• 1001 Washington Street Columbia, SC 29201
  • (803) 708-8004

The Aristocrat :: About Us

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Our Story

The Aristocrat is a gastropub inspired by our southern heritage, love for fine wine, craft cocktails, and engaging dishes. We strive to connect the time-honored tradition of wining and dining with modern ingredients and innovative recipes. The menu will have a southern accent and delivered with exceptional service in a comfortable and casual gathering pocket. This is all delivered through the vision of our executive chef, Alex Mendez and our General Manager Mason Crowson.

We feature classic cocktails and a robust wine list created by our beverage team that includes a sommelier and a certified specialist of spirits. We have approachable and engaging menus that offer competitive pricing.

The Aristocrat also offers private event space available for groups up to 50 people. The Aristocrat is a collaboration between Alex Mendez and Mason Crowson of Shelly Properties LLC. Alex and Mason have worked together for many years at wineries and other varying establishments. Chef Alex has made a name for himself working throughout the state of Texas by being creative with ingredients and presentation on a multitude of levels. Mason is a native of Bryan Texas and has operated restaurants with legendary restaurateurs like Chuck Chriswell and Bill Greenwood.

our team

We take pride in our service. Our AWESOME team below is here to serve you!!!!

Mason Crowson

Mason Crowson discovered his passion for fine dining and hospitality at a very young age.  After various positions in the food industry, he began working as a server at Christopher’s World Grille when he was 18. There, he was first introduced to artisanal food, fine wines and the art of providing exceptional service. While working at Downtown Uncorked, Crowson put his energy into studying wine and spirits. These efforts resulted in the acquisition of nationally recognized wine certification, including one from the Court of Master Sommeliers. With his experience behind the bar, wine knowledge, and natural leadership skills, he furthered his career as the Hospitality Manager at Messina Hof Winery and Resort, where he was responsible for overseeing both the restaurant and the bar.

As a sommelier and a self-proclaimed hobbyist, Crowson can often be found spending his free time tinkering with paintbrushes, power tools, or chess pieces, glass of wine in-hand.

Alex Mendex

Alex Mendez began his culinary experience at a young age by helping his father cook dinner each night for his mom when she got off work. At the age of 20, Alex moved to Houston, Texas, to attend The Art Institute of Houston for Culinary Arts. While in school, Chef worked as an interior designer, where he gained an appreciation for the power of art and first impressions. Alex applies this experience to each dish through creative flavors and innovation presentation.

Brandon Bounds

As a native Texan, Brandon Bounds grew up surrounded by the love and nurturing that goes into true southern cooking. Brandon began cooking while in high school where he participated in a culinary program that built the foundation of what he knows today. After graduating, he decided to pursue the hospitality industry and landed himself a position at Messina Hof Winery and Resort. His time at the Vintage House Restaurant exposed Mr. Bounds to what persists to drive him today: the joy of somebody enjoying his food. From there, Brandon came to Columbia and looks forward to continuing his journey. At just 22 years old, Brandon's bread and pastries have already created a legacy that follows him.