bid the street performers adieu and book it to the Biergarten. Now, if we’re honest, the real reason we went to the East Bay bar was to get a free pretzel. We have no shame when it comes to those yeasty twists of dough heaven. And if they’re going to give it away just for riding our bikes there, we’re going to take it. We found a spot at the community table and settled in for the game with our liter of beer — hey, when you’re in a German-style beer garden, do as the Germans do.
With half the TVs tuned to the game and the other half turned to a golf tournament, it was hard to tell who was watching what. We’re guessing the preppy couple across from us wasn’t there for the footy. The split room also made the atmosphere odd. There was no sense of camaraderie, or even rivalry, during the game. There were some cheers when the Costa Rican team tied the game and some more when they scored their two other goals, but the few spectators were the most vocal about the red card that Uruguay’s Maxi Pereira received. Violence — or knee hacking — sells.
With the game wrapped up, and an unbelievable Costa Rican upset, it was time for us to hop on our bike and make our way to Local 616 for the England vs. Italy game. This was the one we were waiting for. And so was everyone else at the Meeting Street dive bar. All eyes were glued to the screens — mostly to the giant projector. The crowd was split with 70 percent cheering for England (us included) and the other 30 rooting for Italy (bastards). The scene was electric. With every kick, pass, and tackle, the room would breathe collective sighs of relief or cheers of excitement. During the first five minutes of the game, we were tricked into thinking England had nabbed an early goal after the room erupted in cheers. Sadly, Raheem Sterling’s shot rocketed into the side netting rather than the goal.
People were so tuned in they didn’t even want to leave for food. Those wanting something other than Local 616’s usual empanadas found a way to keep their hanger in check by running next door to Ike’s and coming back with steaming piles of fried chicken goodness. And we’re pretty sure we saw Charleston Music Hall’s Charles Carmody have D’Allesandro’s pizza delivered. We don’t blame him. As the game wore on, the energy didn’t let up — even though England did. And as the final whistle blew, we knew we had to drown our sorrows in queso and margs from Santi’s over the loss. But not before a few rounds of giant Jenga.