Essex: The first step in a major transformation of the Trade and Tryon ‘square’

During weekday lunches and the weekend rush, the square (Trade & Tryon) is a sight to behold. Filled with workers in the day, filled with social butterflies at night. People are everywhere, yet they are just passing through the square. A stop along the way. You may ask why people are just walking through the most important intersection in uptown.

Well the answer is simple, there is nothing to do there.

We recently reported on the Bank of America Plaza renovations as well as the 101 N Tryon building’s renovation. Well, here is Essex Bar & Bistro. Essex, located at the bottom of the Omni Hotel, will be leading the charge of transforming the square from something you walk through to something you stop at.

Partners Sandeep Patel, Haim Aizenberg, Erez Sukarchi and Pete Lloyd have come together and are ready to bring us something totally new: Pedestrian activation at the square.

Their plans for the restaurant are pretty unique to uptown — not quite tapas but not quite a massive-portioned meal either, but “bistro sized.” They will focus on international cuisine, giving the menu tastes from all over the world. Lunch and dinner will be the focus; however they also have plans to transform the venue to adapt to nightlife demand as well (potential to stay open until 2 a.m. on weekends).

The food sounds like it will be incredibly inviting and will give a flavor to whatever cuisine you feel like, but what has me really excited is the bar. Craft cocktails, local beer (12 taps), and an extensive (70+) wine list give me the indication this place won’t mess around when it comes to helping to evolve Charlotte’s maturing nightlife scene.

One of my biggest and most constant complaints about nightlife in uptown Charlotte is that apart from a select few places, there is no true cocktail bar. No place to get an expertly made cocktail and just relax with that drink. Uptown’s nightlife scene is rather one dimensional and that reputation is rightfully earned. However, a new wave is coming and Essex will be a place to continue that evolution. To me, the food is important, but the bar is where this place will shine, where it will truly carve its place uptown.

They have secured master mixologist Todd Bayley to create the cocktail menu and it sounds like it will not only be extensive, but carefully crafted. “The cocktail list is going to be everything thing from original classic cocktails to new age modern infused cocktails,”Director of Operations Sean Potter said. “The wine list will be from the oldest regions of the world to unique new regions, unlike uptown Charlotte has ever seen.”

They also said that it won’t be your standard 12 drink cocktail menu either (exciting), but that it will be a menu filled with creative cocktails from all different eras (VERY exciting).

I can imagine myself walking uptown and grabbing a cocktail and sitting on their patio, enjoying what will easily be the best people watching in town. Activating this intersection is so important and it’s amazing to see folks finally understanding that and taking charge. Even inside, the atmosphere will be inviting (and a bit funky).

Speaking of the inside, I was blown away when I saw these first images. It was not what I was expecting at all, and I mean that as a compliment. Industrial modern décor elements like brick, copper and wood line the interior and give it a feel unlike anything I have seen uptown.

Get ready because come the second quarter of 2016, Essex is looking to serve uptown Charlotte its lunch, dinner and craft cocktails, craft beer and wine…all this in the most important intersection of uptown.

Stay tuned as they get closer to open we will have further coverage on their menus.

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