Bay Street Biergarten will bring high tech geekery to Charleston's outdoor boozing scene this October.
"We're Bavarian-style with a southern twist," explains Laura Patrick, one of three co-owners of the reformed Boathouse/Rice Market space on 549 East Bay St. "We felt like something was missing in Charleston and wanted to show off craft beer in a tech-savvy way." Patrick plans to use iPads for all transactions and tap tables for unaided consumer imbibing.
What's a tap table? Bay Street will offer two communal tables, as well as a self-serve craft beer wall. Like purchasing chips or credits to play the slots at a casino, customers can put money on an in-house radio-frequency identification (RFID) card and use it to pay for beer by the ounce. "That way, you don't have to get a full glass of anything if you don't want to," Patrick says.
Executive chef Jason Walker brings a talent for beer and food pairings, along with quite a mouthful of experience — a stint at Asian eatery Momofuku in New York, a year and a half cooking in Dublin and most recently the executive chef position at beachfront restaurant Miss Lucy's in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walker's offerings will be German inspired but Southern made. The Lowcountry Bavarian fusion menu will include pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel and spätzle, as well as shrimp and grits bacon bites, house-made pig wings and beer-boiled peanuts.
With 60 beers on tap, an ample wine list and specialty cocktails, there's something for everyone behind the bar. Newcomer Striped Pig Distillery was tapped to concoct a specialty line of liquor for the restaurant. "We definitely wanted to incorporate some local flair with Charleston breweries and distilleries," Patrick says.
Patrick (former attorney and daughter of Patrick Properties founders Celeste and Charles) along with partners Greg Tierdon (craft beer aficionado and former state auditor) and Ryan Workman (former general manager of Daniel Island Grill and DIG in the Park founder), also see the importance of continuing education. All three Bay Street Biergarten owners want to secure their first level cicerone certification by fall and dedicate an area in the restaurant for beer classes and dinners. "We want to be a place that's welcoming and unpretentious ? where you can ask questions," Patrick says.
Architecturally, the former Boathouse/former Rice Market spot was perfect for a beer hall, according to Patrick. "It's a communal space with tons of room and a lot of character," she says. The 7,000 square feet locale will have seating indoors and out and lots of TV screens for avid sports enthusiasts. Large parties of beer fans and non-brew imbibers are welcome. It's all about a good time, 21st century style.
Written and reported by Erin Ziegler
· Bay Street Biergarten [Official]
· Beer Gardens Are About to Be Everywhere [-ECHS-]