Hours: Tues.-Sat. 5-10 p.m.
Just when you thought Charleston couldn’t possibly support another small plates, European-inspired bar, along comes Babas on Cannon. With its high ceilings, full-length picture window, and white marble everywhere, elements of the airy space certainly make you think Babas looks like every other wine bar you’ve frequented. However, the similarities stop there, as Babas is indeed a sui generis offering unto itself. Grab a seat, and you’re soon presented with a complimentary bowl of green olives and another filled with salty potato chips, thereby getting the dehydration — and no doubt the craving for a carefully curated adult beverage — off to a rollicking start. Try the martini (only $5 on Tuesdays) or the “as you wish” — any spirit, fresh pomegranate, lemon, orange, Campari, and demerara. Roughly half the menu is prepped in advance. A standout sampled from the ‘aperitivo case,’ the mushroom conserva is small, but mighty. The fried chickpea panisse, served with a wedge of lemon, is an unexpected delight. Comparable to mozzarella sticks filled with warm hummus, they’re crisp, silky, and absolutely delicious. I’m not telling you how what to do, but if you don’t order some, you’re not living your best life. Confounding, quirky, and charming, Babas on Cannon is at once familiar and peculiar. —Vanessa Wolf (Dish, Summer 2019)