At the corner of Lincoln and Greene streets lies USC’s latest venture: 1801 Grille. Managed by The Harper’s Restaurant Group, the location opened in February, filling an on- yet off-campus void that students, faculty and Columbians alike are coming to enjoy.
“Because of this collaboration between Harper’s and the University, it’s provided us with this beautiful environment that’s a very unique atmosphere,” said general manager Jefferson Beatty. “Refined contemporary American dining is the theme of the restaurant so guests that enjoy nicer end products at a nice price come here.”
Behind the bar, the cocktail list is described as seasonally sensitive. Right now you’ll find a lot of citrus notes incorporated in both light and dark liquor drinks. They stress the use of fresh juices and housemade items, down to the grenadine. Chef Jason Bruner is credited with being the “purist” behind the restaurant – and bar’s - take on American cuisine and cocktails. Everything they use is fresh and made in-house.
The bar also offers infusions, which means pairing a liquor with fruits or vegetables and allowing it to “steep” for a number of weeks. Right now, for example, they have a green apple thyme gin, a pineapple lemongrass vodka and a jalepeno pinapple tequila.
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“We’re looking at the basics here,” said bartender Amelia Fuselier. “You have to start with something pure and good to get something good out of it.”
The drink menu is broken down into two categories: inspired and signature cocktails. The inspired cocktails use four ingredients at most, with names that harken back to USC. There’s the Irene Dillard, named for the first female dean at the University. It brings together rum, pineapple, luxardo maraschino and the in-house made grenadine. The most popular on the menu is the Columbi-A, made up of spiced rum, pineapple, orange juice and cherry shrub.
Then there’s their take on signature cocktails, like the Hemingway daiquiri, a blend of rum, lime, fresh grapefruit juice and in-house made grenadine.
“We’re trying to give the Southern experience in a really nice environment,” said Fuselier. “We’re relatively upscale but try to give that homey experience. Just classic South Carolina.”
WHERE: 700 Lincoln St., Ste 200
WHEN: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
WORTH NOTING: Happy hour 4-7 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close. Margarita Mondays ($1.50 off all tequila and margaritas), Two-sday ($2 off all draft beers), Wine Down Wednesday (half-priced select wines by the glass), Thursday Spursday ($1.50 off all craft cocktails) and Friday Infusion ($1.50 off all infused and aged liquors)