The Royal Tot has the largest rum collection in Charlotte, and possibly the Southeast, with over 100 different expressions of rum and a collection of over 200 antique rum bottles. We caught up with beverage director Larry Suggs to learn more about the bar’s beverage program.
Talk to us about The Royal Tot.
Our space transports guests to another place and time through our tropical decor, island vibes, and custom design work. We feature an expansive list of tropical cocktails created using fresh and made-in-house ingredients and offer Hawaiian-inspired cuisine.
What kind of experience can guests expect when they visit?
We have two floors. Our downstairs features an amazing square bar that is viewable from any seat in the room, so even if you’re not sitting at the bar, you are still very much a part of the action. The upstairs bar includes an expansive patio with one of the best skyline views in the city and a cozy indoor bar with a huge picture window to view the urban skyline. That room is perfect for private events, including our Rum Club tastings and social gatherings.
Tell us about the cocktail program.
We produce almost all our cocktail ingredients in house. We’ve spent countless hours perfecting recipes for important components like orgeat, falernum and gardenia mix, which we feel elevates the flavor of our drinks compared to using mass produced mixers (which are often found in tiki drinks). On our main floor we feature over two dozen cocktails ranging from your favorites classics like the Mai Tai and Painkiller to house specialties available only at The Royal Tot. Our rooftop bar (which we’ve dubbed the “Bird’s Nest”) features a menu of modern tropical cocktails and classic combos like the Wray & Ting, perfect for sipping while watching the sunset on the Charlotte skyline.
What inspires the drinks on the menu?
Our cocktail list was inspired by a love for tropical cocktails created by those before us. People like Trader Vic, Donn the Beachcomber and Beachbum Berry. While we put our own touch on everything by producing our own mixers, we wanted to respect the classic recipes to entice the longtime tiki lover and those new to the concept of tropical cocktails.
What does it take to run a successful bar program nowadays?
You must be very nimble and willing to adjust on the fly. With everything from supply chain issues to staff outages, every day provides a new challenge. It’s all about executing to the best of your ability based on all the challenges present.
What are some trends happening now in the industry that are important to know?
We believe rum is going to be the next big thing–not the sweet and flavored rums you may have tried in college but sipping rums. We’ve already seen great growth in the global market and with the way whiskey is getting harder and harder to come by around here, I see more and more people starting to find some of the amazing, aged rums that have been somewhat overlooked over the years. We’re banking on that at The Royal Tot. We have the largest rum collection in Charlotte, and possibly the Southeast, with over 100 different expressions of rum and a collection of over 200 antique rum bottles.