FOOD: Get the Speakeasy Vibe at Last Exit

By: Alycia Williams

It’s late. You feel like enjoying a drink with friends. You want to hear good music. But you don’t want to have to fight your way to the bar. With all of your restrictions, the options start to narrow. And then someone suggests Tonic in Mount Pleasant. The dive sports bar wasn’t on the top of your list, but you acquiesce and head uptown.

You walk in and start to pull up a seat. But your compatriots have something else in mind. They keep walking to the back of the bar and just when you think they must be lost, they take a left and head through a doorway with a neon sign that reads “Last Exit.”

As you walk over the threshold, you realize they weren’t planning to go to Tonic at all…they were letting you in on a neighborhood secret. Last Exit is a “speakeasy” hidden in the back of Tonic and known for its extensive whiskey selection and cocktail infusions. You decide to play it safe and order a glass of petite syrah and truffle fries.

While you let the vino breathe, you take in the scene. Relaxed couches and chairs reclaimed from second hand stores line the walls. The illuminated red bar glows behind the bartender as he pours a glass of 10-year-old Laphroaig for your friend. In the background, the music ranges from Jackson 5 to Journey to Jay Z. You sink lower in your chair just as the truffle fries arrive. As the rich parmesan complements the wine on your palette you realize the comfortably unpretentious vibe is exactly what you were looking for tonight.

This won’t be your last time at Last Exit. And maybe next time you’ll be adventurous enough to try The Duling—house-made jalapeno/basil-infused tequila, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, fresh citrus juice and sugar, paired with a smoked paprika tortilla chips.

Just not tonight.

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