When Charlotte cocktail star Bob Peters announced he was leaving the Punch Room at the Ritz-Carlton to go out on his own as a consultant, we knew things would get interesting quickly.
Peters told The Observer his first new gig Wednesday, and Dilworth should get very excited.
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Peters is teaming up with Cory Duran, the owner of The People's Market, the breakfast-and-coffee urban market at East Boulevard and Kenilworth Avenue, to open a new bar, The Queen & Glass. Peters will be a consultant, helping Duran get everything in place, build the menu ("hand-crafted classics, and some fun ones too") and train the staff.
The space is a small, tucked-in space on the side of People's Market, sort of between the market and the parking deck behind it.
The space is part of what excited Peters about working with the project: "It was like, 'Did you know there's a cocktail bar waiting for us to open it?' That's how I feel about it."
The space used to be a small bar years ago, and was used for special events by 131 Main, the restaurant that used to in the spot that's now the market. But it hasn't been used in a long time, and it's tucked away, so many people may not even know it's there.
"When I took over the space, I was like, 'aw, this is awesome.' I didn't quite know what I was going to do with it." He was getting to ready to turn it into a bar when he heard that Peters was stepping out on his own as a consultant.
"We were already at the finish line, and then Bob's availability came and we hit the pause button." Now they're waiting for a little more equipment — Peters wants a better ice machine — and to built out the menu a little.
They're aiming to open in late June.
While the bar is tucked away, they're not planning to play up the speakeasy theme that's been so popular in Charlotte lately. Instead, they're aiming for more of a hideaway feel.
"This is sort of going to be neighborhood bar meets cocktail lounge," says Peters.
Since the bar and the market share a kitchen, they'll do a small-plates menu, and Duran is planning to something creative with that.
"We're trying to bring a completely different experience (to Dilworth)," he says. "We're trying to do something very, very creative here."
One of those unique touches includes having randomly selected guests come in once a week to taste a completely different menu than what's normally offered normal menu. The guests will pay The Queen & Glass what they think the meal is worth.
Another creative touch is the art: Duran got the same artist who did the pop-art for People's Market to do a series of portraits of queens of different ethnicities and histories, from Queen Charlotte to a drag queen.
For Peters' part, he got excited as soon as he saw the little space, which will seat 50 at most
"It's really quaint, beautiful — it's perfect for a cocktail lounge. It's so hidden, nobody ever really utilized it."
Peters won't be on the staff beyond his role as consultant, although he says he and Duran are friends, so he'll be around as needed.
"I'm going to make sure they have all the tools they need, from knowledge to glassware. And then I'll push them off the shore and make sure that goes really well."