There will be daily happy hours at the bar, which will be open until 2am and Friday and Saturday.
The upstairs is available for special events. Check out the dance floor!
Calypso, the new Caribbean restaurant, cafe, and bakery that opened last week, probably has the most secure wine cellar in Charlottesville— the vault left behind by a bank that previously occupied their building at 1709 Emmet Street, right next to Raising Cane's. It was one of two huge vaults (one was taken away for the scrap metal) in the building, which was most recently a Century 21 office, when Mike Taft, a general contractor, and his wife Ghizlaine, who owns a preschool, bought the structure and began renovations last July.
Today, withdrawals at the drive-thru window consist of gourmet coffee and breakfast items, while inside you'll find a full-service restaurant serving traditional Jamaican and Salvadoran cuisine and home-made pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, courtesy of co-owner and chef Dawn Gonsalves.
Gonsalves, who owned a bakery in Lexington called Sweet Treats, says the food will be authentic from the region, which has many influences.
"The Caribbean is a melting pot," says Gonsalves, whose mother owned a restaurant in St. Catherine, Jamaica. "There are people from everywhere."
For instance, the raisins for their ice cream are soaked in rum. In addition to curry and jerk, they'll have fried cassava (a Caribbean french fry dish), Aruba-style steak, grouper and shrimp in coconut sauce, fried plantains, and a Jamaican specialty known as "mini patties," which are spicy beef- or vegetable-filled pastries.
"And we'll have the spicy sauce ready for those who want to kick it up," say Gonsalves with a sly grin.
The Tafts have also renovated the light-filled second floor of the building, which has a second bar, a dance floor, and is available for private events. Downstairs, there's a main dining room, a lunch and breakfast nook, and a full-service bar open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.
They also plan to have daily happy hour specials, karaoke on Thursday nights, and jazz on Friday and Saturday nights.
"When you enter Calypso, you're going to feel like you're stepping into the Caribbean," says Ghizlaine.