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Sneak Is a New Meet-Cute Cocktail Lounge in Elizabeth

The "speakeasy" that's easy to find

a portrait of the outdoor front patio of Sneak
The outdoor patio of Sneak, a new cocktail lounge located in Elizabeth. (Photo by Aerin Spurill)

Tucked in the back of the Pecan Point shopping center at the corner of East 7th Street and Pecan Avenue in Elizabeth, next to longtime tenant Bang Bang Burgers, now stands a new kid on the block.

What started as a deli bar concept, according to co-owner Jamil Whitlow, evolved into a high-energy, speakeasy-style lounge smartly dubbed Sneak. 

Sneaky link (noun): A discreet invitation to meet up, often for romantic or intimate purposes, sent via text message or social media. There, now you (nor my editor) will have to Google it. 

Whitlow, a veteran of the spirits industry, has over a decade of experience under his belt. He stands on business, poised to finally break the curse that has plagued that particular corner of Pecan Point for years.

“Cruella! Where‘s ya puppies?” Whitlow asked, playfully referencing my current marble cake-inspired hairstyle as he greeted me at the entrance of Sneak during its soft opening. 

His jovial spirit and buoyant gait painted quite the juxtaposition to the man sitting across from me two months prior — the fatigued business owner collecting his composure between hurried meals and media interviews, successfully concealing the chaos that is re-construction, permits, zoning and licenses. 

“We‘re not a speakeasy, we‘re a sneakeasy,” he explained. “A speakeasy is historically a hard place to find and if you do find [it], you gotta know someone that knows somebody to get there. Our place is not hard to find, but the concept itself is in the location off the beaten path that you‘re not anticipating for it to be.”

Read More: A Visit to Menya’s Omakase Speakeasy in Elizabeth

The parking lot was oddly full, and the revolving door triggered my anxiety that seating would be limited, but as fate would have it, two lone bar seats sat waiting for the boo and me. 

Before taking it all in, we ordered drinks. For me, Quick Trip to the City ($16) with Old Forester 86, sour, and egg white plus a red wine float. For Whitlow, Don‘t Shy Away ($16) —Teremana Reposado, Cointreau, spicy oleo, and carrot sour. Now I could turn my focus to the finished product: the interior design.

a photo of the interior layout and lounge area of Sneak
Sneak’s lounge area (Photo by Aerin Spurill)

Soft touches of vibrant wall treatments, gold accents and tasteful lighting contrast the masculine hues of brown leather and moody accents, creating a cozy destination that visually appeals to everyone and feels bigger than it is. 

Or, as Ryan Gosling‘s character aptly put it in Crazy, Stupid, Love, Sneak delivers the “perfect combination of sexy and cute.”

Ten minutes later, the standing room behind us was two patrons deep. My bitterness over the loss of neighborhood staples like OG Jackalope Jacks and Philosopher‘s Stone softened. I was, yet again, proven wrong that nightlifers couldn’t reimagine this particular intersection. 

The energy reminded me of a Grateful Dead lyric hastily etched onto a restroom stall. At Sneak, “Once in a while, you can get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right.”

A little over a month later, Sneak feels like more than just a home away from my watering hole; it‘s been an escape from the monotony of nightlife. The fact that I can ‘forget‘ I ordered a Philly cheesesteak from Jersey Mike‘s a few doors away at lunch while sipping a nonalcoholic cocktail serendipitously named the Sneaky Link — $13, with Lyre‘s Blanco, Seedlip agave, Lyre‘s orange sec, and Guajillo árbol agave — serves as a testament to Whitlow‘s unique ability to curate experiences that breathe life into stale spaces. 

What to expect

  • Bar bites, including fresh focaccia, snack mix and, if you really want to flex, D‘Artagnan caviar (for a Benjamin). But you can also order food from other local hot spots nearby. 
  • Aperitif or digestif, Sneak is there for both. They‘re open Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-midnight; Thursday-Friday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m.; and Sunday from 2 p.m-midnight. 
  • A full-service patio complete with sleek outdoor furniture and an herb garden.
  • Genuine respect for multi-category consumption with a solid offering of NA beer, wine and cocktails. 
a photo of two cocktails from new cocktail lounge in Charlotte
Craft cocktails from Sneak (Photo by Aerin Spurill)
  • A hyperfocus on supreme customer service — one that listens and adjusts. A team who‘s there to, for example, offer fresh fruits and veggie infusions for your water and pick up your local eats. 
  • Special events, including live music, red carpet viewings, and close-knit activations.
  • Seasoned bartenders executing seasonal menu changes.
  • Invigorating beats that won‘t overshadow conversation but will pave the way for playlists highlighting local DJs. 

With all the commercial development in Elizabeth, Sneak stands to become the elevated living room and cocktail lounge meet-cute that Elizabeth never knew it needed. 

P.S. When you find the throne in the hidden Room of Requirement, in all its golden opulence, let me know. 

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