I've been following the countdown to opening of Charlie was a sinner., the quirky-named vegan bar-restaurant from HipCityVeg founder Nicole Marquis at 131 S. 13th St. in Washington Square West.
The last week has been a blur of activity, including last-minute decor adjustments and city inspection and permitting.
It all came down to one official visit on the morning of Thursday, May 15. An inspector from the state Liquor Control Board breezed in, made sure that the joint adhered to local codes, and authorized its liquor license.
Marquis contacted staff to say that the evening would be the bar's first. Chef Michael Santoro and his guys furiously prepped in the basement kitchen.
Marquis got behind the wheel of her 2003 Toyota and headed to South Philadelphia, where the LCB warehouse had her wine and spirit order complete. And $7,000 later, Marquis was back at Charlie was a sinner. (The bar's name is written not with conventional capitalization, but as a declarative sentence ending in a period. God forbid a missed period.)
As Marquis cracked open the door, word spread that tonight was the debut. By 9 p.m., the bar was jammed.
The first-nighters saw the work designed by Canno Design: Plush seating, lighting from chandeliers and candles and the bluish light of black-and-white videos projected on a 23-foot wall covered in drapery. Antique furniture and library lamps add to the warm, sexy setting.
Santoro's menu (here as a PDF) is pretty much a collection of salads and small plates ($7 and $8), including toasts. The $12 "pan roasted" selections are somewhat larger than the smaller plates. I'd figure you'd build dinner out of three selections.
Four beers on tap, 4 whites/4 reds/4 sparklings. Cocktails are $12; there's a collection of house-made mocktails ($6, including mango lassi and raspberry ginger soda), as well.