April 6, 2024
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Ritual Rooftop is now open with Tulum theme in downtown Charleston

Matthew Kenner and Madison Donnan met at Milk Bar in Raleigh. It’s one of the many bars Kenner owns and operates in the Carolinas. There’s also Dogwood, Whiskey Rose and Hive Nightclub, among other current and upcoming ventures.

Ritual, located on a rooftop at the old Carolina Ale House location on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston, is the first Tulum, Mexico-themed operation. And it’s a place where Donnan got to apply her interior decorating touch.

Ritual Rooftop is now open with Tulum theme in downtown Charleston

Inspired by many a birthday and anniversary trip the couple had been on together to Tulum, Donnan used neutral tones and textures throughout and let natural elements shine, from woven wicker furniture to wispy beige pampas grass. Green plants thrive amid the relaxing oasis.

“In Tulum, everything is made with nature and blends in with nature,” said Donnan. “At a lot of restaurants, there are trees in the middle of a table or right next to you. There’s this idea of you don’t want to chop down the tree for the table; you want to make the table fit around the tree.”

That was part of her inspiration. As for the food and drinks, those are influenced by both Tulum and Charleston cuisines, with a range from Spanish tapas to fresh seafood.

You can start with guacamole and chips or crispy Brussels sprouts and work your way toward a braised beef empanada, Yucatan wings, shrimp and scallop ceviche, a whole fish or tequila mussels.

Pair with cocktails inspired by Donnan and Kenner’s Tulum favorites, like the Tepache Betty, El Jefe Caliente, Cenote Milk Punch and Mezcalita.

Ritual Rooftop is now open with Tulum theme in downtown Charleston

Brunch has also been a popular addition. Donnan said the restaurant has teamed up with their downstairs neighbor, Hero’s Doughnuts & Buns, for fried chicken and pepper jelly sandwiches in doughnut buns.

While a DJ spins some EDM and house beats on the outdoor terrace, mimosas and bloody mary’s are served alongside cinnamon rolls, deviled eggs, huevos Tulum, and grilled shrimp and avocado toast.

“We want to create a vibe where daytime goes into nighttime,” said Donnan.

Hence DJs that start before the sun goes down and are still creating a party atmosphere when the stars come out. Events are also big, like an ABBA-themed party that catered to bachelorette groups, and upcoming February matchmaking table swaps and Galentine’s Day celebrations.

Ritual Rooftop is now open with Tulum theme in downtown Charleston

Ritual has partnered with Jibe Cycling to bring 40 stationery bikes onto the terrace; there are goals to host more yoga, dance and trampoline classes. The Drip Lounge has administered “hangover IVs” on the rooftop.

“I love getting new ideas and working with local businesses,” said Donnan, who works in marketing in addition to design.

Ritual, located at 145 Calhoun St., is open 4 p.m. to around midnight Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Thursday, 12 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to around midnight on Sunday.

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