Go inside El Thrifty Social Club, now open at Optimist Hall

Go inside El Thrifty Social Club, now open at Optimist Hall
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El Thrifty Social, a Mexican-inspired restaurant, bar and gaming venue from the team behind Queen Park Social (Reid Olsen and Joe Lariscy) is now open in Optimist Hall.

This will be El Thrifty’s second location (the original is located in Greenville, SC) and they’re operating on a limited schedule and menu until Oct. 10. I swung by yesterday to check it out.

“After opening Queen Park Social, Joe and I realized that by providing guests an added entertainment element outside of the usual options you find in bars creates a welcoming atmosphere and destination to gather with friends, family and co-workers,” Reid said.

Layout: The 6,931-square-foot restaurant features an 85-seat restaurant, a gaming room with 50 lounge seats and a 30-seat patio with custom lounge areas for game-watching.

Entertainment: Games include duck pin bowling lanes, basketball shooter, shuffleboard, and air hockey. Look for more games to be added over time. DJs and live music will also be added to the mix in the coming months (I expect this place to have more of a nightlife vibe than restaurant vibe).


Menu: The Mexican-inspired menu features shareables, tacos, tortas and a few signature dishes (full menu below). Lookout for happy-hour and late-night menus featuring food and beverage specials in the future. Here’s a look at some of the signature dishes.

  • Chicken torta – avocado crema and queso
  • Hanger steak – chipotle butter and chimichurri
  • Octopus – ancho chile, tomatillo and chipotle squash puree
  • Tacos – al pastor, chicken tinga, camaron, carne asada and veggie on house-made corn tortillas

Drinks: Expect agave-based spirits, mezcal, tequila, local craft beer and wine. “El Thrifty will offer a traveling bar cart that will feature customizable mezcals and tequila cocktails in addition to mezcal flights,” a press release about the venture stated. They’ve got 10 signature cocktails that range from $9 to $14.

Design: El Thrifty has a cool look. House of Nomad was in charge of interior design, and designers Kelley Lentini and Berkeley Minkhorst literally went to Mexico of inspiration and to find authentic Mexican decor and finishes, including a custom painting by Mexican artist, Cori Jacobs, who’s been there for 15 years. Expect to see a lot of patterns, textural elements and colors ranging from teal to pink.

Hours/location: Hours are 4-10 p.m for now; full operational hours will start on Oct. 10. The exact address is 1115 N. Brevard St.

Keep in mind that they just opened, and I’d definitely expect a few operational hiccups over the next month or so (not all the games were working when I visited). Okay, let’s take a look around.

location el thrifty charlotte

patio at el thrifty charlotte

bar at el thrifty in charlotte

dining room el thrifty charlotte

tables at el thrifty

seating at el thrifty charlotte

duck pin bowling at el thrifty charlotte

shuffleboard at el thrifty charlotte

basketball el thrifty charlotte

lounge at el thrifty charlotte

chicken torta at el thrifty

Pork Belly Torta ($14)

el thrifty menu

cocktail at el thrifty charlotte

La Gringarita ($11)

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