Old-timer The Best Friend Lounge makes a comeback to the Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel this week. The long-standing hotel shut the doors to the bar several years ago, but with the help of veteran bartender Roger Gelis, it reopens this Thursday, July 21. The space is more intimate that the Mills House current Barbados Room bar.
The Best Friend Lounge will serve cocktails inspired by classics, local beers, and fortified wines like sherry, port, vermouth, and madeira. Of the wines, Gelis says he’s been exploring them and that “The various expressions within the different categories have a broad range of personalities. Studying and tasting them have pulled me into a rabbit hole. I’ll keep going and sharing along the way.”
The name of the establishment is a historical reference to a train:
The bar is named after the famed Best Friend of Charleston, the first steam powered locomotive built entirely in the United States. It was built in 1830 (coincidentally the same year that Jerry Thomas was born) and made its inaugural departure on Christmas Day 1830. Sadly its career only spanned six months as the locomotive suffered a boiler due to “operator error” (sounds familiar, current even today) in June of the following year.
The Best Friend Lounge opens Thursdays through Saturdays, 5:00 p.m. to midnight. Light food offerings from executive chef Jonathan Hawks will also be available.
For a peek of the bar, check out these Instagrams from the soft opening.