Glebe is not necessarily the first place you’d think to go for alfresco daytime cocktails, but there’s clearly demand in the area for such an offering. Just a couple of weeks after opening, bar and restaurant The Charleston’s front courtyard is reliably full of locals every Thursday through Sunday afternoon.

The venue – which sits about halfway down Glebe Point Road, on the same block as local institutions Different Drummer and Sonoma Bakery – also boasts a fairly ambitious food menu courtesy of head chef Ellena Kim (The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, Uccello) mixing comfort-food staples such as hush puppies with more sophisticated seafood offerings, including a hefty $40 lobster roll.

Food is available all day but comes to the fore in the evening, when the dusty-pink-hued dining room (the work of interior designer Matt Woods of Beccafico, The Rooftop, and Percy Plunkett fame) fills up with an eclectic mix of locals. On the Friday night Broadsheet visited, the 60-seater was at capacity by 7pm.

Co-owners Rob Teitzel and Osman Misirlizade, who also operate The Cottage Bar & Kitchen in Balmain, asked their chef to draw inspiration from the shorelines of South Carolina, from the quaint port city of Charleston, to the Old South plantations. Stand-out starters include Sydney rock oysters, hiramasa kingfish and springy baby octopus with olives and minted-pea puree. Crunchy southern fried chicken also makes an appearance.

Mains include chargrilled jumbo prawns with garlic herb butter, beef short rib served with sweetcorn and chimichurri, and market fish (when Broadsheet visited, exceptionally tender snapper) accompanied by grilled peaches and a scattering of baby tomatoes.

But the one that catches a lot of people’s attention is the lobster roll. There’s about 200 grams of meat stuffed into a luxe milk bun, with kohlrabi and apple remoulade. It’s one of the most satisfying Australian-made lobster rolls we’ve tried, even if its appearance on a southern-comfort menu (lobster rolls are native to the north-east coast of the USA) is a tad incongruous.

An array of sides includes house-made slaw, American-style fries and The Charleston’s secret weapon: gooey mac and cheese that arrives at the table bubbling in its oven dish, topped with a cheesy crust. Grab a peanut-butter ice-cream sandwich or brioche donuts with a bourbon glaze for dessert.

The cocktails, which give a nod to the venue’s southern roots – including infused sweet teas – are mixed at a long marble bar that you pass as you move from the front courtyard into the dining room. The Charleston Sling, for example, is made with lemongrass-infused gin, rosehip tea and lemon juice, while the robust Plantation Negroni comprises pineapple-infused rum, Campari and Rosso Vermouth.

The rest of the drinks menu leans local: there’s Young Henrys natural lager and The Grifter pale ale, plus an upmarket mix of Aussie wines with a few New Zealand and US alternatives.

The Charleston
199 Glebe Point Road, Glebe


Hours:
Tue to Wed 5pm–12am
Thu to Sat 12pm–12am
Sun 12pm–10pm

thecharleston.com.au

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on December 11, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.