Rob Young was originally planning on split functions for the building he owns in the heart of downtown Greenville. He would rent the downstairs to a new art gallery, and open a small private bar in the upstairs section. Then, he had a new idea.
“We decided to do it together, and have it be an art bar,” said Young, co-owner of The Art Bar on Main.
So what exactly can you expect when you visit an art bar? Young describes it thus:
“It’s an art gallery that is also a bar. Downstairs, there’s a full gallery with floor and wall finishes, and all types of creations hanging on the wall. When you’re here as a patron, you can actually purchase anything you can see, touch or feel, from the drinks to the art to the chairs you’re sitting in.”
On the mezzanine level, as Young refers to it, is Hamilton’s Tavern, named for the building’s original incarnation as Hamilton’s Jewelry Store. The tavern services both levels with munchies and drinks, which include seven craft beers on tap, 25 more in bottles, and more than 40 varieties of wine. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. each day the bar is open.
Don’t plan on having dinner at The Art Bar, though. The menu is oriented towards heavy hors d’oeuvres, tapas and salads, along with “unbelievably exquisite desserts,” as Young describes them, cooked up by Buttercream Bake House. There is also live acoustic music every evening at 7:30 p.m.
“This is a place that’s great to come before dinner, to hang out and have some drinks and appetizers, or after dinner to enjoy dessert and live music,” Young said.
The art you’ll find is not in the least compromised by the fact that it shares space with a bar. In the center of the gallery sits a birch tree, shaped out of plaster, that could absolutely pass for a real tree. And the work of local artists on display at the gallery runs the gamut of styles and media.
“We have contemporary metal art all the way down to stuff done with watercolors and acid stains,” Young said.
In addition, co-owner Shannon McGee, whom Young calls “the artistic one,” has added eye-catching faux-finishes to the floor and walls, which can be recreated in customers’ homes if desired.
For more, check out our photo tour of The Art Bar on Main.