Essex

4.4
770 reviews
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$30 and under
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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.
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What 770 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
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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Charlotte
24 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

The food was on point and everything was delicious. A little haphazard in the order things come out, but that's tapas.

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GZ
Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Had a great experience at Essex...differently would return and tell my friends how good it was.

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food. Delicious and well prepared. Cutlery and dishware is very eclectic. Seating is very warm and inviting. A little on the loud side but not overbearing.

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LC
Greensboro
2 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Our group of 6 thoroughly enjoyed this vibrant downtown Bistro! It was important for us to have a reservation as we were going to the ACC tournament and were pleased this was available at Essex. Although I can’t speak to the wine or beer offerings, The cocktail list was inspiring. The menu is excellent for visiting before and after theater, sporting events etc. The food quality was . The servers were quite friendly and helpful. The only reason for the lower star here, was there was some confusion on a dish ordered but it was promptly corrected. In addition, there was a similar incident with a drink order. Perhaps communication between server and the kitchen could be improved. As for the noise level, it was not unexpected for this type of atmosphere. We highly recommend Essex!

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TG
Charlotte
45 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great menu and pleasant service. Our table near the bar was quite loud because of the happy hour crowd but we still enjoyed dinner.

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F
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

Great place to meet before a show, but beware that it is also a busy after work watering hole. Very loud -quite busy. Tapas are fantastic, always. Service left a little to be desired. First drink was wrong. Second was right after a discussion, but server ignored my dining partner’s req user for a coffee in his attempt to get my drink order right and brought us the check immediately after dropping my second drink.

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OT
Atlanta
5 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience

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I
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Was disappointed in the food but drinks were good!!!

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SR
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great Service, Great Food - the brussel sprouts are to die for>>>

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MS
Charleston
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I would highly recommend Essex for big parties and those who need to eat/drink prior to an event. We were seated early, wait staff was prompt with drinks and food and they easily split our bill. We were out the door with no issues with enough time to get to the theatre and in our seats before showtime. Plus food was good!! Thank you!

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Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Very rude hostess experience. Arrived 15 mins early (4:45p) to a nearly empty restaurant. Seated in corner table squished by empty tables. Requested to sit in another area - also wide open. Hostess was very rude and was told “the head hostess said no. We have very strict seating tonight.”. Very slow service from here on. 15 mins for water, slow bar service. Server did not share specials with us. Other tables were seated and had a much more friendly attentive server - Brandon. Food was good, pricey but tasty. Server rushed us to turn table. Requested box to go, she took wrong meal from table and threw out. Overall, ok experience - won’t go again. $100 for 4 tapas and 1 draft beer. Disappointed.

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AL
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

The food was great but the service was poor. The server seemed like he'd rather be elsewhere. He took our food order and then disappeared for 10-15 minutes. I wanted to order a drink as it was my 21st birthday but could not find him. After waiting so long we went to the bar to order the drink and the lady bartending was extremely rude and told us we needed to only order from our server. Had I found my server, I would not have gone to the bar to order. I would recommend Essex for the food but the service could use an upgrade.

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JE
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Really enjoyed the food. The surf and turf sushi was amazing!

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E
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server, Kyle, was great! Excellent
pork tacos!

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JB
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and atmosphere were excellent. The length of your dining experience is totally up to you. You can order all at once or pick a few items at a time to enjoy.

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UD
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Daughter gave us a gift certificate for dinner and concert tickets at the Blumenthal.
Great food, great service, wonderful atmosphere.

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KM
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Love the atmosphere and social setting . Nice place for a date night or night with friends. The food portions are small however for the price of some plates.

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Raleigh
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 3ambience 3

If you have a food allergy, make sure to tell your server. I usually do, but I would have never guessed they would have put pistachios on calamari without including it on the menu.

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JG
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Food and service was very good; ambiance marginal; VERY noisy, so impossible to conduct any sort of business conversation, which, unfortunately, was my purpose. I would recommend for any purpose except one that requires a two way conversation without YELLING !

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C
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

This was my second experience and it was not the same as my first. The first time I couldn't have said enough great things about the food, service and atmosphere. This time I have more negative feelings. The food was not up to par. The service was well below expectations. And I couldn't hear the person next to me without them having to yell.

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MK
Charlotte
76 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

I had the Asian chicken salad and it was fine, not much on presentation. I find the wait staff to be a bit indifferent. The menu does have other options that look good and would likely be good for a group lunch.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious!

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O
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Food was good but took a long time to come out. Our waiter could have been more attentive and personable. Otherwise great vibe and location, will be back for a second try.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Service was slower than should be expected on a Saturday night. The flavor of the food was great, but everything came out luke-warm, which made it difficult to enjoy. When we told the server and manager, they told us that the food sits in a crock pot but they'll turn up the heat (which isn't appetizing). They then brought us a new dish, which wasn't any better in terms of the temperature. Overall, not impressed, which was quite disappointing.

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C
Philadelphia
20 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

We love Essex especially when we are with friends. The small plates are fun to experiment with and share around the table. The food here is simply terrific and there is a wide variety so everyone at the table finds something that they enjoy. We had an early dinner as it was after the matinee of Miss Saigon at the Blumenthal. Though there were few people in the restaurant when we arrived it quickly filled up. It is lively enough to enjoy but still carry on a conversation at the table. We will be back

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f
Kansas City
8 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Went to grab dinner after work. I never write reviews but the service was terrible and the food was not good. I used to love this place. Sad it was such a bad experience especially for the money. I will not be returning.

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KM
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 2

The restaurant was very loud for a business lunch.

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GM
Charlotte
8 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

I would have given a five star rating but the customer services is always subpar, I continue to frequent the restaurant because the food is exceptional! No matter the time of day you go, service is slow, the waiter / waitress is unresponsive to simple requests as salt and pepper please. They know when you come during lunch Mon-Fri, chances are you're on an hour break, would be nice if you got the lead out of your feet!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Food and portion sizes were fantastic for brunch! Great prices too. Service could have been better though. Will definitely be back!

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

My first time eating here on a pleasure trip for brunch on a Sunday. We felt like our waiter was not as attentive and expeditious as she could have been considering that it was only 3 tables of customers in there at this time. Our food took over 30 minutes to be brought out, however it was delicious. Our only complaint was our waiter.

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t
Charlotte
10 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

I was there all star weekend so noise level was very high but food was good, we were seated promptly and convenient location in uptown.

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C
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

In the past this has been one of our favorite restaurants. This time we had a lot of issues that really affected our experience. Service was terrible. Unknowledgeable with drink menu. Incorrect dinner item was also put in. After correcting and sending back, the item was added to our bill. Sushi arrived to our table without chopsticks and soy sauce. We sat for a good 7 mins before it was plopped down on our table. Butter chicken arrived cold while the nan that accompanied it was perfection. Aside from our sushi (Tom Tom roll) which was outstanding and super fresh, the food was mediocre including the short rib sliders and tuna tacos that both lacked flavor. Very disappointed.

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CL
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food options, huge selection of tapas-style entrees. Totally a big hit.

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MS
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

Food was fair but service was terrible. From my table I could see my server in the kitchen eating or behind the bar talking with a coworker rather than waiting on tables. Other servers could be heard talking to each other about how much they disliked working there.

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SD
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was amazing and worth the money excellent service

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EB
Western NC
2 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

I love this restaurant and have eaten here many times. This time, it took 40 minutes to get our food (for a business lunch) and the waiter had absolutely zero personality and was not apologetic about our wait. Recommend a little more staff training. Great food as always, however.

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J
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

They were accommodating for our needs. We were comfortable and had a fun night

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

Poor service. Server forgot to put in one out of our four small plates order then insisted that we never ordered it and if we had he would have written it down. Was taken aback by his attitude. He didn’t even offer to then put the missing order in. Server never once came to our table to check on us. Had to flag him down to get more water and another cocktail.
Seafood tacos had excessive amount of mayonnaise. Excessive amount of dressing on brussel sprout caesar salad. Lamb sliders were too spicy.
Chose restaurant because it was listed as one of Blumenthal’s hospitality partners on Blumenthal site. Clearly we chose poorly. Left hungry and went and got coffee at another eatery before our show. With so many outstanding choices in the vicinity, Essex does not stand out and I would not recommend wasting you time and money going there.

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Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We had to ask to be reseated twice. The first time they put us at the worst table in the restaurant - a high top that had one seat behind a pole and another seat next to the entrance to the kitchen. Then they moved is to an empty room, so we asked to be moved to the main dining room. It was early and the restaurant was only half full, so it was frustrating to have to ask for a decent seat. Even though we had a good experience after that, we will most likely not be going back. If we're going to spend that much money on dinner, we want to make sure that we have a great experience. There are too many other good restaurants in Charlotte to make going back to Essex worth it for us.

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L
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful tapas menu and everything was delicious. The only problem was wanting to taste too many menu items and ordering way too much food for our party of 6. It was worth it! We had the cauliflower, Brussels sprout salad, lamb lollypops, calamari, fish and chips, lobster Mac and cheese. All with a bottle of wine. Everything was yummy!

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