Though it won’t be opening until next year, the future Mexican restaurant Pancito & Lefty held a pop-up dinner at Faculty Lounge on Thursday. The location will be on up-upper King Street in the old Zappo’s Pizza and food will (presumably) not be prepped on a re-purposed pool table as it was at Faculty Lounge — though kudos for the impromptu use of space. The vibe was very welcoming and the neighborhood packed the place out even before the official start. For my first (and last) drink I selected the Tahona, mostly because it had one name and it was easy to shout to an all-too-busy bartender. The drink itself was described as “bittersweet mezcal” and I have no idea why I was expecting anything different, as it was just that. Garnished with a twist of orange, it put even more hair on my chest and could be smelled from a mile away. I’m looking forward to drinking more of these once Pancito & Lefty opens.
Treating the pop-up as a sort of appetizer, I traveled to the other part of town to dine at the newly-opened 5Church. The restaurant is housed in the old Mad River Bar & Grill, which is fitting as it happens to be a former church. The original 5Church is located in Charlotte, just off of 5th and Church Streets. If you have visited the Charlotte location, you will notice a similar aesthetic. The menu itself is pretty contemporary and also all over the place. We ordered several things and were delighted by them all. The Art of War, an ancient Chinese military text mostly attributed to Sun Tzu, is written in its entirety on the ceiling of the chapel. That will give you something else to read than your phone or the extensive cocktail menu. All in all, 5Church is a great addition to the Market Street area. The owners hope to draw locals back to the tourist-laden spot and I imagine they will succeed. I went back later that weekend for another “Viper” cocktail and to try and determine if that was, in fact, Fruity Pebbles atop my lemongrass mousse. I still think it was.
Friday evening, I was back at The Alley for their highly-anticipated anniversary party, Studio 300. The party is always ’70s-themed and attendees go all out with their decades-appropriate frocks. Outside guests were handed champagne by two disco-attired performers on stilts. Keeping with the theme, Charleston Party Booth was on hand in their VW van. The only emissions to worry about were the slew of painted ladies billowing out of the photo booth, as the heels were dangerously high. Off from that, there was a live horse named Sissy, for whatever reason. It provided a great, yet random backdrop to entering guests.
Inside The Alley had two big-ass disco balls which I thought was kind of funny being next to a Big Ass Fan. Natty Heavy set the soundtrack to the party and got the crowd moving on the dance floor while a trapeze artist above preformed to the music. Upstairs, on the mezzanine, there was another photo booth, this time devoid of a van and in the private room, a silent disco. The silent disco is one of my favorite spectacles to watch when you do not have headphones. After gazing upon that for a solid 15, I ran into one of the painted ladies and asked how she was going to remove the paint after the party. She said she had no idea, so here’s hoping it was not lead-based and that her sheets have not been permanently ruined.
On Saturday, I ventured out to the Citadel stadium for the Charleston Animal Society’s Chili Cook-off and Oyster Roast. Admittedly, I arrived a little late, as the event ends around 5 p.m., so most of the chili and oysters were gone. Thankfully though, I met up with some friends at the ABC News 4 tent where John Bruce supplied me and my guests with some Coors Light. As the sun began to set, it became chilly and we hauled it to the new Charleston Beer Works for some actual chili and caught the tail end of the Heels game. All was not lost, not even UNC.