The most visible spot at University Place has a new tenant with a brash attitude. Welcome the first Carolinas location for Bar Louie, an 80-restaurant chain with the martini glass in its logo and a time-to-have-fun attitude inside.
“Eat, Drink & Be Happy,” says the sign by the door. “We should be able to throw a party every day of the week,” adds veteran manager Dean Allen, his voice still raspy from the three-day grand-opening bash.
Bar Louie opened Nov. 15 at 8760 JM Keynes Drive, near the Hilton and University Place Lake and visible from the Tryon-Harris Intersection. Look for the building with the martini glass on its sign. Smokey Bones closed here earlier this year. Out with the ‘cue. In with an open, upscale restaurant featuring expansive bar, thick-padded booths and lounge seating for soaking in the live music every Thursday-Saturday.
Says the company literature, “Bar Louie is an eclectic urban bar and eatery made famous for their handcrafted signature martinis. While beer and wine connoisseurs will be impressed with the extensive selection of imports, 20 beers on tap and 22 wines by the glass, cocktail drinkers will revel in the 32 signature martinis, mojitos and margaritas made from the highest quality ingredients, fresh fruit and hand squeezed juices.”
Freshly made entrees, burgers and more
But this is much more than a bar. The expansive menu includes nine burgers, 10 entrees, several personal-pizza-style flatbreads, salads and “Small Plates” – a Bar Louie version of tapas appetizers that ranges from Tempura Shrimp to Meatballs al Forno. “A group of four can sit down and share several and not necessarily get stuck with a single entre,” Dean says.
He also emphasizes Bar Louie’s from-scratch approach to all its food preparation. “We really are a made-in-house restaurant,” Dean says. Yet the full menu is available all the way to closing nightly at 2 a.m.
Emphasis on fun
Along with the food comes the good-times attitude of Bar Louie’s wait staff. You won’t find the wait staff spewing canned corporate scripts. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Dean says. “We allow our staff, if you’ve got a couple of tattoos, so be it. You don’t have to cover them up for us. “We do, however, take a serious approach to service and hospitality with a goal of providing a world-class experience to every guest,” Deans adds.
Of course with a slogan of Eat, Drink & Be Happy, you expect to have fun. Live music starts at 9 p.m. on Thursdays-Saturdays. Bar Louie recently celebrated “Prohibition Repeal Day,” and several of the women on staff dressed up as ‘20s Flappers.
Dean says the response to Bar Louie been very positive, with many guests telling him, “Finally, something sexy. Something Classy. Something Uptown in the University area.” See for yourself. Have plans yet for New Year’s Eve?
Join the New Year’s Eve party
Enjoy a good time at Bar Louie on New Year’s Eve. For just $10 per person, enjoy live music starting at 10, a champagne toast at midnight with Ryan Seacrest and the Times Square crowd on the big-screen TVs, and then a full breakfast buffet from midnight to 2 a.m. Call 704-285-7010 for details and reservations.
About Bar Louie
Bar Louie is at 8760 JM Keynes Drive, near the Hilton Hotel in University Place. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and late-night dining from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. Bar Louie offers several specials, including half-price flatbreads and select appetizers 4-7 p.m. every Monday-Friday. Or come Tuesdays 5 p.m.-closing for Burger Night, with specialty burgers with “Tots” or fries for $5.