Jul 5, 2021 - Food and Drink

Big Ben Pub now open in former Carpe Diem space

Big Ben Pub mural, Claire Cordelia, Charlotte FC, soccer

Big Ben Pub mural by Claire Cordelia. Paige Hopkins/Axios

After being closed since March, the English pub is now open in the former Carpe Diem space, just in time for the Euro final.

Why it matters: For 11 years Big Ben has been a hub for soccer fans in Charlotte. Now, it’s moving during an exciting time locally for the sport. Charlotte FC, the city’s MLS team, starts playing next year.

What to expect: Food and drink offerings in the new space will mostly remain the same, with a few new items.

  • Most new menu items will center around quarterly themes highlighting different cuisines from around the world.
  • Because the space, including the kitchen, is about twice the size of the last location, owner Neel Gandhi says there’s more room to try new things.

Expect live music, bingo and trivia nights, and lots of live sports in the new location as well.

Note: Gandhi says his former kitchen staff, along with some other staff members, will come back to work in the new space, but similar to other restaurants they’re hiring to fill multiple open positions.

Big Ben Pub, Claire Cordelia, Charlotte FC, soccer
Big Ben Pub’s under-construction exterior. Paige Hopkins/Axios

The space has been completely transformed. You’ll find the signature telephone booths both inside and outside, plus new countertops, woodwork and custom-made booths.

  • Local artist Claire Cordelia painted a Big Ben bell tower mural in the pub’s signature blue and red colors.
  • Large garage doors have been added at the front to create an indoor/outdoor feel.
  • Gandhi added a second bar at the back of the restaurant that will focus on specialty cocktails and private events.

What he says: As a small business owner Gandhi says he was intentional about using other small businesses for the renovation, including Tenon & Tailored and NoDa Painting Company.

“We’re definitely excited,” Gandhi tells me of moving to a new neighborhood near the trolley line. “I think Elizabeth needs something like a Big Ben, more of a neighborhood pub.”

Flashback: Formerly located in Atherton Mill, Big Ben’s move to the former Carpe Diem space came after the announcement that the Atlanta restaurant Bocado would open in the pub’s former location at Atherton Mill.

  • Carpe Diem closed its doors last summer after more than 30 years in business. The restaurant’s owners, sisters Bonnie Warford and Tricia Maddrey, decided not to renew their lease because of the financial pressures of the pandemic.

Exact address: 1535 Elizabeth Ave.

Big Ben phone booth
Big Ben phone booth. Paige Hopkins/Axios
Big Ben phone Big Ben's new indoor/outdoor garage doorsbooth
Big Ben’s new indoor/outdoor garage doors
Big Ben Pub mural, Claire Cordelia, Charlotte FC, soccer
Big Ben’s main bar. Paige Hopkins/Axios
Former Carpe Diem interior
Former Carpe Diem interior. Courtesy of Neel Gandhi
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