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Twisted Cork. COCKTAIL & WINE BAR And Island Classic, with a Twist BY BARRY KAUFMAN • PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

There’s an old saying we’ve all heard at one point or another: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And the thing about the former Corks Wine Bar in Hilton Head Island’s Island Crossing Center, it wasn’t broke. Its rustically sophisticated interior, complex wine list and upscale-yet-chilled out vibe earned it a spot among the island’s premier hotspots, and rightfully so. So when Melissa Roy took over the location, she didn’t “fix” anything. Instead, what she did might inspire a new saying: if it ain’t broke, give it a twist. What she has created at Twisted Cork Wine Bar takes everything that made Corks great and puts a new shine on almost every aspect of the place. New menu items add depth and complexity to the offerings, creating even more pairings for the famed wine collection. New weekly events have given islanders even more reason to make it a night out. And then, of course, there is the cocktail selection. Because if Corks was an island institution with a dedicated and 16

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loyal following, the same could be said for Roy herself. An island resident for 12 years, she has amassed a huge fanbase as a bartender through her years behind the taps at places like CharBar and Up The Creek Pub. That fanbase helped propel her to not just one, but two “Favorite Bartender” awards back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. So with that under her belt – the first step in launching Twisted Cork was to keep it simple. “I didn’t really have to change much, which is great,” she said, noting that all she’s really done is update some paint here and there to brighten the main space at Corks. The sophisticated-yetrustic motif of the main room, with its rich brick walls, dark woods and polished granite bar, jives nicely with the ambience that Roy has created at Twisted Cork. You’ll still find the same eye-catching center rebar-and-granite sidebar. You’ll still find the same upscale atmosphere, but you’ll also find little surprises here

and there in which Roy has put her signature on the place. “You can come in and have a glass of wine, or you can have 10 people in the back room – it’s a great spot,” she said, guiding a tour back into the surprisingly roomy private space tucked away neatly in a private corner of the bar. Beneath modern-yet-funky light fixtures that carry Twisted Cork’s trendy vibe, a massive table dominates a space that offers an intimate space for larger parties (as well as its own private bar for the full VIP experience). “We can sit 20 comfortably in here,” she said. “We’ve had everything from baby showers to Christmas parties.” Just outside its doors is a secluded corner where a circle of armchairs present the perfect tucked-away spot for friends to enjoy a few glasses of wine and a few hours of each others’ company in relative seclusion. “Wine brings people together, in a way,” Roy said. “You can sit here with a bottle of wine for hours… it’s funny, the

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