Public relations entrepreneur Michelle Van Jura wanted to discover a place in Charleston where she and her friends could go out dancing to live music in a sophisticated, grown-up space, and when she couldn’t find it, she built it. Van Jura opened the Habit (213 East Bay Street, Charleston) earlier this month with a huge party of over 450 people.
The new French Quarter establishment is billed as a “multi-tiered entertainment experience.” The first floor holds the main dining and a large bar; there’s another bar and a lounge area for live entertainment on the second floor; and the third floor holds a rooftop bar that overlooks the harbor.
The space, decorated by Van Jura, is a modern take on Art Deco with jewel-toned furniture, gilded mirrors, peacock wallpaper, and a few neon signs thrown in for the ‘gram. “I wanted a sexy bar,” says Van Jura, “I wanted a bar where people can come in all dressed up and feel sexy and confident.”
The lounge hosts acts like the ’80s cover band the Breakfast Club, DJ MooMoo, and the Quentin Ravenel Experience. There are also plans for movie nights, comedy shows, and football watch parties.
Van Jura brought in chef Matthew Greene, formerly of Hall Management Group, to create the menu. The Habit is open all day, and every menu includes caviar, like the hash browns and caviar at breakfast or the chicken bites and ranch caviar dip at dinner. Most of the dishes on the evening menu are meant to be shared, like lamb lollipops, tuna crudo, or poutine. But there’s also a smash burger, a crab cake sandwich, and a 34-ounce ribeye. Saturdays and Sundays are brunch days.
The bar is fully stocked with beer, wine, and liquors and offers signature drinks like the Ain’t Misbehavin’ which is a dirty martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives. “I wanted a place where you can sip a delicious drink and feel like you’ve stepped back in time a bit,” says Van Jura.
The Habit is open daily, from 9:30 a.m. to midnight.