Essex

4.4
811 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 811 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
4.6
food
4.1
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Our server was so flighty and poor. Our food came out so slowly. We had 4 people and asked that if something came out in 3s, to please make sure we had 4 and we’d be fine to pay extra. It’s like she couldn’t count. Our drinks took 45 minutes each round. An embarrassing experience to bring people from out of town to a place that is supposedly a top 10 restaurant in Charlotte and have such poor service. Not interested in coming back.

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a
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

Our service was horrible, but I think it was a one-time thing, as I've never had that problem at this restaurant before. Food was great, per usual, but I was really disappointed that a couple of my favorite menu items had been discontinued & my meal wasn't prepared as ordered.

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j
Charlotte
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

This is my second time dining here and my first ever review. The reason for the second time dining is because I thought they deserved a second chance. The reason for the first ever review is because I reached out to Essex and I heard nothing back from them. Our first visit was for business when they had been open for a month. We made OpenTable reservations and specified that are group was there for a business dinner. The restaurant cancelled our reservation instead of "seating" it and they put us in the bar area even though they were relatively empty. Asked to be moved and they said that they could only accommodate us at the bar table. Over a year later, we decided to give them a chance for brunch. The week prior, we had dined at BLT for brunch for Mothers' Day and we wanted to do something different. Made the reservation at Essex because of the A La Carte menu. (We actively avoid buffets for many reasons but mostly because of our guests dietary requests. A La Carte menus help with making everyone happy and safe.) We arrived at 11:00AM, thirty minutes early and totally our fault, and we were told that we could be seated and have cocktails while they finished setting up the buffet. When asked about the buffet, the hostess told us that as of that day, they were no longer offering the A La Carte menu. This was puzzling because they had my reservation, phone number and email address to communicate this to me and obviously didn't. Not wanting to be rude and walk out, we stayed. We should have left. The buffet was a sorry mix of what used to be the brunch menu, dumped into chafers and placed along a long line of tables jammed up against the wall. One serving spoon per chafer even though some had 3 to 6 items in them. No signage to tell us what the items were or if they were gluten / vegetarian friendly. Even a delivered bagel breakfast at my office comes with signage. Had to find the server to get the bill. Automatic Gratuity on a buffet? Terrible!!!

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AF
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food choices were outstanding. Advertised cocktail list but that was lacking. The wine list by the glass was pretty poor. They had very high end glasses for $25 but the value wines were around $9-10. Better pricing for those between with better choices would be great. Bartender did a great job mixing cocktails off the list.

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G
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

My waitress and food were amazing; however, the staff at the front was not. They failed to acknowledge me when I entered the restaurant as they were too busy chatting amongst themselves. I was left to find my friend I was meeting for dinner. When we left the restaurant they failed to acknowledge us yet as they were again talking amongst themselves. I’ve been to Essex several times and the last visit will be my last due to the lack of attentiveness. Dining out is an entire experience from beginning to end and unfortunately what sticks out from my visit is how things began and ended at this restaurant.

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QC
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent, as always.

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

New menu was ok. Service was fine. Naan was a little burnt but overall it was fine.

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SB
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

Overall I love Essex...I've always had good service until the brunch. There was only 1 person in front of us and we waited almost 10 minutes for the hostess to even come to the front. Then when we were sat we waited almost another 15 minutes for anyone to come to get us drinks. When I was getting food from the brunch they wanted to replenish what I was serving myself. I felt like I was in the way. The staff were hanging out by where the plates were and you had to maneuver your way through them to get a plate. The value was great - so much food. I would recommend them for their food but I was definitely disappointed in how we were treated - especially on Mother's Day!

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p
Charlotte
32 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 3

Food was great, as always. Service wasn't. When we've sat at the bar, the service has been great and the staff have been friendly. When we've sat at a table, it's been hit or miss. Our server this time seemed new and maybe inexperienced. Food came before drinks, orders had to be confirmed. Hosts also not the friendliest.

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PS
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Out of croissants for Eggs Bendedict. Huge part of your menu is not available???
Nice patio but loud city noise. Brioche toast way overcooked. Omelet was good.

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DM
Philadelphia
14 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The seating area outside was very beautiful and we were able to enjoy a looking onto the city. My husband was a little bit disappointed with the shrimp scampi as it wasn’t served over any pasta. What we did he was phenomenal such as the chicken pad Thai. The dirty martinis are excellent with the blue cheese stuffed olives everything was just a little bit more expensive like a New York price. But it was a great experience and great attention by the server

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AR
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience. Yummy food, and great service.

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OT
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

Food came out slowly and not at the same time. Brussel sprout dish had very few Brussel sprouts. Food was delicious!

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3
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 2

Essex has been our favorite restaurant in the city. Amazing food, with unique dishes that you won't find anywhere else. The Indian Butter Chicken is heaven. We look forward to going and trying new things. Unfortunately, this recent experience was "meh." Food, still great....but waitstaff was not up to par. The hostess was far from friendly. Just seated us, put the menus down and walked off. Waitress didn't offer any friendly banter whatsoever. At this restaurant, the waitstaff should really be asking if we'd been there before and explain the small plates concept -- makes a big difference in revenue if a couple just orders 2 dishes thinking they are full meals or if they order 4 things to try and share. Desserts used to be a whole experience in and of themselves. Does Essex not offer dessert anymore? We were never offered dessert menus. When it was time for the check, the waitress had billed us for 2 bottles of wine instead of the one. The first one was not available, so we went with the second choice. She should have looked at the check and seen that she didn't remove the first bottle before bringing it to us. We still love Essex and will continue to go -- but what a difference employees can have on the experience. Oh -- and what's up with the booth seating? Crazy awkward and uncomfortable distance from the table! Booths are too low and too far back from the tables. Will not sit there again!

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

A little bit disappointed this time around. I love this place and the ambience but this night was a disappointed with the service.

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R
Charlotte
5 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

I had a late dinner out to Essex, and though service was slow for some reason, I got great wine selection ideas from the waiter, and I enjoyed all I had for dinner. It’s definitely a restaurant worth visiting

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S
Charlotte
10 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food is great! Service was slow to start but picked up after we ordered food. Small plates, comes out whenever ready. 4 adults and we ordered 8 total dishes but struggled to finish. 6 would have been enough. Fried cauliflower and butter chicken were our favorites!

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RP
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was great small to medium plate sizes which we could share. We had grouper bits, land and sea role, lobster Mac & cheese. All was easy to share allowing. Us to try a verity of things.

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JS
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Brunch buffet was excellent!
Look forward to more and the price was terrific.
If there was any additions, it would be some smooth jazz;that would be our icing on the cake!
Enjoyed Easter brunch with exception of running out of desserts

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful flavors and food

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SW
Savannah
9 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

We went at 6:00 on a Thursday before a 7:30 play at Blumenthal. I made a reservation as I wasn’t sure how busy they’d be, the inside was pretty dead but the patio was almost full due the nice weather and we chose to sit outside. We waited 20 mins and no one came to our table, I had to stop another server and ask where our server was. When he came we went ahead and ordered drinks and two appetizers since we already had so much time to review the menu. Drinks took a long time and came out about the same time the food did. We tried to order another small plate before leaving for the show and our server was no where in sight. He didn’t come back to check on us. Finally he came back, we ordered another small plate, and as soon as the food arrived requested our check so we could make it to the show.

The food was wonderful and they have a great assortment of different types of small plates that were all delicious. The service we received really put a damper on the experience. We felt neglected, and not taken care of. We were unable to relax and an enjoy the experience as we were constantly looking for our server, flagging down other people to help, and checking our watches. When dropping $100 on cocktails and 3 appetizers, I expect better service. We are willing to give them another shot because the food and location are great. I’m hoping we just got a bad egg of a server, hopefully they aren’t all as inattentive and slow as he was.

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DD
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. Cool decor. Parking is an issue.

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D
Charlotte
48 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We went before closing, would recommend going earlier. Some food was cold, didn’t complain. Overall it was ok but not excellent like my first experience.

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OT
Charlotte
5 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was awesome and we would definitely come back. The lamb chop lollies & churrasco were delish as well as the braised short rib flatbread. However, we wish server was a little bit more attentive. Had to call for her several times to fill up our glasses. Resto wasn’t full. It was kinda noisy, too. For some reason, we were talking louder than normal because if not, my friend and I can’t hear each other. Overall, the food more than made up for these nuances.

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

I put anniversary on our reservation, but there was no mention of the special occasion. Waitress was not very attentive and seemed to busy for our table.

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KS
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

great valet parking out front at no cost...what a treat! Food was outstanding and came very timely. Service was excellent and atmosphere was great!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Birthday celebration for our 26 year old daughter

Essex
Responded on April 15, 2019

Thank you for the great review. We hope your daughter had a very happy birthday! Come back again soon. Thank you, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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MG
Charlotte
5 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Went before seeing the Charlotte Symphony. Excellent tasting sushi rolls and they are a good size.

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M
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is always a ten ! Thank you

Essex
Responded on April 15, 2019

Mimi, We are so glad you had a great time with us! Please come back again soon. Thank you, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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RC
Philadelphia
22 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just great from start to finish every time I go!

Essex
Responded on April 15, 2019

Ron, Thank you for the great review. We are so glad you have had great experiences with us. Please come back again soon. Thank you, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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BB
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It has some awesome food my dudes. Bruh heck out the virgin cocktails they are lit tbh.

Essex
Responded on April 15, 2019

BadBunny, Thank you for the great review. Please come back and see us again soon! Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

It was a nice afternoon lunch.Love the vibe of essex

Essex
Responded on April 8, 2019

Thank you for the great review. Hope to see you in again soon! Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Moscow Mule I’ve ever had. They make their own ginger beer and it makes all the difference. Food is delicious. Upscale feel, nice ambience. Their outdoor seating area is also very nice. Highly recommend. Try the grouper- melts in your mouth.

Essex
Responded on April 1, 2019

Thank you so much for the awesome review. We're glad you enjoyed the Moscow Mules. Come back for another soon! Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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T
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on March 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We sat on the patio with beautiful cool weather for lunch. The heaters were on and it was perfect. Quiet but the sound of the city was around. The food was delicious and came out just when we started getting hungry. The waitress was attentive and checked on consistently even being on the patio. I highly recommend Essex!

Essex
Responded on April 1, 2019

Twerk, Thanks for the great review! We love the patio, too. So glad you enjoyed your meals! We look forward to seeing you in again soon. Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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C
Chicago
93 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the selection and food quality! We wondered how they could offer so many quality options on the menu. Falafel was a favorite, lobster tacos least favorite. Brought offerings one at a time. Went Sunday at 6.30pm. Had table on terrace overlooking trade. Will be back!

Essex
Responded on April 1, 2019

Chalet, Thank you for the awesome review! We're so glad you enjoyed the falafel. We look forward to seeing you in again soon. Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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JT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We will definitely go back - excellent food & service

Essex
Responded on April 1, 2019

Thank you for the awesome review! We look forward to seeing you in again soon. Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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k
Charlotte
59 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

We have been to Essex a few times. The food is always good, but it can take quite a long time to take your order

Essex
Responded on April 1, 2019

Kens, thank you for the awesome review! We apologize that there was a little bit of a wait. We are a tapas style restaurant, so things do come out as they are prepared. We look forward to seeing you in again soon. Sincerely, Shannon Stewart Marketing Assistant

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C
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had the best time lamb chop lolli pops were tender and flavorful cocktails were perfectly hand crafted.

Essex
Responded on March 26, 2019

Thank you so much for the wonderful review! We look forward to seeing you in again soon! Sincerely, Ashley Morris Director of Sales & Marketing

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T
Charlotte
27 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
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.

Essex
Responded on March 26, 2019

Tina, Thank you so much for the wonderful review! We look forward to seeing you in again soon! Sincerely, Ashley Morris Director of Sales & Marketing

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