Friday, January 19, 2018

New Year, Same Me, New Bar

Will it be the worth a 'Daily' visit?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 3:59 PM

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It's the worst time of the year for us Queen City nightlife rabble rousers. Panthers season is officially over, meaning no more Sunday Funday Game Days for us. Hell, we might even walk into the office on Monday bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to be productive.

OK, let's be honest, that's not going to happen.

While I may be licking my wounds over the end of the best reason to start drinking before many people are out of church, I can at least fondly look back at the end of this year's Panthers season and say, "I found myself a new Charlotte drinkery."

It was about a month ago, after a Panthers' win against the Green Bay Packers, that I first stumbled into one of my new favorite Uptown spots. After the game and many, many drinks, someone had the fine idea that we should brave the cold to check out one of the newest additions to the local nightlife scene – The Daily Tavern.

The venue had only been open for a week but a few friends had already checked it out. They were the experienced ones, and if they were game, I was game. I went to the website and read their welcome: "A refined watering hole with a nod to the modern day hangout. A cozy interior with a laid-back patio serving up a diverse selection of craft beers and cocktails along with some tasty American fare. A place that invites you to settle in and relax for a while." Hmmm, that was good enough for me.

Located on North Church Street in the Fifth Third Center, The Daily has taken over the space that was previously known as Dillinger's Taproom, which closed in April 2014. While I didn't get a chance to check out Dillinger's, based on what I've seen online, The Daily has made quite a few updates that contribute to its unique atmosphere. And it won't come as a surprise to anyone who visits that the project is backed by the same team that operates Connolly's Irish Pub, Prohibition, Dandelion Market, Tyber Creek Pub and the Workman's Friend.

The daily's dim lighting and spacious design calls back to its predecessors throughout Uptown, South End and Plaza Midwood. That in mind, The Daily seems like it will integrate into Charlotte nightlife quite nicely.

Naturally, the first thing I wanted to take a look at was the food menu. After taking a long hiatus from gnocchi, I recently fell in love with the sweet potato version at Dandelion Market. So when I first visited The Daily, I was dead set on one particular menu item: crab and bacon gnocchi.

There were a few other features that caught my eye, such as beef jerky, white cheddar biscuits and the pot pie. However, there weren't many menu items that were actually available during our visit – as was the case on other occasions as well, based on the complaints of some of our other friends. Blame it on beginner's luck or locally sourced ingredients, but I would imagine the kinks in food availability have been ironed out over the past month.

There were two patio areas located off the main dining area. The one in the front faces toward the street and offers a brighter space for dining in their relaxed atmosphere. The other, toward the rear of the dining space, is primarily designed for visitors who want to enjoy a cigarette while standing around high top tables and one of my favorites: heaters to keep the cold at bay for consistently chilly patrons like myself.

Fortunately, they actually had the crab and bacon gnocchi for us to try. I mean, who wouldn't want crab and bacon together?! The pungent aroma of parmesan may have thrown us off at first, but after tasting the dish, we were impressed. Someone else in our group had ordered The Daily Mac — a house-ground double burger with jack cheese, LOP and a sesame seed bun with a side of shoestring fries. Based on how quickly he scarfed down the burger, it was apparent that this menu item was also a hit.

Wondering about the libations? While I've been on a whiskey-and-coke kick over the past few weeks, The Daily has quite an impressive cocktail menu that begged me to expand my recently narrowed tastes.

The long bar extends almost across the entirety of the venue and features over 20 draft beers, liquor by the shot, wine and craft cocktails for $12 a piece. Of the cocktails featured, the Old School seems most up my alley: Bulleit Rye, brown sugar thyme syrup, fresh muddled cranberries and orange. It was just good enough to make this spot, if I'm not careful, a 'Daily' stop.

Be sure to stop by on any day of the week (Monday – Friday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. and starting at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays). Did I mention they have brunch on Saturday and Sunday?! Yeah, I'll be getting a peak at that menu soon.

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