Essex

4.4
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929 Reviews
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$30 and under
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International

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Welcome to Essex Bar & Bistro, where the cocktail is king. Charlotte’s newest uptown craft cocktail bar and gastropub, Essex is part bistro, part lounge, and part meeting place. We’ve put as much care into the craft of cocktailing as we do our menu of international cuisine, which are designed to complement master mixologist’s liquid creations. Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte at Trade & Tryon, and only steps away from Spectrum Center. Essex is the perfect place for happy hours, evening cocktails, after-dinner drinks, or a late night rendezvous.
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What 929 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.2
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food2service2ambience4

Unfortunately last night's dinner left much to be desired. The service was rather lacking and the food was eh.

We started with the Shishito and Brussels. Sadly they were very misleading of the road. Had potential but fell flat. My wife had the eggplant flat bread. Also had potential but also fell flat. Just needed something to bring out the different flavours. It was also really salty. I have the ribeye and fingerling potatoes. The steak was on point, which sadly doesn't happen often! However the fingerling were ungodly salty! Lastly our server also left much to be desired. She was very nice but rather absent and didn't even bother to ask if we'd like anything else, dessert, nothing. Just brought the check. All in all the price for what was received alluded to better good and service, but alas.

Essex
Responded 3 days ago

We apologize that your recent dining experience at Essex was not up to par, and that your server did not offer to replace those items with something you would enjoy more. If you would like to reach out to us with the name of your server we would love to be able to speak with her about this to ensure it does not happen again!

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GB
Birmingham
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food3service1ambience5

Service was very, very slow....could not find our waiter most of the night, MIA. Food came out cold.

Essex
Responded 3 days ago

We apologize that your recent dining experience at Essex was not up to par. There is no reason that your food should have come out cold, or not be able to find your server. We hope that you will give us another chance to show you an all around amazing dining experience in the future!

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MK
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is a hidden gem and would be fun for date night. Pleasant atmosphere without being overly noisy and the food was excellent. Love the small plate style and have a nice variety of items to choose from to make sharing fun. Highly recommend starting with the Mediterranean dip trio served with a warm baguette.

Essex
Responded 3 days ago

Thanks for the great review Melissa! We are so glad to hear you enjoyed your recent dining experience at Essex! We hope you will be back very soon to enjoy more items from the menu!

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HJ
Charlotte
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Loved the mimosa bar. However, the juice decanters were not place high enough for the Champaign glasses! Had to tilt the glass to make the drink.

Essex
Responded 3 days ago

Thank you for the feedback Harriet! We are working on getting a different set up for the Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar and hope you will be back to see us again soon!

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R
New England
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience4

The food was not tasty, and it was overpriced. The staff never asked if we liked our meal quality. The short rib gnocchi was oily soup. It was disgusting, and other items were not filling. We tried the chicken schwarma which was both bland and somehow over-spiced with a odd, unappetizing spice combo that hurt our stomachs. $130 for a family of four for terrible food.

Essex
Responded 3 days ago

We are sorry to hear that you were not pleased with your recent dining experience at Essex. We hope you will give us another chance to make things right in the future!

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and service. Suggestion- add a light above the hi-top near the front door. Very dark as is.

Essex
Responded on December 3, 2019

Thanks for the suggestion! We hope to see you again soon!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Attended their dinner buffet on Thanksgiving. It was phenomenal. Our waiter interacted with us an acceptable amount and was knowledgeable and friendly. Will definitely return again!

Essex
Responded on December 3, 2019

We are so glad to hear you enjoyed Thanksgiving at Essex! We do a similar buffet for Easter and Mother's Day so we hope you will join us again!

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was great and

HP
Charlotte
39 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Food was good but portions were small for the cost. The ambiance was nice and our waitress was very attentive.

Essex
Responded on December 3, 2019

Thank you for the review Heather! We are so glad to hear you enjoyed the ambiance and service from Victoria. We hope to see you again soon!

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MD
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely one of the best restaurants I've been to in a bit. We had traveled from Virginia for a concert and we love to try new eats. We checked out the menus for several restaurants online, and settled on Essex. We were NOT disappointed! It was INCREDIBLE. The food is amazing, our server Jason was out of this world, and we left so full and happy! Thank you, Essex team!

Essex
Responded on December 3, 2019

Thank you for the great review Monique! We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience at Essex. If you are ever back in Charlotte, we hope you will pay us a visit!

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l
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Short Rib Ravioli & the Fried Cauliflower were amazing!

Essex
Responded on December 3, 2019

Thank you! We hope to see you again soon!

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OT
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic spot in uptown Charlotte. I've had both lunch and dinner here and you can't go wrong. Menu is diverse and expansive that should have something for everyone. Food was excellent. Flavors were great and execution was spot on. Definitely recommend.

m
Miami
6 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Conveniently located in UpTown. Good bar scene and really good food choices.

OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

I ordered fish taco and fries and my companion orders shrimp tacos and fries, the seafood was cold and the sauce/tortillas weren’t tasty

Essex
Responded on November 20, 2019

We apologize that you did not enjoy the tacos. Thank you for the feedback. We hope that you will give us another chance to impress you in the future!

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OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Food is delicious! Definitely get the bang bang grouper bites.

OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing and our waiter was greatr

r
Denver
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience2

Not the best place to go if you want to have a conversation- it was SUPER loud even at 6pm. They were also out of a lot of items, including ALL flatbreads. Kind of disappointing so early in the evening that they’d be out of so many dishes. I was also dining with a gluten free friend, and the server had to ask the kitchen on everything - they’d save a lot of they just had a menu available upon request that indicated the major allergens. I’ll be back, but likely stick to lunch.

Essex
Responded on November 20, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. Friday evening was definitely busy, and can get loud. We make all of our flatbread dough in house, and an extra busy lunch on Friday had us behind. I apologize for the inconvenience. We are working on allergen labels for our next menu update. Thank you for the suggestion and we hope to see you again!

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P
Charlotte
23 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The food we were able to get was good but they were out of a lot of items. We arrived at 5:30 since we had theater tickets and they had no flatbreads, which is about a quarter of the menu.

The sound travels badly so it was hard to hear what people at the table were saying.

Great decor and location.

Essex
Responded on November 20, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. Friday evening was definitely busy, and can get loud. We make all of our flatbread dough in house, and an extra busy lunch on Friday had us behind. I apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for the suggestion and we hope to see you again!

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o
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall4food5service1ambience5

We have been to Essex 3 times. First time we sat down and after 10 minutes were never approached by a waiter and we left. Our second visit the tall waiter with the long beard was boring and a terrible server. Our third visit the waitress was just okay.

The menu is absolutely amazing. The food is my favorite in Charlotte. We love the comfy booths!

k
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

This is my favorite restaurant in Charlotte because of the location, atmosphere, and huge variety of food choices. The service is always excellent and the drinks and food are always exquisite. I’ve recommended this place to all of my friends & coworkers and they have nothing but great things to say about it

Essex
Responded on November 20, 2019

Thanks so much for the great review! We hope you will be back to visit us again soon!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Essex has a really diversified menu and you can try a lot of great things they seem to do a good job with many different types of cuisine

S
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was really awesome , specially the chicken shekwar kababs and butter chicken.

Essex
Responded on November 12, 2019

Thank you! We hope you will be back to visit us again soon!

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AD
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

FOOD WAS INCREDIBLE. this place is amazing. highly recommend to everyone in charlotte!

Essex
Responded on November 12, 2019

Thank you Anna! Please come back and see us again soon!

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KR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Essex has every opportunity to be amazing on a night when it's not absolutely slammed. We were there on a wednesday night prior to an event at Spectrum Center. The place was jammed. The kitchen slammed. The bar running way behind. There was no time to reorder botched drink order, and we had to send back two menu items due to oversaltiness. They graciously removed the items from the bill.
On the positive side, the portions are ample, so the value per plate is great! Essex is best enjoyed with a party of at least four people to share the generous portions and sample the most dishes. The span of the menu is amazing and there is definitely plenty for every taste to choose from. The ambiance is wonderful but it can be LOUD! I look forward to returning with friends on a less busy evening.

Essex
Responded on November 12, 2019

Thank you for your patience on a very busy evening. We apologize that you did not receive the 5-star experience that we know we can provide due to the volume in the restaurant. We hope that you will return on sometime soon so we can show you an all-around amazing dining experience!

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SE
Charlotte
5 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

One of our favorite places in our uptown neighborhood. Diverse menu for a variety of diet needs, generous portions for sharing, and food is always so good.

Essex
Responded on November 5, 2019

Thank you Susan! We hope to see you again soon!

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RS
Charlotte
16 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience4

We’ve been to Essex numerous times before a show at Blumenthal. This was by far the worst experience we have had there. The three of us each ordered something different. All 3 dishes came out separately with too much time in between. Then my salad was made with shrimp instead of chicken so had to be redone. Upon digging through my beet salad I couldn’t find one caramelized pecan, Asian pear or shaved Parmesan. When I asked the server about it she became very rude. She tried to say that the pulverized dust on the plate was the pecans. 🙄 She took a whopping $4 off our bill. She didn’t offer to have manager talk to us.

IL
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My friends and I had an awesome experience. Given the lengthy menu, everyone commented on how excellent all the food was. Service was great and everyone is looking forward to going back. Only even better if is the outside of the restaurant, it could look better. That didn’t distract from our five star experience!!

Essex
Responded on October 23, 2019

Thanks Ian! We are so glad to hear that you and your friends had a great experience at Essex! We hope to see you again soon!

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ZM
Chicago
14 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great meal before symphony concert. Recommend the bang bang grouper!

V
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Dinner at Essex last night was the worst dining experience we’ve ever had.
Seated promptly by the hostess outside on the patio. Nice dining area.
Sitting invisible for a good 30 minutes without being acknowledged by the entire waitstaffs hurrying in and out of the dining area, even after flagging and stopping at least 4 servers to ask for service. We finally had to go inside to ask the hostess for help in locating our server. The hostess became aware of the problem and took charge taking our food and wine orders and, from then on multitasked between hostessing and serving us. TY, Allison for saving our evening.
The food was adequate, but not great, with some dishes unavailable at 7:45 pm.
Never encountered such horrible service at any good and reputable restaurant. Looks like Essex needs the presence of a responsible manager on hand to coordinate the service in the dining area and provide the waitstaffs a much needed continuing training course required by such an establishment
A Very Disappointing Dining Experience. We will NOT be returning nor recommending Essex to anyone wishing to have a memorable dining experience.

OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience4

Unfortunately we did not have a good experience. First, hostess said she wasn’t sure there would be a table available , even though we had a reservation. I explained it was my friends birthday and we would wait. We waited about 20 minutes passed our reservation time. Next, we ordered bang bang grouper, lamb lollipops and a fresh market salad. Bang bang grouper and lamb lollipops came out at the same time and the SOGGY salad came out ONE hour later. Lamb lollipops were cold and flavor was not there. Since we were disappointed with the lamb lollipops, we tried ordering the ribeye and was told they ran out.

I’ve always been a fan of Essex, but the past few experiences leave me questioning on whether this establishment will survive. I live and work in uptown and can tell Essex is struggling.

FA
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

Went to Essex twice in a 10 day spand. Both times, the food was very good, but the service was very slow and took forever to get drinks from the bar. It was not the servers fault, they were efficient and checked in often. It was just taking too long for the food to come out and when we reordered drinks from the bar, it took forever to receive them.

Essex
Responded on October 2, 2019

Thanks for the feedback Fred. We are sorry that you had to wait for your drinks and that ruined your experience. We serve a lot of craft cocktails that are time consuming, so there can be a bit of a wait on busy evening. I have . shared your comments with the bar staff and other managers so we can work to improve the timelines of getting drinks out!

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OT
Atlanta
3 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Everything was great but it is VERY loud, we could hardly hear our server. Food and drinks were on point though! Will def be back!

Essex
Responded on October 2, 2019

It does get noisy during busy times! I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the food and drinks. We hope to see you again soon!

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AK
Charlotte
11 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience2

Brought out of town guests here and was extremely disappointed. Asked to sit outside, sat there for 15 minutes and were never acknowledged. Moved inside and was acknowledged quickly, but server was very unhelpful - couldn't explain what was meant to share and what wasn't, when the bottle of wine we ordered was out, didn't offer any help whatsoever to chose a new one... The prices here are super deceiving for what is claimed as a "tapas" restaurant. Out of all the dishes we ordered, each of them was a full meal - our server suggested ordering two per person, which is an insane recommendation. We never saw our server throughout the entire dinner. The fastest she moved all night was to pick up our credit cards at the end. Food was overall fine, not great - everyone was overall disappointed. Would not recommend this place, and will not be returning. This was all before they added gratuity to our bill for literally no reason (we were not a party of 6+). 100% seemed like our waitress was hoping we would not notice it and double tip her.

Essex
Responded on October 2, 2019

I apologize that your experience at Essex was not up to par. Your server is brand new and it seems there is some training we need to revisit. I spoke with the GM about the added gratuity. He said he spoke with your party and apologized for the added gratuity as it was his fault. He added it to the table because the reservation was still listed as 6 in Opentable, and voided the payment. I hope that you will give us another chance to show you a better dining experience in the future!

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience3

They were out of a lot of menu items. My friend tried to order 3 or 4 different things and the server said they were out...surprising for a Sat night. The server was incredibly slow and rarely came to check on us, except when she brought us the bill...then she came over multiple times in a very short span to see if we put our cards down yet and tried to clear my plate while I was still eating and had half my meal still on it.

Essex
Responded on October 2, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. I apologize that we were out of some of the menu items your group tried to order. If you wouldn't mind replying, we would love to know who your server was so we can speak to her about these issues. Thank you!

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love Essex. This was my third visit in a month and I was impressed as always by the variety and quality!

Essex
Responded on October 2, 2019

Thank you! We hope to see you soon!

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w
St. Louis
2 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food!

TW
Miami
39 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience2

soooo loud!!!! no way to converse!!!
our unit was in the weeds so bad. thought it would help to turn in a few food items along with our first round drinks to help. got food before we ever got first drink.
really bad service. she was nice but just could not keep up.

Essex
Responded on October 2, 2019

Thank you for the feedback. I apologize that the service was poor on your recent visit to Essex. We would love to know who your server was to make sure this can be addressed.

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AV
Charlotte
17 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We sat outside and really enjoyed the patio. The falafel and the hummus plates were both very good and I have had them several times - they are always constantly good!

Essex
Responded on September 24, 2019

Thank you Ashley! So glad you enjoyed the outside atmosphere. We hope to see you again soon!

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D
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Food and service were good. Unfortunately, there was a large table of very loud people sitting very close that made it impossible for us to have any conversation with those at our table. Pretty much ruined our ability to talk with/hear each other

Essex
Responded on September 24, 2019

Thank you Deane. We are so glad to hear you enjoyed the food and service. I hope that you will not let your experience with loud patrons beside you deter you from dining with us in the future.

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AM
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Allison greeted me and my family at the door. She knew who we were which made the occasion very special. She set us up at a nice booth and my family really enjoyed the food and the experience. The server seemed preoccupied and slightly disorganized. I would suggest that he slow down when explaining the menu to first time guests. However, I would recommend this place to others

Essex
Responded on September 24, 2019

Thank you for the great review Amber! We are so glad to hear that Allison was able to make your celebration even more special. We apologize that the service was not quite up to par, and will be sure to address this with your server to ensure it doesn't happen again in the future. Please come back and visit us again soon!

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