After Ameer Patel and Patrick Bruce announced last year that they were going to open a restaurant (Leela’s) and bar (ABV Establishment) in the old Crown and Harp space on Lowest Greenville, they started raising funds on NextSeed. With incentives of free wine for life (read the fine print: it was capped at a meager one glass per day) and cocktail naming rights, depending on your level of investment, they exceeded their minimum goal of $150,000 and opened in May, a few months later than anticipated.
Leela’s, now billed as a wine bar, is a bright, tidy space ornamented with white brick, light wood, and more than 30 wines on tap. On a Friday night, a large group gathered in the patio space out front. Inside, couples at tables enjoyed wine and oyster tapas. The place was packed, so I hovered awkwardly near the bar to wait for my friends, until one texted me to head upstairs.
The second story—a separate but connected bar called ABV Establishment—is the opposite of Leela’s. It is low-lit and loud, with dark furniture and drawn curtains. When I asked the bartender for a cocktail recommendation, he gave me the dreaded “They’re all good” response. I raised an eyebrow. “No, it’s true,” he promised. “I made the menu!”
He told me he used to hang out here when it was the Crown and Harp and that it was interesting to work at his old stomping grounds. His nostalgia was cut short, though, when two cute girls in shorts sidled up to the bar, and he rushed to greet them.
I found my friends on a plush couch behind a statue of a horse’s head, sipping wine and ABV Smoked Old Fashioneds. I hadn’t seen them in a while, but the music was too loud to catch up. We decided to head back downstairs.
Fortunately, Leela’s had emptied out a bit, and we snagged a table. My friends agreed that going from a thumping speak-easy to a trendy tapas bar in just a flight of stairs was a fun novelty. We ordered a round of red wine and soaked up the relaxed atmosphere for a bit. It was nice to know, though, that we could head back up to the party once we got tired of talking.