After a long day at Folly Beach, I approached Jack of Cups looking for a casual place to cool down. Like your best friend’s high school basement, Jack of Cups Saloon is cool, dark and a little mysterious. Hints of the supernatural present themselves all around and the bar itself is lacquered in tarot cards. There are about 10 seats at the bar, a couple of small tables as well as picnic benches out front. One very talented bartender runs the show.
Classified by some as a wine bar, the wine list is short, but does not disappoint. Unlike many other local bars, where the house wine is the cheapest magnum of turpentine around, the red and white house wines were carefully selected by the staff who sampled several before choosing. At $4 a glass, the price is more than fair. There are about 10 other unique wines by the glass and bottle at modest prices. For the craft beer lover, there is a large menu and for the true beer Spartan, High Life Ponies can be had for $1 every other Monday. Also available are specialty cocktails made from Carolina Clear, created using fresh fruits and herbs.
The food truly shines at Jack of Cups. From the chalkboard menu, to presentation using traditional Indian tableware, to phenomenal taste, my experience was a delight.
All dishes on the small chalkboard menu are $6 and marked with stars signifying the spiciness level. Choosing was difficult, but I finally decided on the red curry mac and cheese and the curried black bean nachos. The mac was good, with a distinct resemblance to the red curry noodle soup available at Taste of Thai. The flavor was a perfect blend of sweet heat and coconut cream. I couldn’t discern much in the way of cheese, but that did not bother me in the least.
The portion was modest and I would have enjoyed a few more bites. The nachos, however, changed my world for the better. Perish the thought of stale bagged yellow corn chips doused in synthetic cheese polymer and embrace this exceptional redefinition of nachos. The dish is perfectly composed of fresh, fried flour tortilla chips surrounding a mound of curried black beans topped with cooling sour cream, fresh salsa and a sprinkle of cilantro. It will be difficult to branch out and order anything else on my next visit because this is such a perfect dish.
Over the course of the evening, the bar filled in, not for drinks, but understandably for food. The service was friendly. The live music that started as I was leaving was a nice touch. Overall, Jack of Cups is a perfect end to a beach day or well worth a trip to Folly in its own right. Jack of Cups Saloon is located at 34 Center St, Folly Beach.