Found: Barreled at the Lift (1600 E. Woodlawn Road, Suite #130)
Ingredients: Strawberry vodka, fresh muddled cucumber, topped with champagne and club soda.
What better libation inspiration than a Prohibition-era speakeasy? Amidst a particularly unassuming location, Barreled at the Lift is a sly addition to the Charlotte craft cocktail scene. The name, partly inspired by its central proximity to an elevator, pays homage to the secret barrels that stored liquor in the 1920s and early '30s. Though you'll have to look closely to find this joint, tucked in a shopping center off Woodlawn, it's worth the gamble. The interior is oozing with character via its damask wallpaper, dim lighting illuminated by gas lanterns and barrel accent tables. The smoky atmosphere, induced by a plethora of hookah flavors, is wonderfully fitting. Barkeep Neal Cauble recommends the Boardwalk, served in a mason jar with strawberry garnish.
Co-owner Terri West, however, suggests the cocktail with the quirky name. "The typical martini has gone to the wayside," she says. To bring a variation of it back, try the Giggle Water, a gin drink served on the rocks. Historically inspired, Giggle Water was slang in the 1920s for "intoxicating beverage."