Monday, October 5, 2009

Sushi lounge, nightclub opening doors this weekend


Step inside a new nightlife venue in Charlotte these days and you're likely to come face-to-face with at least one giant gold Buddha.


Dharma has one, as does Enso, and when Fiji Sushi Bar & Lounge and the adjoining Kashmir nightclub open this weekend, you won't be able to avoid running into one just like that drunken one night stand you're hopelessly trying to dodge.

Yes, Eastern influence is all the rage in Charlotte right now, and Fiji and Kashmir are the latest to join in the philosophical fun.

I got a preview of the two new venues this weekend. Fiji is in the former home of Feast and Kashmir is in the final resting place of Liv.

Let's start with Fiji.

The Crowd: Management says the restaurant will be heavily influenced by Charlotte's fashion scene. TVs will be tuned into fashion channels, not football. A removable catwalk is being built that will be used for such fashion shows as the one Jordano's is doing at this weekend's grand opening. Expect well-heeled young professionals to turn out for sushi and fashion.


The Scene: Lots of red and white furniture (possibly refurbished from Feast) and a logo eerily similar to the Enso circle displayed prominently around the EpiCentre restaurant. Gone is the huge bar in the middle of the restaurant. Instead a long sushi bar with a waterfall for a backdrop has been added off to the side with a smaller full-service bar tucked into the front corner.



Food and Drink: I sampled some of the sushi and my wimpy palate for raw fish was impressed. The restaurant's Peruvian chef has managed to update many of the usual stale rolls with new flavors. My favorite of the night: the Firecracker Roll. Crunchy, sweet and spicy. For cocktails, try one of the Johnny Love mixed drinks. The brand of vodka popular out west is making its Charlotte debut.

Now, let's head downstairs to Kashmir.

With the low ceilings and minimal lighting, it feels like you're walking into an illegal, underground speakeasy where you can hide in shadowy corners. The layout hasn't changed much from Liv: same bar, same lounge furniture and the same mirror that tricks people into thinking it's another room (sit and watch how many people run into it one night. It's entertaining). As one partygoer said: "It's basically like Liv, with a bunch of Asian decorations added to it."


One new addition is the Zen Lounge or as the club's Chandler Alan Beal says, "Charlotte's first true VIP room." To access the lounge, you'll need to be a VIP gold card member, which entitles you to:
  • Entry for yourself and three guests
  • Private VIP entrance and exit with security detail if requested
  • Complimentary valet parking
  • Complimentary coat check
  • Onsite massage therapists
  • Concierge services
In addition, a table inside the lounge will feature T1 Visions touchscreen technology where you can order food and drinks, reserve a hotel room, access the Internet and more. It's the first in Charlotte in a nightclub setting. T1 Tapas in Huntersville also uses the technology.

The Curse: Beal acknowledges the curse that has seemingly plagued that stretch of Fifth Street between Church and Tryon streets (its victims include Twist, Daddy's, Menage, Hom and Belle's BBQ). He's hoping the two new openings will revitalize the area. In fact, the theme for Kashmir's Halloween party is "Nightmare on 5th Street: Lift The Curse."

Do you think they can do it?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

charlotte has a fashion scene? must be talking about the emo crowd on central

westcoastbound said...

1year - Max....Charlotte is not know for it's longevity when it comes to lounges/nightclubs.

Anonymous said...

no

Anonymous said...

I agree 1 year max. This guy running this place has no clue- I heard about other things he has tried to open or become involved in and none of it worked out. He doesn't have a good name in this town.

Anonymous said...

1 buck per UNcooked
fishroll: be their
undoing; this is an
indication: what a
staaaaaaaaale scene
uptown is

Anonymous said...

Sounds like many a rough night: firecraker sushi, heavy nightclub scene, hangover courtesy of the curse. Should be fun!

Anonymous said...

NO THANKS! Couldn't pay me to go to either one of those places. If I want sushi I'll go to Nikkos.

JAT said...

I was less embarrassed for Charlotte when the only place open past 1am was THE Krispy Kreme on Independence.

Why enable these loons, Sarah?

Anonymous said...

I hope they can make it, but as usual, the rednecks will ruin everything and the only packed nightclub in this city will still be disgusting Bar Charlotte and Buckhead Saloon. There just aren't enough normal, sophisticated people here to keep anything worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

If it ain't "country" or "redneck" it ain't gonna be crowded. Welcome to Charlotte y'all!

Anonymous said...

Run of the mill asian decorations and sushi doesn't necessarily translate into sophisticated.

Anonymous said...

agreed that the place won't last. it has nothing to do with the location. their trying to be too trendy in an area that just won't support it. they need to get back to basics a little bit. Belle's seemed like an attempt to head that direction but the hot waitresses (Dumb Belles) couldn't get you in and out in a reasonable time so their lunch business tanked. they're more focused on being cool than ensure their customers are getting what they need. the staff had an attitude at Menage and Hom like you were lucky to be there. there are lots of choices out there so they better make their customers feel welcome.

Anonymous said...

to the person who said the owner is clueless;
That's nearly slanderous. If you're going to assassinate the owner's reputation, the least you could do is give facts to back up your claim. "he doesn't have a good name in this town". Why does he have a bad name? You're probably some dumb*ss former employee who got fired for being worthless.

Anonymous said...

"....just like that drunken one night stand you're hopelessly trying to dodge."...?

Since when did it get so easy????

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that if you want great Sushi, you go to Jade or New Zealand Cafe. Just like anyplace downtown, it will be overpriced, trendy for yups and wana-bee bimer riders, but in the end will fade like morning dew in the summer.

The trouble with these types of hang-outs is they don't provide anything on the economical side. They charge $7 for 5-6 pieces of raw fish & $5 dollars for domstics, who knows for a Martini.

No specials, in fact, you should feel special just by walking thru the door according their logic.

Anonymous said...

Open a NASCAR Sports Grille on 5th street

Anonymous said...

Buddhas? Yeah... 1996 called, it wants its nightlife motif back.

Anonymous said...

"That's nearly slanderous."

Come on dude..every other comment I read on these pages is "nearly slanderous" against someone.
Who gives a sh*t

Anonymous said...

We need Flying Saucer type bars. GIGANTIC beer selections that rotate weekly. Enough with the flashy B.S. Lets get back to basics.

Take a look at the bars that have been uptown for the past 5 to 10 years. They are basic. Flash fades fast and the types that frequent them have zero loyalty.

We could use some good theme bars but done in good way. Not like the cookie cutter garbage that is rampant at the EpiCenter. It's like going to a suburban hell hole Disneyesque strip mall.

Charlotte has so much potential. You see it in little pockets of SouthEnd, NoDa and Plaza. But these are very tiny pockets. I guess Charlotte likes to be flat, boring and mainstream. It likes its downtown to feel like the Burbs.

Take a look at Asheville and Chapel Hill. They have created great downtown districts. Street level shopping, restaurants and bars. No b.s. flashy clubs. No overpriced chain steak houses block after block. Every restaurant has something entirely different.

Comon' Charlotte. You can really be something. All the potential is here.
And please, not another sports bar.

Anonymous said...

White chairs and red table cloths...tacky! Fiji won't last and neither will Enso in EpiCentre. Kashmir...a VIP in Charlotte? Yeah, a lot of places in Charlotte claim to have VIP. No bar/lounge in Charlotte has a VIP and if you try and make it a true VIP, it won't last in Charlotte. This is a college town for bars/lounges. These two places will be closed within 12-18 months...along with Enso.

Anonymous said...

i want a flying saucer. i cant wait for this to go out of business. A year max. That looks so lame

Anonymous said...

Hope it works, but Mr. Beal has a long way to go with the husband and wife owners to make a decent restaurant that will attract the neighborhood. We have enough sushi places and as one person said nikkos is the place to go. Mr. Beal feels like he has to have a bar to make a go of it. Not......... Why does someone not survey the residents and people who work and live here to find out what is needed. Breakfast!!! Lunch Dinner! Diner like atmosphere,
open to the all around tourist and resident of downtown.

Anonymous said...

LOL @ private security for VIPs. Sounds like a VIP there gets jack sh@t.

Anonymous said...

A fashion seen in Mayberry? I don't think we have enough hip/cool liberals in this town to sustain it for more than a year..besides why go to a bar where there is a bunch of skinny wannaba fly chicks and no football! its boppers or bust

Anonymous said...

Not enough cliente for it in Charlotte, rents incredibly high, and parking is really terrible at this particular spot. But none the less, I wish them the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Nikkos, Sushi 101, Enso, RuSans, and now these two....
How much bait can this city consume??
When will the Greeks save us with some good 'ol fried fish and hush puppies??!!

Anonymous said...

Back to basics?! Everything in Charlotte is BASIC! It's so BORING. All of you just want more of the same old crap. And to the person who said a NASCAR Grill... sadly that would probably do very well here!

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to see a part of Charlotte on the same scale as Asheville or Chapel Hill, but that doesn't mean places like this can't be here. Charlotte isn't a small town. Larger cities have places like this. People in Charlotte are so ignorant, negative, and annoying. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

When there are less "country folk" here you might see more places open that are similar to the ones in Asheville. Until then, don't hold your breath. :-(

Anonymous said...

This place looks cool. Now Town Tavern... that is a lame, un-original concept! They would have been a great spot of a Flying Saucer type place... and the old Daddy's spot would make a good "diner" spot too.

Anonymous said...

This hamlet is so f'ing Cliquey!!!!!!

We don't accept your kind!!!

JAT said...

Hey, to be clear, there is great food in Charlotte, awesome sushi even in Cyros Sushi.

But the fundamental problem is that Uptown rents need to fall by, oh, one-third and align with reality so that the folks with vision and talent -- as opposed to money-grubbing hacks -- can make a go of something.

Give it another 18 months to correct -- and hope the banks don't shed another 5000 jobs in the process.

Anonymous said...

Parking is bad at this spot? Are you serious? Get off your lazy you know what and walk one, two, or (oh my) even 3 blocks like lots of people do in many other cities!!!

Anonymous said...

To some of you, and you know who you are: quit whining and criticizing. Charlotte is a welcoming large community. A lot of us want to try something new. Those of you who don't like the way Charlotte works need to buy the first one-way ticket out of here. Many of the people opening these new places are our friends and neighbors. Everyone deserves a dream. Lighten up. Try the new place. Give them a chance; I'm sure you deserve one too. If you don't like it, then there is always Nikko. We all know they have the best sushi in the US.

Anonymous said...

sticky fingers please

Anonymous said...

I give it 6 months, Poor guy is going to loose it All.

Anonymous said...

We wish you a lots of luck with SL as your landlord for this new place Fiji and Kashmire Lounge. In this ecomomic enviroment and Charlotte clientles are not as loyal like other markets. Remember..You are as good until the next one arrive to the scence. Make sure you have a lot of cash to burns.

Anonymous said...

maybe they need to a brewery with like 100 beers on tap and make it not appealing to gelheads/jersey trash. than we would come.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the person who suggested a diner! That would be great. We need some breakfast & late night eateries uptown!!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to this new venue yet I want to comment on the "Jersey trash" comment. What us UP with that?!? All these short, Italian-looking douches with spiked, gelled up hair with a two-sizes too small Affliction or Ed Hardy tee on. What is going on in the CLT? Go home, guyz. We don't want you here.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather hang with the "gelheads" than the "comb-over" frat losers on montford drive. i didn't know dressing like a 45 year old man was in style...

Anonymous said...

^

HAAAAAAAAA !

Definitely ! Nothing worse than a frat bot.
Ohhhhhh yeah....... a Sorority girl !

Anonymous said...

just noticed who the weekend dj's are. they say they are trying to be new but they have two breakbeat dj's for the weekend. breakbeat music died in 2002 and what is left of the following is small and tends to be rednecky. not the clientele they need for this place. unless they make some changes quickly, they will be like breakbeats...DONE.

Anonymous said...

doesn't charlotte already have a flying saucer?? if you are so infatuated with the concept then why don't you go there already? if you are looking for a place downtown that has drunk rednecks and no atmosphere, try BAR.

Anonymous said...

if you haven't tried the food at Fiji how can you determine that it isn't going to be better than the other sushi places that we have here? wouldn't you be happy this place opened if the food here is better than your favorite sushi place? i would hope so, i'm always happy when a new restaurant opens up that serves food that is better than what is already available.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte was best when it had less places to choose from! There really aren't enough cool people to fill these places that keep opening. It's no wonder that they fail. If you look back, the best places, hands down, were VARGA and Mythos! Varga was the first really cool place that actually was way ahead of its time. People actually dressed up and cared about their appearance. If you haven't noticed already, the guys could care less how they look and could be going to Wal-Mart, for God's sake! The women look trashy and look like common prostitutes, trying to get the attention of the not so hot Wal-Mart dudes. It really is comical. Epicentre is ridiculous and way over-rated, not to mention Suite. Good lord, that place is not so 'sweet'. Anyway, I will stop.......However, Mez is pretty cool......and Enso has great rolls........as for Fiji and Kashmir.......that place is cursed...the parking situation ruined them, so with valet parking it might help, but I doubt it.....good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think the answer is evident...they are done. should be closing in less than 3 months

Anonymous said...

I saw some earlier posts about the bar management guy opening this place (No it's not BMG- but another firm) anyway, I heard he was fired last week! IF this is true this is the 2nd time he's been fired in a few months from bars he's gotten involved in. Give it up dude.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I had dinner there 2 weeks ago and will never go back. The tuna roll I put in my mouth was rancid and there was a hair in my salad. I saw two drunk people arguing at the top of their lungs and was later informed by the waitress (who kept apologizing for them) that they were the owners! I don't see this place making it. I know I will never eat there again.

Anonymous said...

I heard they're playing great R&B and Hip-hop in Kashmir now. Sounds like they're going urban which is what everyone does when they can't pay the bills. Ask about it!

Anonymous said...

No way! No one can lift that curse. It's like the Amityville Horror house....the evil demon vibe takes over everyone that works in it and owns it. I lived at the Iveys and then moved to the Avenue and have been a patron at all the different concepts in the old HOM building and along 5th street. That building is pure evil and awaits it's next victim. It's going to spit out Fiji & Kashmir in February or March. I ate there last Saturday night with my small party and it was a huge disappointment. Our food took forever (40 minutes) and it came out wrong when it did. The evil demon vibe spread to the management: My friend had 2 hairs in his salad and when the manager came over to see what was the matter, he stated that the hairs were probably from my friend (who was bald). Joke or not, very tacky. He asked for a replacement and it never came. Then the evil dark shadow demon followed us downstairs to Kashmir (my other friend had a VIP card and was talking up the VIP lounge). We went into the lounge to see what it looked like and were kicked out by the birthday party banshees. As we were leaving that room a couple was fighting over by a door close to the stairs. The woman slammed the door in the man's face. He then opened it and walked in and slammed it again. I then went home and called my priest. I will never stray from Basil or Nix again. That demon building at 116 5th street. Hahaha!!

Anonymous said...

This place won't last long. They use the venue completely wrong. They are using the longstanging theme of "separate clubs" on each floor and charging admission for each. Anyone who's frequented real clubs/lounges (vegas, ny, la) knows you don't charge separate admission for each level. Its absurd. One cover, thats it.

All this does is turn people away so that they can refer their friends NOT to come here.

Charlotte Promoters - this VIP membership bs does NOT work. This is NOT LA, Vegas, Mia, or anything near. None of the clubs/bars here are even worth the $10 cover. SERIOUSLY.

Anonymous said...

First time dining there last Thursday. Last time dining there last Thursday. Back to Niko's and Ru Sans.