The Broken Spoke is the non-beer drinker’s answer to Charlotte’s booming brewery scene. Located smack in the middle of Sugar Creek Brewing Co. and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, this bar + distillery combo is the perfect stop when you need a liquor detour from a day of beer drinking.
Here’s what to know.
There’s food but not a lot.
Broken Spoke has a no-nonsense 4-item food menu consisting of: soup in a bread bowl ($5.50), ham & cheese panini ($6.50), Italian panini ($6.50) and charcuterie ($10). My fiance had the baked potato soup with bacon in a bread bowl and we got in an argument about whether or not you’re supposed to eat the bowl. Of course you’re supposed to eat the bowl. All of it.
The specialty cocktails are excellent.
I had The Broken Mule, which is vodka, ginger beer, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and rosemary ($11). There’s also a spiced rum punch ($9), maple Negroni ($12), hot poitin punch ($8) and the namesake Broken Spoke ($13), which is their spin on an Old Fashioned.
The vibe is chill but you can rage upstairs.
Down on the first floor, people were seated in small groups at tables or at the bar. Most of the tables were full but it wasn’t so crowded that people were standing shoulder to shoulder. There was a dull roar of conversation and some forgettable background music but no overwhelming clubby sound system. Meanwhile upstairs someone was having a raging 30th birthday party and we could hear them erupting into drunken cheers and laughter.
They might run out of their own whiskey.
Broken Spoke is the sister bar to next door’s Great Wagon Road Distillery where they produce Irish whiskey, vodka and poitin. Our server walked us through the cocktail menu and then explained that they were actually out of their own whiskey from next door because it’s the most popular. Pretty good problem to have.
There’s beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks too.
Broken Spoke has a bunch of local beers on tap, several wines and even non-alcoholic options, including: Redemption Brew ginger beer, Redemption Brew lemongrass, Fever Tree tonic and Pelligrino sparkling water. Something for everyone. I also appreciated that they leave a big bottle of water on the table so you don’t have to ask for it. I prefer this system over getting death stares when I ask for water at breweries.
Overall, I really like this place as a change of pace from the brewery scene. Good drinks, no frills, casual vibe. That said, I’d love to see a few more food options because when I’m drinking I’m all “Give me french fries or give me death!” But that sounds like more of a personal problem.