Fri Nov 26, 2010
Imee12 updated their profile
If you like drinking in closets...
Let me start by saying the best part of this establishment is the bartenders. J and J – hands down are the nicest, hospitable, and sweetest cats in the drink slinging game in Charleston. This is why I wanted to go to Speakeasy in the first place. These dudes.
Next, let me just say that whoever the owner is needs to know that Charleston is a small big town. We all know each other. There are only 2 degrees of separation in this Holy City. Word of mouth is absolutely everything.
Ambience of this place is cozy. Cozy might not work depending on the clientele and the staff. We already went over how the staff is top notch. The thing about Speakeasy is that they want a certain kind of crowd. However, it is unclear if they know what that crowd exactly is. They have a strict dress code, but yet they want the bar to be the next cool hangout. Let’s review how confusing this is.
Think of the other bars/lounges in town that have strict dress codes: Trio, N/V, insert another boring sh*tshow bar name here. How cool are those places? You get your unexciting drinks in a f*ck-you plastic cup while some dude is grinding up on you. I mean, at least, he has a collared shirt on, right?
You see, the Speakeasy owners want to have that cool vibe, but fail to realize being judgmental hard-asses about the dress code makes you, well… Not cool, at all.
Last night, I was at Speakeasy with a gentleman friend of mine. He had a bandana headband on and a t-shirt. Did he look slovenly? Did he look like an unemployed street urchin AKA bum? No. The owner pointedly came up to him to reprimand him for his outfit. My friend, the gentleman he is, apologized. The owner would not let the matter go and snidely commented on how his wardrobe mishap had caused the bartenders to be in trouble. She promised my friend that the bartenders would be punished for allowing him and his wardrobe in her establishment. The owner issued my friend a warning. That's right: a warning. From her demeanor and arrogant attitude, I can only assume that she had no idea who my friend is. He happens to be a proprietor of a social media business in town. Yep. Social media. Yep. Word of mouth. You get me?
If you want your bar to be the cool hip place, then you should maybe watch some movies made in the last decade to figure out what that means, or get an internet connection and maybe Wikipedia what’s cool these days, or get someone to explain it to you. Cool and seersucker suits are not synonymous in this town. Either you want the cool, hip, young professionals in your bar or you want the mundane tightwads with collared shirts that nobody likes hanging out with. (Think: Midtown.)
The owner’s attitude was overly denigrating and belittling, especially when she was dressed in jeans, tennis shoes, and a t-shirt. This little interaction could be perceived in a number of ways. I’m not here to claim that I know what her particular intolerances for certain kinds of people may be.
I’m only here to give reviews.
So, if you like dressing up like an a**hole and drinking in a closet with some cool bartenders, then Speakeasy is for you.
(By the way, Johnny Depp often wears bandanas. If he's not cool, then f*ck it. I give up. My friend is not Mr. Depp; he's just a cool black guy trying to get a drink. But, we'll be sure to dress up next time. Wouldn't want that warning to turn into a citation.)
On Sat May 14, 2011 | Permalink
The Belmont is the New Old Raval
Let me explain further. Remember when Fish became the new Raval? Well, Belmont is the new Raval before it became Fish. What was that? You need further explanation?
Okay. Fine. We all remember the Raval-isque debauchery: dancing on the tables, sex in the bathroom (or the parking lot out back. you know. whatevs.), loud music, extracurricular party favors, etc. etc... Dial back a few years before it became the hot spot for the quick hook up; Raval was a quiet, peaceful, quaint little place where you brought friends to actually have a chat with. -Now, THIS is what Belmont is like.
It's cute, charming, and the answer to my cohort's (thirty-somethings) longing for a place not riddled with college kids. I, on the other hand, love college kids. Maybe I love them too much, but if you are into acting like an adult with adults and paying an adult rate for drinks, Belmont is your place to be. However, I will typically be down the street cavorting with people who are a decade or so younger than I am. -But to each her/his own.
On Fri Nov 26, 2010 | Permalink
Orientalism Served with Noodles and Rice
What's in a name?
I have a noodle to pick with W.O.K., The World Oriental Kitchen. Oriental? Flavors inspired by the East? Or is it flavors they consider are from the East. It’s more like World Occidental Kitchen. The entire concept reeks of Western ideas, assumptions, and arrogance. They have dishes with noodles and rice and sauces like teriyaki, Szechwan, and sweet and sour. Is this what they consider to represent the foods of the Orient? The term “Oriental” groups all Asians and Pacific Islanders into one neat culturally similar box.
I get what W.O.K. is trying to do. I understand their mission to provide a healthy and socially conscious eatery with their sustainability dining concept and their environmentally friendly products and practices. However, they fail miserably in being socially conscious by using such an outdated term. I honestly doubt that they intended to use “Oriental” to be offensive, but its use doesn’t make the restaurant appear true to their vision of effectively promoting “positive change through social responsibility”.
The word, “Oriental” has transformed throughout history. The Orient historically encompassed the Middle East and Asian countries. The term in today’s American English usually refers to Asian culture. Usage of the term only supports the implicit idea that the “East” is comprised of people with similar and uniform likeness. This is not to say that there aren’t similarities in people of countries in the Middle East and Asia, but these similarities have historically been analyzed and reported by Western eyes as “Oriental” culture. These persistent Western attitudes and assumptions of the Middle East and Asia only support imperialism of the past and neocolonialism of today.
Imagine a restaurant named World Western (Occidental) Kitchen, a socially responsible establishment that served up food inspired by Western flavors. What does that mean? Would the restaurant’s menu consist of American meatloaf, French coq a vin, Italian pasta, and British fish and chips? These are all Western countries that have the same history, language, and practices since they are from the “West”, right?
Linguistic power should not be underestimated. There is history behind words. Without the Occident there wouldn’t be the Orient and the fallible discourse that has resulted in their binary relationship. The elimination of binary thinking is essential to abolish further detrimental discourse centered on “We” versus “Other”. -“We” being the West and “Other” being the Orient.
Positive change through social responsibility could have started before World Oriental Kitchen opened its doors.
So, what’s in a name?
More than most are willing to consider.
On Thu Jun 24, 2010 | Permalink
Give Me One Reason to Drink Here...
And I'll turn right back around.
I’ve been driving by Muddy Waters, a coffee shop on 61, for some time now. They always have a mannequin outside dressed in different outfits depending on the weather, which always makes me laugh. I like to support local businesses so I nixed my usual Starbucks trip and pulled over.
It was adorable on the inside. Art work from local artists on the walls. A big open space with plenty of tables and chairs.
However, my biggest qualm about the Muddy Waters was the poor service. I don’t expect them to greet me with a big toothy smile and write my name on my little cup like Starbucks. Starbucks baristas are trained under corporate policies that were painstakingly drawn up after millions of dollars in marketing research done by fancy psychologists and consultants that figured out just how to hook you. I’m not expecting that, but I’m expecting some sort of hospitality.
I ordered a bagel. Instead of asking me if I wanted it toasted, he handed it to me cold. Why would I want to eat a cold bagel? I could eat nasty half ass shit that I usually throw together myself at home. But, instead I have come into an establishment expecting something that I may want to actually eat. A cold bagel is not really one of them.
I also ordered a soy latte and it tasted burnt and rather inedible. I only took a few sips.
If I’m going to spend $6 on a latte and a bagel, give me a reason to not go to the usual tried and true, Seattle based coffee conglomerate. My advice to all local coffee shops that are trying to break even despite being in a mile radius of Starbucks (even Peets Coffee for godsakes), you are going to have to go above and beyond. Sorry. Some of us go to Starbucks, not necessarily because we crave a little dose of corporatization every morning; we go because it’s familiar, it’s a habit, and it’s convenient.
I’m going to give Muddy Waters another chance. I want to. I was sorely disappointed this trip, but I don’t want to put Muddy Waters on the “Out” list because I want to support local businesses and I don’t want to put their mannequin out of a job. She works really hard in all sorts of weather conditions.
On Tue Jun 1, 2010 | Permalink
Gone, Daddy, Gone. The Love is Gone Away...
Closed for Business opened this week in the old Raval spot. I saw some of the old Raval regulars checking it out to see if that Raval magic was still there.
It was that crazy Raval magic that spurred some of the best nights in Charleston you've ever had. That bar, arguably, has gotten more patrons laid than any other bar on Upper King (not counting AC’s). Not to mention all the times, I've met and bonded with really great friends there. That place used to stir up voodoo aphrodisiac magic and spirited camaraderie. Ask anyone. They have at least one insane, unbelievable, memorable night they can recall that happened there or started there.
Well, that love is gone.
Now that it's Closed for Business that magic might have been there hidden under all that Williams-Sonoma decor and that chain restaurant feel, but I didn't find it. It wasn't behind the deer above the fake fireplace, the blonde wood wall panels, the hundreds (I'm exaggerating) pictures on the wall or not even hidden behind the anatomy poster in the corner. I even stayed past 1 AM, which is the golden hour where the magic happens. It just wasn’t there. It was bland, over-done, and too well-lit.
To make things more banal, the menu includes fries, burgers, and hot dogs. Yawn. Yawn. I was disappointed. What were they going for? A high end TGI Fridays?
It appears that the new name, Closed for Business, is the final adieu to Raval and everything that it was: fun, unique, and hip and replaced it with usual, trite, sterile and dare I say, a little too Market Street and East Bay-ish. The authenticity of before is gone.
I am a devoted alcoholic and am going to give it a chance since they offer a wide selection of beer, but the hole left on UK by Raval's closing has not been filled by Closed for Business.
Only time will tell. It’s only been the first week. Maybe the energy from before needs some time to be reignited. I hope that it can revive itself and the Revolutionary Eating Ventures crew can keep Closed for Business open for fun.
On Sun Dec 20, 2009 | Permalink
Croakies, Visors, Khakis... Oh, my!
Walking into Midtown is like going through a portal that instantly transports you into any number of establishments on East Bay Street. You thought you were on Upper King, but as soon as you walk in the door, it feels like you have entered the fraternity, Delta Iota Kappa. –Also known as DI(C)K.
It’s disorienting at first, but good thing you have your cocktail to enjoy in a fancy clear plastic cup to help you get your bearings. You have to blink your eyes a few times and shake the vodka around in your head to get a grip of the Frat Explosion. Now, The Blind Tiger and The Griffin crowds have a spot on Upper King, where they can freely wear their visors, croakies, and their false sense of entitlement. But no one is luckier than the aging Frat Boy from O’Malley’s who can now stumble right on over to Midtown and feel right at home.
It’s good to mingle and we had a good time there; my beverage in my plastic cup helped. It really did feel like the days when I actually was in college and went to frat parties.
Sh*t-talking aside. It's not always good to do the same thing over and over. So, give Midtown a try.
You never know.
On Mon Nov 30, 2009 | Permalink
As if right from the Mad Men set
Where older gentleman not only want to pay your bills. They want to pay them off.
The crowd from Oak Steakhouse, who formerly felt pretty shut out from the hip side of town, has found a new hang-out spot on King Street. Rue de Jean now has a serious contender for being the number one pick up joint for older gentleman to pick up on younger women. (Or vice versa.)
The place has a "Mad Men" feel: refined and glamorously vintage in a 1950’s to 1960’s kind of way. (Complete with people who were actually around in that era). Although the place does not have the formal:“No jacket. No service.” requirement, a dude could easily feel out of place without at least a jacket.
It can get stuffy at times and definitely not a place for the hipster chic. So, the ACs crowd should just stay on the other side of the street. Put on your best Charleston face and be ready to be inundated with the good ol’ boys of the Lowcountry.
Still a good time for something new and different. Since Raval has shut its doors, you do what you can to mix things up on UK.
On Sat Nov 14, 2009 | Permalink
Historically Preserved & Symbolically Significant
I’ve been going to the Urban in Berkeley on Bancroft since the late 90’s when I was in high school. So, I roll my eyes when I overhear 20 year old “hipsters” say, “I would never be caught DEAD in that store!” Charleston is a small enough town with 3 degrees of separation that I can call BS when I see it, especially when I’ve seen these hipsters in the store last week.
I’m not going to lie. I like Urban Outfitters; they have some cute stuff in there. All the fakery about how you only get your hip gear from obscure vintage shops in Europe is lame. Don’t be a poser. Admit that you go there, okay?
Now that we have that clear, what is most notable about this Urban Outfitters, in particular, is that they converted the Garden Theater into the store. The Garden Theater opened in 1918 and presented films and stage shows; it was the last combination movie and stage theater in Charleston.
Today, it feels like walking into a semi-preserved cavern of cinematic history. It’s an accomplishment in architectural preservation, but also a lesson in symbolic historical significance. Renovation revealed a hidden staircase to the right that black patrons used during days of segregation. Charleston’s efforts to preserve historical buildings should always remind us as we visit these preserved places of how divided Charleston’s people once were, which will hopefully only help us strive for a better future and more equality in the city.
Change is good. They did an excellent job in maintaining most of the Garden Theater’s interior and exterior delights.
It’s a must-see even if you’re not into hipster paraphernalia. Take a look around at the building and the merchandise. Maybe you actually need a Jesus flask. You never know?
On Fri May 15, 2009 | Permalink
Where East Bay/Market and Upper King Collide
I, on occasion, walk my 4 inch stiletto heels (complaining the entire time, of course) to Trio from Raval/AC’s/Chais, mostly because a dear friend of mine is an avid Trio patron. Anyway, it’s always good to mix it up once in awhile within safe vicinity of my usual haunts.
It’s Charleston’s only acceptable “club” to go to. Reminds me of the San Francisco warehouse clubs I used to dance/vomit in as a twenty year old, only not nearly as big.
You will find a menagerie of people here: from the East Bay/Market Street regulars to the Upper King professional alcoholics to the amateur partiers that stumbled in the place because they got someone to watch the kids for the night. This is possibly the only time we will all interact with each other in such large groups. A meeting of the minds… Or more like diseased livers.
There is a large outside area for you to smoke your cancer sticks. Downstairs has a live band, while the dark murky upstairs plays R&B and Hip Hop (rather what Charleston thinks is Hip Hop) so that you can grind your privates onto strangers in the comfort of darkness, if you’re into that. -Apparently, many people are.
The drinks are almost as cheap as AC’s. A plus is that they are served in fancy plastic cups!
There is something for everyone at Trio, especially if you are too trashed to care anymore and you have your beer goggles or champagne glasses firmly planted on your face.
Try it out! Try something different! It's good to be drunk in different places once in a while.
On Wed May 13, 2009 | Permalink
Hot dog stand between Charleston BeerWorks & Chais
A hot dog can be the perfect snack at 1:45 AM after you have been rudely escorted out of the bar. You still want to mingle and chatter but with purpose so that the police don’t pester you to clear the sidewalk.
Go to the hot dog stand.
The hot dogs are damn good, too. There will be a line. There will be hustling and bustling. There even might be some hoes trying to cut you in line. The shit is that good.
It probably isn’t the healthiest choice, but neither are the 8 Gran Ma shots you ingested. So, you might as well go for it! You’ll either work it off at the gym or throw it up later along with all the alcoholic beverages of the night.
On Sun May 10, 2009 | Permalink
This Sh*t is Bananas: B-A-N-A-N-A-S
Remember that coffeehouse that Felicity used to work at, Dean & DeLuca? Caviar and Bananas is a mini (mini) version of this, minus the angst and drama of the Felicity series. (If you don’t know who Felicity (Kerri Russell) is, then forgive me! I am a child of the WB Generation.) Anyway, Caviar and Bananas is a gourmet market and café situated in close vicinity to the College of Charleston, attempting to give C of C students a taste of what it would be like to go to school in a metropolitan city.
The food selections are from all over the world. You can choose from variety of sandwiches, salads, cheeses, sushi, pastries, and of course, wine and beer. The duck confit sandwich is my favorite! (A little pricey though, I admit, at $9, but I love it.)
Charleston is full of restaurants that a serve Southern Cuisine: Southern Cuisine with a French twist, American cuisine with a Southern Flavor, traditional Charleston dishes with a modern sophisticated flare, seafood influenced by Southern sensibility, blah, blah, blah. Meaning: 500 different ways to eat shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and collard greens in 800 different locations. Don’t get me wrong I love Southern food, but Caviar and Bananas can give you something a little different once in a while especially if you are crunched for time and you are near the campus.
(And I apologize for the reference to Gwen Stefani's song; I couldn't help myself.)
On Sat May 2, 2009 | Permalink
Wednesday Night: Ladies Night/ MUSC Night
Wednesday night is advertised as Ladies Night, but in reality it's MUSC (Medical University of SC) Night.
If you like residents or the women that like to nail residents, in hopes of one day becoming a doctor's wife, then head here on Wednesday night.
Besides the Gray's Anatomy-esque activities, there is live music, drink specials, and tapas that always gets rave reviews.
It can get crowded, especially in these economic times with chicks hunting for MD's to help supplement their incomes, but it's an overall fun place.
Besides, it's good to get off the Peninsula once in awhile.
On Tue Apr 28, 2009 | Permalink
You know you're wasted...
There comes a point in all of our partying days where you are so trashed beyond normal everyday reasoning. It doesn’t help that in your debauchery you are accompanied by your equally wasted and slobbering friends. The group of you will decide that the only way to end the night in a big bang is at Thee Belle... Thee Southern Belle.
A night at The Belle is only fun if done once or twice a year. If you are a regular every Wednesday night, then you may not relate to my experience of Charleston’s most treasured strip club. Treasured and cherished because it is the only totally nude strip joint in town.
On the weekends, the place is full of people that just needed a place to party past 2 AM. Charleston’s bars close up shop at 2 AM, but Thee Southern Belle is open until 5 AM on weekends.
There have been a few occasions were I have staggered out of the place as the sun is about to come up a few hundred dollars poorer and sadly still drunk. You can’t buy alcohol here, but you can bring your own beer… in a cooler like any classy person would.
It’s good times if you aren’t trying to fall in love with a chick that is just dancing for you for your money and if you are with a bunch of friends that want to just sit around, drink beer, and be around naked ladies. And if you don’t have friends that like to do this on occasion, then you need to find some new friends.
On Mon Apr 27, 2009 | Permalink
All the Pretty Pretty Lights
Ok. So, it's a bit far from our usual Upper King spots, but the walk/trek/ride/drive/jaunt/crawl is worth it. The place is so well put together with chandeliers, swanky wallpaper, and an overall sophisticated but not uptight vibe. Brickouse (pictured above) bartends there, which is reason enough to go there, but the Zipang Sparkling Sake is to die for... Literally. Like I wanted to do keg stands (sake stands actually) with this stuff, but my dear friend, Holly, pried me away from the bar before I could order 35 more bottles and attempt to chug them upside down.
On a less alcoholic note, the food is fabulous street fare from different parts of the world.
* A super bonus: There is parking!
On Mon Apr 20, 2009 | Permalink
Art for everyone.. Even you. Yes you!
Redux offers art classes even for the artistically challenged like myself. And when I held up my rudimentary charcoal "drawing" tonight everyone was so cool about it, even the teacher.
This studio also has super fun art show openings with live music, snack foods, and FREE wine (usually).
On Tue Apr 7, 2009 | Permalink
If you fail, try, try, again... here.
So, you struck out all night. You even went to AC’s for last call to scramble for your true love of the night. Then when you struck out again, you ran down to Juanita’s to see if that special someone was there. No such luck.
The very last ditch effort, besides the Southern Belle, is Harris Teeter downtown. Everyone is running over here to buy some beer for their after parties. You are sure to run into someone you are going to know or at least someone you want to know. And if you don’t, you poor thing, you can grab some decent sushi or a frozen pizza to soothe your failed efforts.
On Tue Apr 7, 2009 | Permalink
Cheap cute clothes
I have a lot of very cute and very original pieces from this shop. Dresses, coats, and shirts that are from unique labels. The awesome part is the stuff in here is cheap. I have found stuff here for under $30.
On Tue Apr 7, 2009 | Permalink
Best estheticians ever.
They treat my breakouts as serious as I do. I can call them up panicked and they try their best to accommodate my schedule. Most importantly, their estheticians know what they are doing. I went in on for one of my emergency breakout facials yesterday and I’m already noticeably clearing up. They are also the best spa to get Brazilian waxes, brow waxes, or any other hair removal. My personal esthetician is Rhett who takes the time to learn about my skin type and treat my skin appropriately. She has put my face on a quick recovery after breakouts. Also, the Brazilians here are the least painful of any place I’ve ever been in my life. The best and most personable spa in town. Most of the staff know it’s me before I even introduce myself on the phone.
I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my face, skin, or crotch.
On Tue Apr 7, 2009 | Permalink
Best Looking Staff in Town
It’s true. From the hosts, hostesses, barbacks, bartenders, servers, DJs, bouncers, and managers: Chai's serves up some hot pieces. I can tell you all the shit everyone already knows: great food, great service, and the place to go on Wednesday through Friday nights. We know this, hence the line outside all the time.
But if you aren’t on the list, it’s worth the wait because Chai's staff members are seriously some good looking people. I’m not saying this just because most of them are my friends.
On a slightly less superficial and serious note, Chai's is fun because the staff is awesome and the crowd is usually classy and less trashy. Usually, the patronage here consists of fun liberal minded people.
I am a loyalist to Chai's and will continue to contribute my hard earned cash to this establishment. I’ve already invested hundreds as it is.
On Sun Apr 5, 2009 | Permalink
If it's dead here, it's dead everywhere in town
AC’s is not for the faint-hearted. I always have a great time because people are forced to leave their stuck up bullshit at the door. The drinks are so cheap; you could get hammered with just $20. I should know. It also is a haven for the hottest hipster pretty boys in Charleston. This is their home base. The chicks are hot too because where there are pretty boys there are hot chicks to follow.
One thing to note: If AC’s is dead, then everywhere in Charleston is. This place kills it every night. It’s never a dull moment.
And the burgers are awesome.
On Sun Apr 5, 2009 | Permalink
Fish is the New Old Raval
I remember the days when Raval wasn’t a whore and douche show. Not that I haven’t had some fun nights at Raval because I have. Everyone knows this, but there was a time about three years ago when Raval was a chill hang out. It was before it was the place to be seen and all the riff raff got word of this and started going there. Before the VIP list, lines down to the corner of St. Phillip, and bitchy whore bags screaming at me because I get to bypass the line. Raval is what it is now and I am still a loyal patron, but Fish is reminiscent of the laid back nights once experienced at Raval.
Fish hosted one of the Fashion Week after parties and didn’t disappoint. They have the décor to house the snooty and the atmosphere to satisfy the Upper King’ers that need to get away from the fakery that often show up on a Friday and Saturday night at Chais and Raval. There’s also a DJ, who chooses to play only good music from a variety of genres.
I had a great relaxed Saturday night, which I desperately needed since my Friday night this weekend was a bit crazy and I had a hangover that lasted until ten that night. I was able to actually have conversations with my friends and didn’t have to battle with amateur drinkers that usually are crawling all over East Bay and more recently Upper King.
Go to Fish while it’s still a cool non-fakery hang out spot. Before you know it, the douche and ho bag brigade will find out about it and we will have to hunt yet again for a new chill bar.
On Sun Apr 5, 2009 | Permalink
i love how you find (and remember) drunken memorable experience in even the less notable establishments i.e. Harris freakin Teeter. thought you were gonna say the JI HT.
i wanna hear what you think of Rue de Jean too.. *nostalgia*
lol you are awesome for adding Thee Southern Belle haha have you ever been to Wild Joker?
no. actually have only been to the belle in charleston. haha
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Real Name: Imee Cuison
User Since: Mar 23, 2009
Karma Points: 107
Last Update: May 14, 2011
Payin' them bills...