Oak & Honey—the new craft-cocktail lounge located inside the Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites by Marriott on East Washington Street—represents an embrace of Greenville’s shifting identity.
Executive chef Nicci Hughes and bar manager Hannah Taylor—the two women who run Oak & Honey’s day-to-day—see the name Oak & Honey as a reference to the lounge’s natural inspiration and a nod to their ultimate aim for the space: a place to serve an increasingly diverse community.
It starts with the space itself. Lofty ceilings, expansive windows, and a calming palette of crisp whites, pistachio greens, and toasted wood grain bring to mind a spring afternoon. Sunlight pours in, while at night, a mix of lighting illuminates the entire space.
Alcoves along a back wall allow for privacy, but there’s freedom of movement built into the space. “The seating is meant to be more communal, for coming together,” says Hughes. “It’s a meet-and-greet atmosphere.” To take the apiary reference further, Oak & Honey is designed to reflect the intricately choreographed chaos that defines a beehive: there’s mixing, mingling, buzz, and energy.
That sense of communal hospitality extends into the menu. Small plates like the spicy Thai chicken wings and charcuterie make for easy sharing with friends, while beverages that range from bottled domestics to craft cocktails like the Busy Bee (Altos Reposado tequila, Bärenjäger, Ancho Reyes, carrot, pineapple, lime, and simple syrup) mean all types of boozy appetites are satisfied.
But where Oak & Honey pushes the bar is how it caters to those looking to nibble on vegetarian or vegan options, and those who might not be interested in alcohol. “People more and more are choosing to drink less alcohol, or to start their night off slowly,” says Taylor. Purposeful craft mocktails, such as the Suit and Thai (Thai tea with half and half) and the Mr. Collins (lemon-lime syrup, tonic, and Angostura bitters) are booze-less standouts. “The flavors in our mocktails were made to enjoy together without alcohol.”
The same philosophy follows in Hughes’ menu, with vegan nachos and vegetarian risotto croquettes providing plenty of potency without any sense of overindulgence. “You can eat really yummy stuff and drink really yummy things without being unhealthy.”
As Greenville’s population shifts and changes, its tastes, desires, and interests are bound to morph and expand. Oak & Honey—with its focus on community and inclusion—is here to make sure everyone can enjoy an evening out.
Oak & Honey, 200 E Washington St, Greenville. (864) 720-2900, oakandhoneygvl.com