After a year in the making, Uptown hangout Chelsea Corner is open for business. This is the bar that originally debuted in 1974, and for decades stuck it through Uptown thick and thin. It changed hands, and it changed names — most recently, it was known as Corner Bar before closing in 2015.
In 2016, a team of hospitality veterans decided to revive the old neighborhood watering hole, and executed a ground-up renovation. Which is to say, a renovation from floor-to-ceiling, not one where they ground up the building. Which is at 4830 McKinney Ave., at the corner of Monticello Avenue.
The team includes Len Critcher, owner of Inwood Tavern, with friend and investor Chris Camillo, both of whom used to work at Chelsea Corner during their college days at SMU in the '90s. So much nostalgia. When the opportunity to renew the space presented itself, they jumped on it, restoring the building and the name.
Critcher approached Tracy Rathbun, co-owner of Shinsei, and her husband, whom a release calls "the chef with no name." But we all know who Tracy's husband is, right? The team then created a neighborhood restaurant and bar that keeps things casual but with food, drinks, and service aimed to please discerning diners.
The menu is fresh and approachable, with pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, fish and chips, and charcuterie boards. The bar has 16 beers on tap, local craft beers, 40 bottled beers, and a wine list, plus specialty cocktails and a large selection of scotch and American whiskeys.
The 4,500-square-foot space can host 180 people for seated dinners, with plenty more room at the bar. There's a game room, as there once was at the original, and large garage doors that open to a climate-controlled patio. Wednesday through Saturday nights, the bar will feature rotating DJs with a sound system that rivals New York City night clubs. For sports fans, there are 15 HDTVs.
Chelsea Corner opens at 4 pm Monday-Thursday, and 11 am Friday-Sunday. The kitchen closes at 10 pm, but the bar's open until 2 am each night.