Here’s Insider Louisville’s first look at the St. Charles Exchange, which just opened Friday night at Seventh and Main streets downtown.
We say the first look, because we will be going back.
As one of our insiders commented, “This is a place we can drink!”
Though it’s a brand new retrofit, the St. Charles has that kind of a Jack Fry’s or The Silver Dollar “been there forever” ambiance that makes you want to linger.
We never quite moved past gawking at the 4,000-square-foot interior to the food. So, here’s our take on what we think is a feast for the eyes.
The first interior feature you notice is the scale of the place – the ceiling must be 15-feet high, with dangly Restoration Hardware-looking Old School fixtures inspired by those 1920s-style lamps.
A tiny mini-lounge is at the front entrance.
The volume of space is emphasized by black accents, with glimmers of lipstick red here and there.
St. Charles designers have achieved an elegant, clean and uncluttered Zen-ness while keeping the retro romance of the Victorian-era building.
The bar is black. The ceiling is black. Most of the furniture is black, all contained by the orginal red brick walls. Windows/doors front and rear are huge and quietly curtained.
Miles of wood planking make up the floor, wood reclaimed from a Kentucky tobacco barn.
There are two lines of seating – bar seating, then a series of tables backing up to banquettes, all done up in black button-n-tuck leather.
All that is cool, right? But the most intriguing question is what St. Charles owners will do with multi-level exterior space visible from the corridor connecting the dining area to the kitchen.
Management told us the restaurant likely will lease the patio, or buy it.
The most amazing thing is that we only scooped this story back in February, and they’re open before Derby. Wow.
NOTE: St. Charles Exchange at 626 W. Main St. (you enter at 113. S. Seventh, across from 21c Museum Hotel) is taking reservations for Derby Eve and Derby night, when it will serve a prix fixe menu. Click here for the menu, and call (502) 618-1917 for reservations.