Tuesday’s SCENE happy hour at Basic Kitchen was pure torture. Let me explain.

Before arriving, I committed to abstaining from all food and alcohol, having promised myself an evening run. Apparently, the older you get, the more heat intolerant you become. Even as recently as two years ago, I thought little of spending a midday hour crushing the bleachers at Burke’s practice field next to the Joe, perversely cherishing the oppressive summer heat. Today, I get annoyed when King Street storefronts skip an awning, forcing me to spend .5 seconds in the direct sun. This newfound, vampiric aversion to the elements provides a great excuse not to exercise, but doesn’t hold up come dusk, which is about the time happy hour winds down.

This brings me to Tuesday’s event. I counted no less than five servers toting countless plates piled high with teetering towers of tempura battered cauliflower “wings,” and trays of nachos dripping with the best looking vegan cheese you’ve ever seen. I’m sure the attractiveness of food amplifies relative to (self imposed) deprivation of it, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be having a redemption meal at Basic Kitchen in the very near future.


Ole standby Cathead Distillery satisfied the alcohol quotient with Silver Fox cocktails (vodka, Earl Grey simple syrup, lemon), and Basic provided a few other choice beverage options including Negronis, beet margaritas, beers, and pinot noir*.

Dressed in blue and white, Basic’s back patio invited guests to plop onto to picnic benches, crowd beneath striped umbrellas, and wind down the workday in preparation to attend a performance of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk at the Dock Street Theatre.

Cat Taylor, SCENE co-chairperson, marveled that everyone seemed to get the memo to dress according to venue, and she was right; together we presented a majorly Instagrammable still — a sea of teal, azure, cornflower and cobalt. St. Tropez’s “Le Club 55” would seem amateur compared to our unintentionally coordinated clique. The whole setup is a far cry from Andolini’s storage-cum-outdoor seating area of yesteryear, amirite?

Oh — and to answer the question burning on everyone’s mind: yes, I did manage a loping tour of Hampton Park at sunset. And while fitter and smugger for having done so, I’m quite sure it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

*Actually, they served rosé. Because duh. It’s summertime in Charleston. This was a test to see if you were paying attention.

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