Welcome to Essex Bar & Bistro, Charlotte’s premium uptown craft cocktail bar and gastropub. Essex is part bistro, part lounge, and part meeting place. We’ve put as much care into the craft of cocktailing as we do our menu of world cuisine. Our Chef and Mixologist’s bring in only the most fresh ingredients to ensure the very best for our guests. Our bistro style service makes Essex the perfect spot to try different cuisine from all over the world!

Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte at Trade & Tryon, and only steps away from the Spectrum Center. Essex is the perfect place for happy hour, evening cocktails, after dinner drinks, late night rendezvous, and private parties!

Michael Curtis / Executive Chef
Executive Chef, Michael Curtis, brings his 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He is explicitly known for his creativity in the kitchen as well as developing new concepts for three restaurant openings. As Essex is his fourth restaurant opening, Michael has undisputable knowledge for a successful launch.


He carries extensive knowledge of worldly flavors and creates spectacular world cuisine. He introduces new methods and flavors from comfort food to classical French.


Curtis’ passion to the hospitality industry has been ever growing since the age of 12 when he worked as a dishwasher. Later promoted to the lead grill position at the age of 16, Curtis’ experience allowed him a comprehensive understanding of the restaurant industry that led to his success.


A native of Augusta, Georgia, Curtis moved to Charlotte in 1995 and joined the opening teams of three well-known Charlotte establishments. Experience in opening new restaurants instilled a strong foundation for him to be at the center of Essex Bar & Bistro’s kitchen.


Curtis received his Bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. He believes the most rewarding part of his job is to creating new flavors for each of his guests.

Jeff Wakem / Regional General Manager

Regional General Manager, Jeff Wakem, is no stranger to opening new restaurants. Renowned for creating a variety of new concepts, Jeff has sharpened his skills thus making him the perfect man for the job.


A graduate from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, Wakem started his career out with a management role at Walt Disney World in Orlando, this led him to the new business division of Darden Restaurants. In this role, he helped create the Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 concepts.


In 2012, he was on the opening team for E2 Emeril’s Eatery at Levine Center for the Arts. Following his experiences as a member of the opening team at E2, Wakem opened Smoke Modern Barbecue. While at Smoke, he developed and trained the staff which helped establish a strong commitment to service and excellence.


Wakem believes the most rewarding part of his job is creating new concepts and helping to develop his employees as professional, productive team members.

Ashley Morris / Director of Sales & Marketing
A native to Southern Louisiana, Ashley moved to Charlotte in 2010 where she attended Johnson & Wales University to study Event Management. While in school, Ashley worked for several well-known Charlotte establishments varying from logistics, events, and marketing. Her extensive knowledge in the restaurant industry transitioned perfectly when she joined the Enso & Essex family as the Director of Sales & Marketing.


Known for her outstanding event production, she truly customizes and tailors each event to her client’s wants and needs. Her attention to detail and passion for creating a memorable experience sets her apart from the rest. Her specialty is engaging with every client to deliver exactly what they envision for their special event.


Ashley brings southern hospitality to a new level. This past April she won Elevate Lifestyles, “Hostess with the Mostess” award. “The most rewarding part is when I see huge smiles on my clients faces or receiving a hug after their event.” Her goal is to make every event special for her clients, which she fully exceeds, going above and beyond to make every clients event spectacular.

If you are interested in joining the Essex team please fill out the application below and email it to us! | Please email us
Essex Bar & Bistro is happy to validate parking after 5:00 pm at the Auto Park Garage at 4th and Church Street, just 2 blocks away.

101 S Tryon St, Ste 14 Charlotte, NC 28280

(980) 406-3857


New Essex Hours
Monday-Thursday: 11AM-11PM
Friday: 11AM-12AM
Saturday: 10:30AM-12AM

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