Essex

4.3
1214 Reviews
$30 and under
International
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.

We reserve the right to allow only one check on parties larger than 10.
We reserve the right to add a service charge on parties of 6 or more.
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Private Dining

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Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Staff temperature check required
What 1214 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazingly good place. Food is great and i would recommend lamb chops. The chef is really great we had mediterranean appetiser, lamb chops and lamp patties. All were really flavorful and great.

Our hostess was really good at service and really pleasant staff.
Bar gets 5/5 too for making great cocktails which were not on menu.

Over all still one of my fav spot for dining.

JH
JenniferH
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Very noisy inside. Food good but overpriced for the portion size.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service was excellent definitely we will be back

OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Our waiter’s attitude made for an awkward experience. He didn’t seem to want to be there himself, so in turn we no longer wanted to be there and left.

C
vipCalypso
Charlotte
19 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Great tuna tacos and bang bang grouper! Will definitely come again!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Charleston
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing. Thank you!

C
Chad
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good good and atmosphere. Went for lunch, their sweet potato fries were amazing.

MB
MelB
Miami
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service and food was wonderful. I had the market salad and it was a10!! I've had the flat bread pizza before and it was real good. The other members of my party also really enjoyed their dinners. I've been there twice and will definitely return.

SH
vipShellyH
Louisville
67 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Really good meal. Good to see on a Tuesday evening most or all tables were filled.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience4

Stopped before Panthers game for a quick bite. Got tacos, flatbread pizza and chicken schnitzel. None of us loved it, just meh...probably won’t return.

OA
OutandAbout
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food, ambiance and service were spot on/ awesome. My only thing was the confusion of where to park. As I or my other dinner guest did not see the valet parking as mentioned. Therefore parked in the parking garage of The Omni Hotel. Whereas Essex did not offer validation for the parking. Hence paid an unexpected amount for parking. Overall had a great experience!

j
vipjohnk
Western NC
34 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great meal and service !

GF
GFCLTHokie
Richmond
8 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2021
Overall3food5service1ambience4

Food and drinks were great! Would have been 5 stars but the server was unusually rude and not polite. They also don’t split checks which is difficult for large parties.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience5

The place was really nice. My server was not attentive to us until after we complained about being served cold food. Our order came out to us no longer than 10 minutes of it being placed. Great!! So im believing our food is coming straight off a stove.. No. The food was cold, then when we got newer plates its just warm. So we asked why the rice is warm.. Its precooked and just sitting under a light warmer is what the waiter told us… It was our first date night out since COVID and we were not pleased. We ordered the butter chicken & the rib sliders.. Not the best.

BF
BetsyF
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We shared a flatbread and lamb chops. Delish! Drinks were not as good. Sent back drinks. Server was terrific!

JB
JordanB
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on October 28, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Overall pretty good experience for date night. We had great service and the food overall was very good. We ordered the charcuterie cheese and meat board to start with and that was the only thing we weren't satisfied with. It wasn't worth the $20 in our opinion. We also ordered Asian style skirt steak and the bang bang grouper, both of which were very, very good. We will keep this on our list of places to visit again.

Essex
Responded on October 29, 2021

Hi Jordan, Thank you for your feedback, We have brought up your thoughts on the charcuterie board with management to discuss how we can make it better for our guests.

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OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience4

The food was not great and pricey. Server was exceptional.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall2food4service1ambience2

We had a reservation and got sat, but we’re not approached from the waiter until 20 minutes later and after we bugged them. So we sat 20 minutes without drinks or food. Extremely frustrating. Every server that we flagged down to get our order made excuses as to why we were not being helped. We had no idea who was actually our server. Once we ordered, it took 15 mins. to get our drinks and Food also came out at different times.

JP
JamesP
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were early for our reservation before our concert & we were able to be seated. The waitress was Mary Kate & she was great! We received great service & our food was excellent. Definitely will be back

Essex
Responded on October 25, 2021

Hi James! Thank you so much for taking the time to give us a great review! Mary Kate is a great asset to our team and we are glad to hear you had a great experience with her.

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SS
SusanS
Charleston
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was so good. We loved everything we ordered. Best shrimp & grits ever!

Essex
Responded on October 28, 2021

Hi Susan, Thanks for the great feedback! We are so happy to hear you loved the shrimp and grits!!

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OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall2food1service3ambience5

I had great expectations about this place after seeing the reviews and the menu. Service was just average, again, perhaps it was just my expectations being high. I ordered the octopus and my wife ordered the gnocchi. The octopus was ridiculously small and way overcooked, the gnocchi was good but the steak that came with it was burnt. Very disappointed with my experience and would not recommend for the value.

n
vipneighborhooddiners
Charleston
28 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Unusual highly appealing, such as eggplant carpaccio, and wonderful creative cocktails. Loved the Pumpkin.

Essex
Responded on October 21, 2021

Hi, thanks for the great feedback!! We will be adding new items to our menu soon, and we hope you will join us to try some of them!

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NP
NancyP
1 review
Dined on October 15, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience5

Very creative, unusual, tasty food. Waiter was new and had zero clue about wine choices, but was attentive. Love the food and glass ceiling patio with open sides … consistently delicious.

A
Aclwolf
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went for our 10 year anniversary. We were in town for a concert and picked this restaurant for an early dinner experience. We were not disappointed at all!! The food and drinks were delicious. Highly recommend!

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Thanks so much for the great feedback! We hope to see you again soon!

Report
J
vipJulio
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

This was one of the worst experiences. We got there a little early and the restaurant was not busy. We told the hostesses that we were there early and we had reservations. She stated that she would make sure to give us a credit for the reservation. A few minutes after my scheduled reservation I got an email from OpenTable saying that I did not show up for my reservation.

We ordered a few drinks that seemed like they did not have alcohol in them. Upon ordering the waitress told us that they did not have any flatbreads or 3 of the other menu items we wanted order. So it made our ordering a lot easier. We had basically a few options to chose from. We waited at least 20minutes, if not more, for our food and it was not busy. One of the dishes we ordered was the shrimp tacos. Extremely disappointed- there was one shrimp on each taco.

At that point, we just wanted to get out off there and go home. I hope this is not a representation of how they operate on a duly basis.

MS
vipMarcusS
Baton Rouge
16 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall3food4service5ambience1

Very loud. Couldn’t talk with my husband. Service was good. Food good.

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Hi Marcus, Thanks for the feedback, We hope you will join us again soon and the restaurant isn't as loud!

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S
Sally
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

we sat on the patio part of the restaurant away from the bar but the bar was quiet at 7:00. we had checked it out earlier in the day. our server was excellent. find out who it was and tell his manager!!

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Hi Sally, Thanks so much for your review! Carl is a great asset to our team and we're glad you shared your great experience with him!

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OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Staff was very personable and helpful. Large quantities of food, plenty to share.

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Hi, Thank you for the positive feedback!

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DS
DivyaS
Austin
4 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great food! Beautiful outdoor seating and amazing see ice by Carl.

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Thanks for the great review!

Report
RC
RickC
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall3food2service4ambience3

In spite of having an early table reservation service was delayed. My wife ordered falafel which was seriously overdone (and to their credit removed from our check). My shrimp tacos were at least good. Average at the very best.

KY
KishaY
Charlotte
11 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

I’ve been wanting to go here for a while now. Actually had planned to come here for a 40th birthday dinner….a year ago. Finally made it out with a friend for dinner. We’re both fans of outdoor dining especially now with the pandemic. Was a bit disappointed to see how congested the outdoor patio is. Seating is tight. Fortunately we had a high top that was next to the building which gave us more space from the other patrons. The intersection at Trade and Tryon is very noisy which for me takes away from the ambiance. I noticed the noise level was much better inside. Food was delicious and I feel the portion sizes were fairly generous.

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Hi KishaY, Thank you for your feedback, we're sorry the patio was a too noisy for you. We hope you will dine with us again soon and try out our indoor seating!

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CS
ChristineS
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food selection was great from Mediterranean to modern southern. Drinks were tasty and seasonally unique.

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Hi ChristineS, Thanks for the positive feedback! We hope you will dine with us again soon.

Report
S
Shawnie
Western NC
6 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service was superb. Will definitely go back the next time I’m in Charlotte.

Essex
Responded on October 16, 2021

Thanks for the great review! Can't wait for you to come back and dine with us again soon!

Report
OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall2food2service4ambience5

I came to dine in with my daughter before a show. We ordered the butter chicken and a cheese flatbread pizza. My food came out cold like it was pre-made and not made to order. The bottom of the pizza was hard aka xtra crispy.

The naan was the best part of dinner bc it came out hot. The hostesses were nice.

The margarita was subpar.

B
Bonster
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Perfect for before a concert at BOA stadium.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2021
Overall4food3service4ambience3

Food is good but a bit overpriced in my opinion. Portion sizes are small (other than the brussel sprout Caesar). Great location but gets pricey

JF
JayF
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and atmosphere. Drinks and food were delicious and the staff was kind and fast.

SS
SalisburySam
Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Food was amazing! Two of us ordered the Asian Skirt Steak. It was very tender, cooked to a perfect medium rare, with innovative and tasty accoutrements presented skillfully and attractively. Our third guest ordered the short rib sliders and they were nothing short of divine. The charcuterie board included three cheeses, three meats, two excellent dipping sauces, baguette, a pair of delicious dates, salted nuts, and was a wonderful appetizer for 3 adults. But the absolute best were the two desserts, none of which is on the menu: chocolate gateau, and a superb cheesecake. Both rich, both good-sized portions, both delicious, both devoured.

Service experience was, well, very good and partly ok. Our server was excellent: competent, knew the menu well, very friendly, very helpful with suggestions when asked. Downside: the menus...there are none. For first timers this makes things a tad difficult. There is a QR code on a note stand at each table, and you have to scan it, go to wherever it links, and then read a one-page long-scrolling menu in 1-pt font, scrolling and zooming constantly. The menu includes all food items, bar specials, wines by the glass and bottle, and the usual warning about eating undercooked food. For those of us with normal size smartphones and with the eyesight of someone over 30, this was a slow, cumbersome process, and a bother. Like their paper counterparts these had to be referred to for selection decision and again when ordering. During the time in between of course your phone times out, the website disappears, and you start back in again at the QR code. Add the fact that dinner time is near the end of that day's smartphone battery life, one gets anxious wondering if you can even order. Also, having 3 people glued to their smartphone trying to read a new, extensive, and tiny menu is a conversation killer at best.

TL;DR - Great food, great server, iffy menu-reading process. PSA: take and use your tablet instead of a smartphone.

AS
AllieS
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

In love with this place. It’s so nice inside & our server was AMAZING ! I wish J remembered her name but I’ll definitely be back to see her.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Birthday party and catching up with friends. It was a great experience!

FAQs

Essex offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (980) 406-3857.

Essex is rated 4.3 stars by 1214 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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