To Those Who Wait

Food
Typography

WHAT’S TRUE OF WHISKEY IS TRUE OF THE WHISKEY ROOM: PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

The thing about whiskey is that it needs to be aged properly. That slow buildup not only makes the flavors more robust and pronounced — giving them time to reach proper maturity and blossom to their fullest potential — but it also builds up anticipation for when the barrel will finally be ready. There’s a reason why just a little bit of time can make the difference between a good whiskey and a great whiskey.

What’s true for whiskey is also true for The Whiskey Room, the long-anticipated new experience from HHI Hospitality, the group that brought the Lowcountry favorites like CharBar Co. and Holy Tequila. When it finally opens this month, The Whiskey Room will introduce an entirely new concept in libation and celebrations on Hilton Head Island.

“There is so much opportunity with whiskey and bourbon to elaborate on the story of these spirits and how each barrel essentially is a different story,” said HHI Hospitality founder and CEO Nick Bergelt. “Whiskey Room in and of itself is like that spirit. Each barrel is different because of the product and the immense amount of patience required.”

His voice catches in a slight chuckle at the word “patience,” a concession to the fact that opening The Whiskey Room has been a much longer experience than he was anticipating. Bergelt knows it’s been a long time coming, and is fully aware of how appropriate it is that his latest restaurant concept has had to age to maturity in the same way as the spirits it sells.

“The parallels are kind of uncanny,” he said. “But it’s something we talk about in staff meetings that everything that has led us to this point in time is ultimately going to lead to that much more character and that much more attention to detail.”

Attention to detail The Whiskey Room has in spades, starting with the overall vibe of the place. Designed from the ground up to emulate the low-key speakeasies of the nation’s Prohibition-era past, the ambience of The Whiskey Room is a nod to the days when whiskey was driven underground. Think dark woods, low lighting, cool sophistication and the smooth sounds of jazz.

Next, the dedication to storytelling: “It’s truly American heritage, right? It’s evolved over time and there’s such a story to be told with that,” Bergelt said. “Each one of these distilleries have such rich history behind them. Once you really start to understand that and appreciate that, you can go so much deeper.”

Those stories are told across the labels of a carefully curated selection of whiskeys and bourbons from all along the mash belt of Kentucky and Tennessee. Old standbys share shelf space with hard-to-find labels that will deliver an unparalleled sipping experience for newbies and connoisseurs alike.

It’s an experience that is meant to be savored slowly.

“A bourbon isn’t meant to be shot. When you’re enjoying a nice bourbon, it’s really an opportunity to slow down in a very fast paced world,” Bergelt said. “You just have to take the time to appreciate it.”

Taking time is something The Whiskey Room has already done plenty of. Now it’s your chance to appreciate the results of that patience.