Shug’s Low Country Cuisine fills a void in downtown Boulder for those who love Southern food. Sure, there’s the incomparable Lucile’s Creole Cafe, but it serves only breakfast and lunch, plus it’s small and the lines often spill onto the sidewalk. Last summer, Shug’s took over the space on the next block vacated by the b.Side Lounge, which was better known as a music venue and late-night spot than for its food — mainly small plates that serves as foils for the cocktails.
When Shug’s opened in early summer, I figured that an establishment whose last name is “Cusine” rather than “Lounge” would be more about food — and I’d heard that their fried chicken was one of the best in town. It has been on the to-try list for a while before my husband and I finally ambled in on a recent weeknight. Shug’s decor is simple and a bit old-fashioned. The comfort decor of tables simply set with white cloths and flower vases add a homey, from-the-garden touch. Large black-and-white images of Southern scenes hang on the walls and also fit so well with classic Southern cooking. A few folks were at the bar and a few tables were occupied, so we happily took what seemed like the best table in the place, a small one tucked in an alcove next to the front window.
Here’s the cautionary note from our experience. A party of four was at the next table, and it wasn’t until we working on a glass of wine, a draft beer and a basket of bread with our meal on the way that the assult our ears began. There was blaring speaker right over our neighbor’s table, which made them talk loudly. Then the music started in the back room, called The Shack at Shug’s, but no one bothered turning the speakers off. Result: our neighbors kicked up their volume. I noted the dueling music on the comment card, and mentioned it to the waitress as well. Much to Shug’s credit, out of the kitchen came someone seemingly in charge with an apology. He didn’t introduce himself, but I see from the website that it was owner/chef Sean Shelby. It’s always a good sign when a complaint or problem doesn’t stop with the waitstaff. The food was good and very reasonably priced, and we already knew we’d return for that. but we’ll be more likely to return thereafter if the conflicting music issue has been resolved.