The Gin Joint is a little gem of a place…
Those that know my imbibing habits understand that I default to a good single malt scotch when out and about. An early adopter of the marvelous whiskey, nothing else comes close to the mouth warming elixir. Except perhaps gin. With an abundance of British friends and family on both sides of the Atlantic, under their influence I’ve learned that a well made gin and tonic, negroni, or Sahara-dry martini all have a unique ability to both start the drinking hour, and bring it to a tidy conclusion. The merits and pitfalls of martinis will be left for another conversation.
Often in Charleston, SC. for both business and pleasure, my wife and I wandered into The Gin Joint on East Bay St. just a few days ago. Intimate, a place with perhaps six or seven stools, a half dozen inside tables and a wonderful street-side garden, welcoming little corners in which to pick your poison, almost all gin drinks, of course, with a small but well chosen wine list, and a bit of other things for those so inclined.
Balancing upscale and cozy seems out of reach for most of the restaurant industry these days, and whether you blame covid , capital, or attention to detail, most places just can’t get it right. The Gin Joint simply hits it out of the park.
The Gin Joint’s overwhelming appeal starts with the welcoming atmosphere; dim enough to make you forget the outside world, yet bright enough to pick out the names of the various gin bottles, and there must be hundreds.
It’s also beautiful inside. Everything perfectly scaled for its small size, tastefully chosen more to convey one’s home than a drinking establishment. Careful consideration to all the little things, from napkins to menu.
The Gin Joint is one of those vanishing places where the floor manager comes over to introduce themself, making casual conversation, directing, suggesting, offering, in this case, Jessie, her take on what to eat, what to try, and why she puts so much trust in Dillon, the mixologist intently crafting behind the bar.
Putting our faith in Jessie, we ordered clams & finocchiona. Delectable little morsels, swimming in something described as spring onion broth, so good that you want to forget your manners and bring the bowl to your lips. To hell with what your fellow patrons think.
I could spend serious time here, eating my way from their specialty cheeses, through the grilled head-on prawns, down to the very bottom of the menu and their s’more’ bar and creme brûlée desserts.
Ah, my martini. At The Gin Joint, olives come atop a separate glass of crushed ice to both keep them colder and to not dilute the taste or reduce the amount of gin in the glass. Dillon understands gin, and it was an absolutely perfect martini.
The Gin Joint is a little gem of a place. More than the drinks or the food, rare establishments like this allow you to become better acquainted with you spouse, date, or friends. Ambient, interesting music with just enough volume to encourages serious conversations about life, liberty and that elusive pursuit of happiness.
According to TripAdvisor and the like, Charleston has recently become a serious destination. A place where history, beaches, incredible food and friendly residents have transformed the once sleepy town into a don’t miss experience.
When business or pleasure call you to the East Coast, try to plan a couple of days in Charleston, and I’m always ready to give you my thoughts on what to see and do when you are there.
When you’re there, stop by The Gin Joint and make sure you tell Jessie and Dillon we said hello.