Planned downtown cocktail bar receives permission to make patio upgrades

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 10, 2022

SALISBURY — A cocktail bar coming to downtown Salisbury will move forward with plans to upgrade its patio after receiving approval from the Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday night.

Samantha Haspel and Robert Ring are getting closer to opening the White Rabbit Cocktail Parlour and Wonderland Arcade Bar, two separate concepts under one roof in the former home of King Tut’s Hookah Lounge at 5 Easy St. The cocktail bar will have a 1920s theme and will also serve food, including tapas and desserts. The patio will be for the cocktail parlour specifically.

All of the changes made to the patio, Haspel said, will be as historical to the 1920s time period as possible.

The Historic Preservation Commission signed off on the business closing in two sides of the patio with temporary walls. The herringbone walls will feature large windows to maximize the amount of light filtering into the patio and will be installed to minimize disturbance to the building.

On the largest, front side of the patio, the plan is to add small “teaser panels” near the patio’s existing columns that will contain scissor gates. The scissor gates, which would ideally be painted gold, would be extended at night and during off hours to provide security and protect the patio furniture.

The commission also signed off on Haspel and Ring painting the back wall of the patio either black and white stripes or an Emerald green. Haspel and Ring intend to install two art deco pendant lights near the existing fans on the patio’s ceiling and a black wrought iron chandelier in the middle.

“We’re trying to create a very tranquil space under the patio,” Haspel said.

While the duo has been battling construction delays, they’re working to open the businesses as soon as possible.

“We are excited to bring something new to everybody,” Haspel said.

The Wonderland Arcade Bar hosted an open house during Wine About Winter several weeks ago to give people a peek.

New plant business permitted to add signage

Roots Plant Exchange, a new business coming to downtown Salisbury, received permission to place new signage above the storefront at 107 S. Main St. The business will specialize in house plants, fresh squeezed mimosas and wine slushies. Roots is aiming to be open by the end of August, according to the businesses’ Facebook page. The name of the store will be placed on new horizontal, wooden slats and illuminated with gooseneck light fixtures. The new sign will replace the old awning above the storefront currently.

In other meeting business:

• The city received approval to place a 16-foot metal light pole at the base of the Bell Tower to illuminate the mechanical lift that provides access to the small stage at the base of the tower. Nick Aceves, director of Parks and Recreation, said the light is required to be in place before the lift is approved by the state. Aceves said the light will only be on when it’s dark and will act as a spotlight on the lift.

• The bicycle sculpture titled “Two Wheeled Freedom” will remain outside of New Sarum Brewing in perpetuity after the commission approved its permanence. Although the sculpture was part of Salisbury’s 2021 sculpture show and was scheduled to be moved, the brewery decided to purchase the sculpture.

• Emily Vanek, a planner with the City of Salisbury, showed the commission a rendering of historical markers that will be placed on the street signs in the Ellis Street Graded School Historic District. Commission members were pleased with the signs and are excited about the possibility of having similar markers placed on street signs in other historic districts, such as Brooklyn South Square and West Square.

• Andrew Walker was re-elected chair of the commission and Ellie Goodnow was elected vice chair.

• The commission gave approval to Michael and Diane Young to install two awnings on the front facade of 126 E. Innes St. Hive & Co is located in the first floor storefront at the address and apartments are on the second floor.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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