Cocktail lovers will have two new bars to try in Old Town Bluffton, both in the same restaurant.
Calhoun’s will open Sept. 1 at 9 Promenade St., according to owners and childhood James Groetzinger, Joey Rinaldi and Jon Rinaldi.
Jon Rinaldi previously owned Vineyard 55 on Calhoun Street, a wine bar that closed in September.
The new restaurant will feature cocktails, small plates and a comfortable, friendly Southern atmosphere, according to Jon Rinaldi.
“(A cocktail bar) is kind of more Charleston’s type of thing,” he said. “But Bluffton’s starting to grow, so I think it’s a good time to start bringing the cocktail bar atmosphere kind of thing to Bluffton.”
Despite the closure of Vineyard 55 last year, Rinaldi said he and his partners weren’t discouraged at all about taking on another venture in Bluffton.
“We had a great clientele (at Vineyard 55) for five years and got to see the town grow really well, so it’s definitely headed in the right direction,” he said.
Originally the cocktail bar was set to open in March, but Rinaldi said the delays were caused by the development process.
“We had to go through some approval stuff for the historical society,” he said. “That kind of slowed us down a little bit but no huge roadblocks, per se.”
When the bar does finally open, Groetzinger said it would initially serve dinner seven days a week and later open for lunch, with plans to add a Sunday brunch and happy hour specials in the future.
The tavern’s drink list will focus mainly on barrel-aged cocktails and twists on classic American cocktails, along with a signature frozen drink — a Cathead honeysuckle frozen greyhound.
“We’re still going to have a small but eclectic wine list,” he said. “(We’re) definitely going to focus on regional beers.”
Calhoun’s will also have a 20-item menu of small plates inspired by the culinary heritage of the Lowcountry, according to Darren Macioszek, the executive chef.
“Probably more than anything else, (the menu) will be a constantly evolving menu, and we will have signature items to start with,” he said.
Calhoun’s menu might include dishes like pepper jelly and goat cheese on a waffle, shrimp and okra hush puppies, a German baloney and ale cheddar sandwich, and even cookies and milk with a touch of whiskey for dessert.
Macioszek said he thinks a menu of several smaller items offers a wider variety for the customer so they can graze and try different options.
“We definitely want to let people know it’s not going to be just a cocktail bar,” he said.