Add to life’s certainties: Another bar will be opening tomorrow, or next week. Keep your eye on these new places, from some of the South’s top drinks maestros, which were just on the cusp of throwing open the doors at press time for our February/March issue, which featured a comprehensive look at the South’s best new bars.
Gary Crunkleton did nigh the impossible when he opened his namesake bar in Chapel Hill in 2006: He proved that refined drinking could survive and thrive in a college town, earning a national reputation along the way. Now Crunkleton is bringing that same courtliness and flair to Charlotte, this time with bites to complement the drinks.
Jewel of the South
New Orleans, LA
The newest project from celebrated Big Easy bartenders Nick Detrich (Cane & Table) and Chris Hannah (Arnaud’s French 75 Bar) will be a paean to traditional New Orleans drinking. (It’s named after a once-famous bar where the brandy crusta was invented.) Expect exemplary service with a heaping side of nineteenth-century New Orleans showiness.
A former bar manager at Durham’s 21c Museum Hotel, Sean Umstead is teaming up with his wife, Michelle Vanderwalker, to open a new downtown bar focused on cocktails incorporating produce from the state’s farms. That means lots of pickling and preserving and a strawberry daiquiri you’ll actually want to drink.
One of a trio of new spots from the group behind the Houston heavyweights Coltivare and Eight Row Flint, this 200-seat lounge’s expansive cocktail menu, overseen by beverage director and co-owner Morgan Weber, is broken into engaging categories, including one labeled “Extremely Interesting Non-Conformists.”
Since opening PX in Alexandria, Virginia, a dozen years ago, Todd Thrasher has been quietly upping the food-and-drink game around Washington. His new bar will be folded into his next venture: a rum distillery, which will of course provide the fuel for many of his concoctions.