"The Thoroughbred Club celebrates the rich
racing tradition of the area." - Chris
Food & Beverage Manager, Thoroughbred Club.
Our second Cocktail Hour is with an Englishman in Charleston. Chris Baggett oversees the Thoroughbred Club for Belmond Charleston Place. The hotel exudes equestrian spirit, greeting you with four magnificent bronze horses at the entrance. The Thoroughbred Club serves as the lobby bar; classic piano, fireplace and horse racing memorabilia transport you to a different place and time.
Chris has been in the hospitality industry for close to two decades. From designing menus to cocktail creations, he maintains an ambiance full of Southern elegance and refinement. We were excited to hear what Chris had to say about this old-world Charleston institution.
Tell us how the concept of Thoroughbred Club came about?
The oldest jockey club in the United States was started in Charleston in 1734. The Thoroughbred Club celebrates the rich racing tradition of the area.
Three words to describe the experience at Thoroughbred Club:
Lively, classic, upscale.
What makes Thoroughbred Club special?
Our tenured staff welcome visitors and locals alike night after night and often by name. Our unique cocktails combined with our city center location make the Thoroughbred Club special.
Equestrian style accents can be found in tufted leather sofas and surrounding images of racehorses.
How is the equestrian spirit integrated throughout the establishment?
From cocktails, like The Infield, to the rich wood panelled walls and décor, the equestrian spirit is visible from the moment of arrival. On top of that, locals don their finest hats and look forward to our annual Kentucky Derby party each May.
What inspires your cocktail menu?
Our menu plays off classic cocktails using innovative ingredients. We take traditional cocktails, like Old Fashioned and Mint Julep, and kick them up a notch with flavors and notes that pay homage to Charleston's temperate climate.
Can you tell us more about your food menu?
The food menu includes tapas, food that’s meant to be shared and enjoyed with others. Most of the dishes are also inspired by our sister properties’ global locations.
What would you say your style of hospitality is?
Southern, genuine and pampered.
The interior reflects both the exceptional standards of Belmond and Charleston's old world charm.
What has been your most popular cocktail for guests?
The Infield, it’s light and refreshing in our Charleston climate.
There is a resurgence in classic cocktails. What are your thoughts on New versus Classic?
We have always balanced new versus old at the Thoroughbred Club. They are classics for a reason.
What are your plans for Thoroughbred Club in the coming year?
We are looking forward to welcoming back our locals and increasing our music schedule. We are looking ahead to the new normal.
Cocktail Hour: can you share a cocktail creation that’ll have us moving our hips?
Cucumber, 1/4, sliced
1.5 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Muddle mint, basil and cucumber. Combine Effen Cucumber vodka with lime juice and simple syrup. Top with ginger beer and pour into a collins glass. Add a cucumber and mint garnish.
Images courtesy of Belmond Charleston Place.