Earlier this week, we stopped in to Proof, King Street's newest watering hole. Located in a former to-go pita place at 437 King, it's a joint venture between the owners of the TBonz Restaurant Group and Craig Nelson, who worked at the West Ashley Pearlz for four years.
Though it's been touted as a cocktail bar, it offers a little something for every palate, from $1.75 PBRs to artisanal cocktails to tasty bar snacks. With its dark burgundy walls and long community tables, the place feels a little like Raval (R.I.P.), which is no surprise — Nelson worked there years ago, and he says he wanted to bring elements of various places he's worked to Proof.
To sip, there are the aforementioned cheap cans of beer (for the late night F&B crowd) as well as more "real good beers," each with its own helpful description on the menu. The Grand Teton Bitch Creek "has more medals than Michael Phelps" and the Avery Out of Bounds is "practically Maalox." As for the cocktails, we enjoyed Le Gin et Le Juice, a blend of Tanqueray, Ricard, Peychaud's Bitters, and grapefruit juice ($8) as well as le Club Fez Aperitif: Lillet Blanc with blood orange bitters ($7.50). That one's a nod to Fez, another of Nelson's former ventures.
The regularly-changing menu is scrawled onto a chalkboard over the bar, and it's full of great bar food that's been kicked up a notch. Wild Olive chef Jacques Larson helped put together the menu, which includes a few skewered foods like big fat meatballs in savory marinara sauce (2 for $5) and sugary sweet fried doughnut bites ($5). There's also currently a nice trio of dips served in cute little mason jars, including a boiled peanut hummus, decadent duck rillettes, and some tasty pimento cheese — Nelson's wife's own recipe. You'll also find jars of pickled eggs on the bar — a nice touch from Larson — and for $1.50, you might as well try one. They're served with a dollop of mustard and a pepper shaker, and they taste a little like salt and vinegar chips.
Nelson says business has been good so far — they've had a line out the door the last few weekends. Stop by to see what they're all about.