Hot girl summer is over. But wiener bar fall has only just begun here in Charleston.
Just a few weeks removed from news that Bar Normandy veteran Alex Lira planned to open a hot dog and crudo joint on James Island, Recovery Room owner Chris DiMattia inked a deal with Gilroy’s owner Brian Wolter to open a new bar in the old Upper Deck/Bait and Tackle space upstairs.
The new bar, Bangkok Lounge, is slated to open Oct. 1. It will serve drinks, of course, along with “a wide variety of hot dogs,” promised DiMattia. But don’t come looking for the eccentric oyster-and-fancy-franks bill of fare at Lira's upcoming Bar George.
“We will have a variety of hotdogs, including the ketchup dog, yellow mustard dog, relish dog (and) ketchup-and-mustard dog,” DiMattia said via text message.
These are dive bar dogs, he affirmed.
“There are just so many amazing places around there that it will be hard to compete on food … trying to focus on entertainment,” he continued.
Speaking of which, the hot dogs will fortify patrons for karaoke seven nights a week, with both open-mic and private-room singing available. A couple of those evenings will be emceed by drag performers.
“Who doesn't want to sing a duet with a drag queen?!,” said DiMattia.
Back to those drinks. As its name might suggest, Bangkok Lounge, which is only the second bar in Charleston from the Rec Room vet, will serve tropical concoctions from four frozen-drink machines. DiMattia hopes to enlist friends at The Rarebit to help him put a signature punch on tap, too.
But with the drinks come a delay. Though the deal is done, and the space needs no additional renovations, Bangkok Lounge won’t be cleared to sell booze until mid-September at the earliest. The Department of Revenue’s updated Alcoholic Beverage Licensing residency restrictions took effect Aug. 1, and require all limited-liability companies to have been established for 30 days before applying for permits to serve.
“I’d also need a city (of Charleston) business license so it’s a bit of a waiting period,” DiMattia said.
Still, he’s optimistic Oct. 1 is for real.
“Once I have permits, I’ll open in days,” he said.
At which point, wiener bar fall will truly have arrived on King Street.