It may have once been a storage unit housing Park Road Shopping Center’s Christmas decorations, but the space at the back of the busy Charlotte landmark is about to be home to the late-night spot everyone will be clamoring to get into this summer. The long-awaited speakeasy Dot Dot Dot is set to open early next month, and we’ve got your guide on what to expect, how to get in, and why you may get in trouble for using your cell phone inside.

With just 82 seats, owner Stefan Huebner expects there to be a wait every Friday and Saturday night, and that’s just the way he wants it. That’s because Dot Dot Dot is designed to be intimate. “Yes, intimate is the word I’d like to be used to describe us. It’s intimate,” he says.

Stefan promises a unique experience at the prohibition-style bar where they’ll offer 11 house cocktails (with names like Strawberry Fizz, Truffle New York Sour and the Final Countdown), another 11 classic cocktails (think Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule and Manhattan), another 72 off-menu drinks and plenty of wine and champagne.

“It’s going to be really hard to get a seat in here at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night,” he speculates.

The Modern Royalty: Irish whiskey, Calvados, lemon, raspberry puree, whole egg and cinnamon

The Modern Royalty: Irish whiskey, Calvados, lemon, raspberry puree, whole egg and cinnamon

SB TIP: Dot Dot Dot won’t be taking reservations, but they will be using the No Wait app. They’ll have someone outside handling the door and a hostess inside handling seating. But you won’t get in without a membership card. That will cost you $10 a year. You can sign up ahead of time here, or you can sign up at the door.

Once you’re in, be warned, there are 12 “House Rules” you’ll have to follow, including “Mind the bartenders, don’t be a jerk, and if your drink isn’t strong enough, order a double.” The rules also suggest an “inside voice,” pointing out this is not a sports bar, and customers can “step outside” to make or take a phone call.

Cervantes Mad Man: Don Q light rum, Dry Curacao, lime, elderflower and jalapeno

Cervantes Mad Man: Don Q light rum, Dry Curacao, lime, elderflower and jalapeno

“There are no TVs here. The idea is that we want people talking to each other. We’re trying to bring back the art of conversation. This is not the place for a bachelorette party. This is where you bring a date or three of your best girlfriends,” Stefan says.

While he describes the décor as being Art Deco with a Mad Men feel, he is quick to say it doesn’t feel like a man’s club. They hired a decorator to be sure. “It is way prettier than I ever thought it could be,” he says laughing, pointing out it feels like an old cocktail bar with dark hardwoods, and a lot of copper and bronze.

Stefan has been around Charlotte bars for decades and left Heist Brewery in Noda to open Dot Dot Dot. He and his business partner, Conrad Hunter, have been talking about working together for years.

Stefan and Conrad go way back. We’re talking way, way back. “I met him 21 years ago when I first moved to Charlotte,” Stefan explains. My band was doing pretty well, and he owned a recording studio that we used.”

Conrad (left) and Stefan have been wanting to work together for years.

Conrad Hunter (left) and Stefan Huebner met 21 years ago and have been wanting to open this concept for years. The wait is almost over!

Conrad, an eighth-generation native Charlottean, recognized the way people made music was changing and recording studios would soon be outdated. At the same time he had fallen in love with wine and started taking trips to France and Italy to truly get educated in the field. Eventually Conrad opened Foxcroft Wine Co. in Southpark. One of the first — and still one of the most popular — true wine bars in Charlotte, Foxcroft now has a second location, which Conrad opened in Dilworth last year. It immediately saw big success, enough so that he was ready to try this new concept with his old buddy.

“We’d been talking about it for years, and then he left me a message at 3:30 in the morning and said we should do this cocktail concept we’ve been talking about,” Stefan recalls.

The two signed a lease last December for what most thought seemed like an unlikely spot. “It was a storage unit. It had never been leased before, but I walked in the door and said this is it. It fit the concept we were going for,” says Stefan.

Beef steak tartare with quail egg and cornichons and capers is just one item on a menu that includes everything from oysters to octopus.

Beef steak tartare with quail egg and cornichons and capers is just one item on a menu that includes everything from oysters to octopus.

Because it had never before been used to do anything but store Christmas wreaths, the duo had to start from scratch, getting plumbing and air conditioning installed. And while they’ve been busy, they’ve seen other eateries also get ready to open. Midwood Smokehouse opened last month, Amelie’s is getting ready to open, and Rock Salt is already there. The restaurant and bars have completely transformed what was long known as the sleepy side of the shopping center.

Stefan says all the action is good and expects the different places to feed off of each other.

“High tide raises all ships. I think everybody will bounce off of each other,” he says. “When we’re on a wait, we’ll send people to one of the other bars.”

He expects that wait will happen as soon as they open — and fingers crossed that should happen by the first week of July. They’ll be open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., so be prepared to put your phone on vibrate and actually talk to your friends at the newest nightspot in town.

Dot Dot Dot is located at 4237 Unit B Park Road (Park Road Shopping Center – Backlot), Charlotte, NC 28209. Learn more at (704) 817-3710 or dotdotdotcharlotte.com.

Thanks to James Fedele Photography for today’s photos.

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