Sean Muldoon and Jillian Vose to launch Hazel and Apple

05 April, 2022

A render of The Hazel

Sean Muldoon and Jillian Vose will open Hazel and Apple in Charleston, South Carolina, having left The Dead Rabbit in New York.

Initially earmarked for The Dead Rabbit’s expansion, the Charleston site will now be taken over by Muldoon and Vose in their first venture as a duo.

Opening in late 2022 or early 2023 on 549 King Street, Hazel and Apple straddles two rooms, an outside space and has a capacity of more than 300.

Its name, inspired by a WB Yeats poem, refers to its owners. “I wanted the name to be about the two people running the bar – Jillian and I - but didn’t want to call it Jill and Sean’s,” Muldoon tells Drinks International. “In Ireland the hazel represents wisdom and maturity – so me - and the apple is meant to represent vigour and youthfulness – Jillian.”

The front room (pictured above) of the venue is named The Hazel. “It will have space for about 120 people,” says Muldoon. “It’s taproom-esque – an Irish pub meets a diner." 

Through to the back is The Apple. “It’s is a cutting-edge cocktail bar," says Muldoon. "Outside there will be space for another 90. It’s a big bar – all in 270 seated and probably another 50 [standing].”

The décor will pick up on the theme, with hazel wood and green and red tones taking inspiration from apples.

For Vose the next step is to plan the drinks programme and start the search for chefs. Initially, she is thinking Irish/British fare but drawing on local ingredients, including seafood. “Being down here and focusing on the one venue, it’ll be great to focus on local producers and collaborations. We’re looking forward to getting open and having a solid programme – then we can look into special bottlings and things like that.”

The move represents a change of pace for Muldoon and Vose who move to Charleston to open the bar. “Jillian and I have been close for a number of years now and I really have confidence in her as a beverage director. To be able to get her on board as a full partner meant a lot me.”

A render of The Apple

Vose, who had been with Dead Rabbit for eight years, is ready for the move too. “I’ve been in New York for 12 years and in the industry for 19 years,” she says. “It’s getting to the point where I want to be more mindful of my work-life balance. This is the best outcome – New York is a grind. I went from Clover Club to opening Maison Premiere to opening a night club to running Death & Co to Dead Rabbit for eight years – that’s a lot.

“I’m pretty satisfied with my CV at this point and this is the next step for me. It’s a great city to be in because of the potential growth. I think we can prove that this is a great city for people to come down to and invest in.”

Muldoon agrees: “Charleston is a beach town – it’s beautiful. It doesn’t have the edginess of New York. When I walk the streets I feel lighter. It’s got a great food scene but could do with a couple of more bars to really bring the scene to life. We’re getting in at a really good time.”

But things will be different to Muldoon's entry into New York, when the Dead Rabbit founders made no secret of their ambitions. “We aren’t coming in all guns blazing. We want to fit in and respect the community. We’re going to familiarise ourselves with what people are eating and drinking.

“We’re going to see how Charleston goes. If there are opportunities to buy another place and do another concept in Charleston, we’d be into that, but it has to be local."

For more on Muldoon and Vose's departure from The Dead Rabbit, read here

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