Sean Brock appreciates a good bourbon and pork rinds. He likes country ham, fried pickles, and Manhattans. The trouble was, the McCrady’s chef couldn’t find a place in Charleston to enjoy that kind of bar fare. So he and Clint Sloan, McCrady’s beverage director, came up with their own menu of creative bar food and have paired it with some authentic pre-Prohibition era cocktails — drinks that have names like Bamboo, Sazerak, and Side Car.
The menu will be available to patrons every night — beginning tonight, Thurs. Feb. 11 — from 5-10:30 p.m.
“We’ve got a beautiful bar,” says Brock, “and I really want people to be able to come here and enjoy it.”
Each day, the chalkboard above the bar will list the six featured snacks of the day that will range from housemade fried bologna on a stick (dipped in Brock’s own beer mustard) and house-smoked trout on crackers to buffalo sweetbreads and fried mac and cheese sticks with black truffle puree.
At a preview happy hour on Tuesday night, we got to sample dehydrated shrimp poofs (think shrimp-flavored Cheetos), foie gras terrines, housemade pork rinds, crispy duck rillette fritters with cranberry ketchup, and the best pork shoulder sliders this side of Momofuku.
“It’s bar food for foodies,” says Brock, who was eager to share samples of his artisan country ham and fried pickles.
The drinks are strong and unique. Bartender Ben Mills described the Bamboo — a cocktail that mixes cream sherry base with plenty of bitters — as having a complex flavor profile reminiscent of curry. Whiskey, gin, and a bunch of ingredients you’ve probably never heard of dominate the rest of the menu. The Seelbach pairs bourbon and bubbles for an interesting combo, and the gin-soaked Pegu proved a popular choice among the crowd.
Who would have thought McCrady’s would be the place to enjoy pork rinds paired with drinks your grandparents would have loved back in the day? Pre-Prohibition Granny would have loved the prices too — most offerings are under $10.