A Spot-On Speakeasy Concept Bar
When you walk down the stairs to the basement of Duckworth’s Uptown Charlotte location you are transported back in time to another era of American history. Exposed brick walls, cozy dark leather benches along the walls and the golden glow of vintage squirrel-cage filament bulbs set the mood...immediately, and intensely. You’re warmly welcomed by staff fashioning suspenders and bowties. You can’t help but forget about the busy streets above.
Rob Duckworth created this speakeasy concept bar with intentions of creating an atmosphere hinged in the 1920’s with a heavy focus on rare and unique beer and strong cocktails. The building itself was constructed in 1912 during the prohibition era and in it’s early days, was a Jazz cellar.
Attention Beer Connoisseurs
A vintage-inspired beer cellar, kept at a cool 55 degrees, houses over 1,000 hard-to-find beers. For example, Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. If that isn’t enough to get your blood flowing, you can also purchase a Beer Locker to store said beers. Three of the 12 lockers have already been sold. Setting you back $240 per year, and holding up to 16 bottles, you can keep your collection safe from family members & roommates. Bottles are held for you to use at your leisure. Be it birthday celebrations or business dinners, you’re likely to feel a sense of sheer joy when turning that key the first time.
Beer taps are a modest 20. If you haven’t caught on yet, they strive for quality over quantity. Ask any of the staff members and they’ll tell you ‘it’s the best draft list on the East Coast”. The key to a good beer is for it to be served in proper glassware and at the proper temperature.
Hold onto Your Hats Ladies & Gents
Serving the freshest cocktails possible, both literally and figuratively, is where things get exciting. Bar Manager Ron Oleksa has tended bar since his early twenties. He told us to do the math, but let’s just say, he has a thing for creating and preparing a perfectly designed cocktail. Ron and the rest of The Cellar team traveled to Manhattan seeking the raw inspiration that a city like New York bleeds out of every corner. They visited bars like Death & Company, Blind Tiger, and several more. They have 3 new seasonal cocktails we were lucky enough to taste last night. It won’t be long before their drink menu reaches up to 30 creations.
Fresh fruit is juiced to order, never pre-pressed. They use unique ingredients like homemade vanilla bean simple syrup, wood chips, fresh ginger, coffee beans and specialty salts. The favorite of the night seemed to be the Mole Fashioned, smooth and sultry.
Chai Hard ~ bonded rye whiskey, local chai tea, vanilla, charred cinnamon stick served in a chilled glass flask
Old Acquaintance ~ fresh pear and lemon, dry gin, liquors, cardamom bitters served in a champagne coupe
Mole Fashioned ~ stout barrel aged whiskey, roasted malt, mole bitters, flamed orange peel served in a tumbler
Exclusive Menu Tasting
Chef Fred Quinones has a very long list of experience on his resume. To name a few, Corporate Executive Chef for the NFL, Goldman Sachs and some well known New York restaurants like Le cirque and An American Place. You could clearly see his love and passion on the small plates/shares we were served. The oysters were by far my favorite, I could’ve eaten 25 of them.
Tuna Tartare ~ black and white sesame seeds, chunky guacamole, chile oil, wonton crisps
Truffle Mac & Cheese ~ grafton cheddar, gouda, toasted pancetta
Char-Grilled Blue Point Oysters ~ creole butter, pecorino, grilled baguette
Caramelized Brussels ~ smoked pancetta, red onion, balsamic
General Manager Charles Read is a one-stop-shop for all things culinary, hospitality, fine wines and craft beer. His knowledge reaches all corners of the beer world and enjoys sharing with anyone and everyone who is interested.
The Cellar is more than just a bar. It’s a beer “library” covered with a 1920’s feel who also happens to serve the strongest cocktails in the city. Go ahead and make a reservation between 5pm-7pm, after that it’s first come first serve.