Craig Conover and Austen Kroll’s Bar: Everything You Need To Know

Craig Conover Austen Kroll
Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Craig Conover and Austen Kroll aren’t reinventing the wheel when it comes to opening their own bar. But Bravo fans are here for it. These two were the best of buddies when Austen made his debut in 2017. Since then, the two have formed quite a bromance. Over the seasons, they have stood up for one another and been at each other’s throats. But like most brother situations, they have almost always brought out the best in one another. One thing is for sure: both know how to have a good time. 

Craig and Austen are like fish and chips, salt and vinegar, peanut butter and jelly; they go together perfectly. Their shared love for a good night out, women, and a social landscape has never gone unnoticed. So why not take a crazy chance and open up a local drink house together? What could possibly go wrong? 

By the Way

The duo announced in January that they would open a neighborhood tavern called By the Way in Charleston. The venture via Bravo is a joint collaboration with Uptown Hospitality Group, a Charleston-based company that is the brain behind some of the city’s most popular eateries. The interior is said to be decorated by the New York City firm Home Studios. According to By the Way’s website, the bar is set to open this summer. However, a comment by the account noted there was a delay and that it would now open in the fall. 

After demolition day on February 8th, the official Instagram posted a significant update just two weeks ago, showing Austen and Craig standing outside the front doors. Construction has been ongoing, and the account states, “We will be a place for all guests, no matter what time of day! Incredible cocktails, delicious bites, and plates created by Chef Marcus Shell, and the very best local entertainment. The PERFECT neighborhood den.”

Why a bar?

Austen Kroll
Photo Credit: Paul Cheney/Bravo

Craig spoke with Entertainment Tonight, sharing, “Charleston has grown so much in the last few years and brought in a lot of travelers, so we wanted to create a space where locals and travelers could hang out together and enjoy the neighborhood.” Craigy noted, “It’s going to be a really intimate space. We put a lot of thought into the design to try and make it as warm and inviting as possible.”

Craig added, “We’re leaning into the local, upscale, tavern vibes, so the menu is going to have elevated bar fare and approachable cocktails.”

Where is By the Way?

Craig Conover
Photo Credit: Clifton Prescod/Bravo

According to What Now Charleston, By the Way is located at 45 1/2 Spring St. and has already been dubbed the “neighborhood den” by locals. By the Way’s menus haven’t been fully released, but the owners said they will host Charleston’s most talented musicians and serve elevated pub fare and approachable cocktails. A recent Instagram post from April shared that “there will be no shortage of dancing, duck or deviled eggs!” Photos revealed a few menu items, such as “Nduja deviled Eggs with Red Clay hot sauce chili crisp.” There was also a Duck confit sandwich with cranberry duck jelly, arugula, and goat cheese on ciabatta. This might be giving the ladies at Something About Her a run for their money. 

Already partners in crime 

Austen and Craig are already business partners. They share a successful podcast, Pillows and Beer, and are also investors in New York City eatery Carriage House. The polished but not pretentious restaurant in the Big Apple was their first venture into the food and drink business, with By the Way being their second. 

Craig and Austen are both familiar with the hospitality world thanks to their separate ventures, Trop Hop and Spritz Society. Both have a mindset for business and will know how to entertain the hordes of Bravo fans that inevitably show up to cheers to their success.