The Blog

By   –  Senior Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

Big Ben’s take on a modern British pub opens in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood on Thursday.

The restaurant and pub is located at 1535 Elizabeth Ave. — formerly home to Carpe Diem. The move to Elizabeth came after Big Ben was displaced from its home at Atherton Mill in South End after a nearly decade.

“I think everything worked out how it should have. I’m happy we found this space,” says owner Neel Gandhi.

He and his business partners are also behind Caswell Station, Clutch Kitchen & Pour House and Graham St. Pub & Patio.

Big Ben will be serving food on Thursday but is still waiting on its liquor license, he says.

The new location offers more space, ample parking and is close to the Charlotte Independence soccer club’s headquarters. It’s also roughly 1.5 miles from Big Ben’s original Providence Road home, which was destroyed in a fire in 2010.

Big Ben has built a following for its English fare. It has become a gathering place to watch professional soccer and enjoy live music.

“We just want to be that neighborhood sports bar and pub,” Gandhi says.

Staples such as Scottish Meat Pies, sausage rolls, Bangers n’ Mash and the fish and chips remain menu staples. A traditional English breakfast will be served on weekends.

But a larger kitchen will support an expanded menu, Gandhi says. The extra room provides opportunities for creativity, with monthly chef specials planned to test new menu items.

Sixteen taps will offer a mix of English beers as well as some local craft options.

The roughly 5,500-square-foot space has been transformed. Instead of a traditional-style English pub, Big Ben delivers a modern spin with an open-concept offering. Its footprint is twice size of the South End restaurant, making that possible.

“We put a lot of work into it,” Gandhi says. “We’ve modernized Big Ben, but we’ve kept the flavor of an English pub.”

Hand-crafted wood tables as well as eye-catching copper ones, with copper seats and tufted leather booths, are tucked in the space. Pops of red and blue — drawing inspiration from the British flag — can be found throughout. The red bar front just inside the entrance serves as a focal point, offset by blue bar stools.

A private nook in the rear space features a second bar. Tenon & Tailored pulled apart whiskey barrels to give that barfront a custom look. It has a copper top.

Big Ben will open Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, it will open at 10 a.m. for a full English breakfast. It will have special hours to view professional soccer matches.

Gais Construction was the general contractor on the project. Black Dove Interiors was the architect. NoDa Painting Co. also worked on the project.

Ian Whetsel with The Chambers Group represented Big Ben in the real estate transsaction. Holly Alexander and Paula Saunders with New South Properties represented the landlord, Grubb Properties.

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