King Street's forthcoming Vintage Lounge plans to open before holiday season

Grape escape

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Vintage takes over the former Torch space - KINSEY GIDICK
  • Kinsey Gidick
  • Vintage takes over the former Torch space
Charleston is having a wine boom. Monarch Wine Merchants and Edmund's Oast Exchange opened this summer on the heels of goat.sheep.cow.north last year. Graft wine shop is in the works, and two wine bars are under construction kitty-corner to each other on King. One can't help but think that maybe the Holy City's PBR and shot days are waning.

In that latter mix is Vintage Lounge wine bar. A partnership between sommelier Nathan Wheeler and developer Mike Shuler (Blind Tiger, Trio, and Midtown), the forthcoming Vintage is planned to be something of a palate cleanser to Upper King's, shall we say, bro bar past.

Wheeler credits this overwhelming interest in wine with it being more accessible. The former Bin 152 employee says that thanks to the internet, these days you can get to know a vineyard or winemaker without visiting. Plus, wine is an endlessly fascinating subject. "Wine has everything — it's law, history, politics in a bottle."

Wheeler hopes to share his vino enthusiasm at Vintage which will be staffed with employees who are predominately somms themselves. And damn what a space to share it in.

We weren't allowed to take pictures, but inside 545 King St., designer Betsy Berry has transformed the former Torch into a sophisticated space. Gold leaf flecks the ceiling like gilded clouds and a 21 seat marble bar runs the length of the room. Wheeler says banquettes will sit across from that with club chairs rather for comfortable lounging. Out back, Vintage has a large covered patio where Wheeler plans to host gets somms and wine experts.

One can imagine the vibe will be Belmont-esque but with a wine rather than cocktail focus, although Wheeler says that if you really must have a mixed drink, his team will be able to oblige.

Vintage will also have a small menu focused mainly on charcuterie and cheese which will be available until 2 a.m. nightly, and a series of small plates available until 10 p.m. Look for Vintage to open sometime before the holidays.


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