The New Home Team BBQ
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, if you’ve been anywhere near Charleston, you’ve heard of Home Team BBQ. Whether at the original West Ashley location or their beach site on Sullivan’s Island, Home Team is a familiar name around these parts. I recently met with owner, Aaron Siegel to discuss their new Downtown location, new menu items, and a revamped cocktail menu by Beverage Director Adam Rothstein. I’ll be sharing each in a 3-part series.
“…the downtown Home Team may come closest to what [Aaron] Siegel and [Taylor] Garrigan had in mind a decade ago; it just took a few years for them to find the stable balance point between refinement and a rip-snorting good time.”
The Dining Room
The new building is located at 126 Williman Street in the booming NoMo district with neighbors Edmund’s Oast, Blue Acorn and [the future] Lewis Barbecue. Even though this location has only been open a few months, Home Team regulars will experience a familiar feeling upon walking up to the front porch- industrial details, wood filled dining room and that unmistakable smoked barbecue smell. You’ll also notice how open the dining room is, with giant bay windows opening onto the front and side porches where built in tables and stools allow half the guests of a larger party to dine inside and the other half outside.
As you enter the doorway fittingly labeled ‘…Ribs & Whiskey…’ you’re immediately greeted by an old tractor converted into a hostess station.
From the hostess station, you have a view into the large open dining area. There’s a long bar with plenty of seating on the left, high-tops in the middle for large parties and the booths and window seating on the right.
In the back of the room, a slightly raised platform with the PURE gas station sign placed on a reclaimed wood wall (more on this wood later) functions as a music stage and additional seating. Between the exposed ceilings and the vintage signage and decor, I loved the rustic feel of this place. Again, it is very reminiscent of the decor of its sister locations… you’ll feel like you’ve been here before, even if you haven’t. This wall also hides the kitchen and serving window.
“…each location is modeled after the many honky-tonks and juke-joints found throughout the southeastern United States.”
Jenny from Jenny Keenan Interior Design is a personal friend of Siegel’s and did an amazing job outfitting the downtown location with that ‘Home Team’ feel. Along with the various decor from Keenan, the dining room features unique, hand-painted artwork by local artists and Aaron’s friends.
Some of the artwork and murals have a deeper meaning. What may look like an unnamed, soulful man playing guitar, it is actually a very meaningful tribute piece by local artist, Sean Williams. That unnamed figure is Lil’ Dave Thompson, a blues musician that died tragically in a car wreck at the age of 40 on his way back to Mississippi after playing a show at Home Team’s Sullivan’s Island location. Siegel says he played at the various Home Team BBQ locations multiple times and the mural was created to honor him.
“We always knew we wanted a mural, the first thing that came to mind was Lil’ Dave Thompson. He was always near and dear to our hearts…”
Ah yes, the bar, one of the longer bars in Charleston. The subtle details really impressed me about this bar: the bar siding is constructed from a shipping container, the bar steps are spare railroad tracks found when the building next door was purchased and the hangers under the bar are actually railroad spikes welded onto the shipping container siding. Aaron told me they only found 75% of the railroad tracks they needed to complete the length of the bar, so similar tracks were sourced from Athens, GA and brought to Charleston.
Along with the cocktails (Part 3 of this series), guests can enjoy an impressive [and affordable] selection of low, mid and high-range whiskies, mostly bourbon and rye. Similar to the other locations, they also offer a great selection of local beers on draft.
The last (and my favorite) detail about the bar is the ceiling, easily missed if you’re just here for a drink. The ceiling features the same reclaimed oak from the stage, along with rusty tin ceiling tiles- all sourced from chicken shacks from Athens, Georgia.
As you step out onto the side patio, you’ll notice plenty more seating and a large TV; clearly a future hotspot for football season. The patio is open air with ceiling fans and roll down waterproof canvas for rainy summer days.
Stepping outside the patio, there is a large fenced-in area The Courtyard’. And good news, they are pet friendly. The courtyard is a grass patch complete with picnic tables, a large oak tree and three modified shipping containers. These shipping containers will be a future stage for an outdoor venue. Two stages, one restaurant. Unreal. In the corner, there is also Chef Taylor Garrigan’s personal Cowboy Cauldron, which will be used for events, football and as a fire pit.
All in all, the new Home Team downtown location is a great space. They can easily accommodate large groups and it’s a fun space for a quick meal or a long night of cocktails and live music. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, the food!
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time to produce photographs and write this blog post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.