In order to get a foot in the door of Charlotte’s newest uptown speakeasy, you’re going to have to get past the ripe odor of trash bins and dumpsters on the corner of West Trade and North Church streets. Because, to get into The Dock, you must actually traverse the loading dock of the Charlotte Marriott City Center.
The two candles in glass cases atop two barrels on either side of the grungy steps are a solid indication that you’re close. Find the gray door and walk on in. But only on Saturdays from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., beginning Saturday, Nov. 19.
Walk in and, just beyond a vast kitchen area you’ll find a single room, lit by red light, flickering candles and strings of Edison bulbs on the ceiling. The music you’re listening to is from the 1920s.
The addition of The Dock follows on the heels of the introduction of Coco and the Director, the Marriott’s new coffee hotspot, and Stoke Charlotte, its new restaurant and bar.
“Our initial idea was, let’s get the stuff guests could see open first, and then let’s kind of layer it in,” said Sean Potter, Director of Eat and Drink for the Marriott.
The speakeasy is focused on the hotel’s cocktail program, bringing in four or five featured cocktails each week, and wine and beer by request. Both Stoke and The Dock are adding a twist to classic, Prohibition-era cocktails.
The two featured drinks for Wednesday’s preview night were the Hanky Panky and the Bees Knees.
The space is small, able to hold about 30 people and seven or so tables. Some tabletops rest on barrels from a farm in Waxhaw, and the walls are a mixture of white exposed brick and window shutters. The barnwood look, from the ceiling to the tables, was created by artist Gerard Walker.
But it’s meant to be transformable — one night a month may bring live music, and other, non-Saturday nights could bring wine dinners.
As for the vibe — I think Charlotte will decide that in time.
Photos: Katie Toussaint