For almost 15 years, Tipsy’z has been elevating bar food into tavern cuisine. Owned and operated by Holly and Christine “Chris” Blair, Tipsy’z Tavern and Grill has become known for their mouth-watering menu, their diverse array of drinks, and their family friendly environment. Today, Tipsy’z is the perfect middle ground between dive bar and family dinner, an atmosphere Chris and Holly have worked hard to cultivate.
Looking back, it almost seems as if it were destiny that the couple would own a restaurant together. Raised in Greensboro, Chris has worked in restaurants for most of her life. Later after attending UNC Greensboro, Chris graduated with a degree in teaching.
“Holly and I actually opened Tipsy’z before I had a chance to use that degree,” laughs Chris (though she still uses her teaching skills to teach her staff at Tipsy’z).
It was while Chris was at UNCG that she first met Holly, who was Chris’ bartender at what was formerly Finley’s Bar in High Point. Born in Lexington, NC, Holly has a long family history of food service; her grandfather opened Smokey Joe’s Barbecue, award-winning BBQ restaurant in Lexington.
“She literally has restaurants in her blood,” remarks Chris of her wife.
The pair soon hit it off, and their relationship blossomed. As Chris and Holly met in a bar, it wasn’t long before they started taking the obvious next step: owning a bar of their own!
Christine and Holly Blair, Owners of Tipsy’z Tavern
Chris Blair creates culinary dishes on the Tipsy’z Tavern menu.
“Holly had been a bartender for many years, so she knew a lot of the bar crowd around central High Point,” recalls Chris. “We had already gotten a little bit of a following, so we figured we’d have support out of the gate.”
As the pair eventually set up shop on Westchester Drive, they soon found that as their relationship grew and changed, so too would Tipsy’z Bar.
“The locations had been host to a number of bars over the years and had a reputation as a biker bar,” explains Chris, “so initially, families weren’t really interested in coming in.”
But after the Blairs were married and became parents to twin boys, Holly and Chris had a new incentive to make their establishment accessible for all ages.
“Holly had always wanted to open a bar, but we never really thought about running a restaurant,” explains Chris. “Our location had been home to quite a few bars over the years, so it was really important that we redefined the building itself and made it a more family-friendly destination.”
Setting to work utilizing the building’s kitchen and initially putting together a small menu, while Holly was the expert bartender, Chris soon took it upon herself to expand their food options and gain as many culinary skills as she possibly could.
“I didn’t even know how to dice tomatoes when we opened,” laughs Chris. “At that point, Holly and I mainly focused our efforts on front of house; that was where our experience was. But over time, I just did my best to learn all that I could. I probably have hundreds of cookbooks at this point.”
Diving head first into elevating Tipsy’z food, Chris came to develop the Tipsy’z menu into what it is today. Offering such adventurous meals as the Stuffed Gouda Burger and their Shrimp BLT, Tipsy’z food is a loving expression of Chris’ passion for cooking.
“The menu is pretty much all my own creations,” says Chris. “I love it; I just learned all that I could from everywhere and just kind of ran with it. I’m always looking for opportunities to make myself better and to make our dishes better.”
Holly Blair cooks in the back of the Tipsy’z Tavern kitchen.
Alongside Chris’ exciting and expanding menu, Holly takes the lead on Tipsy’z wonderfully over the top desserts. Their rotating selection includes treats like their Death By Chocolate Oreo Cake and Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake.
“The desserts are Holly’s baby,” says Chris. “She’s a great leader as well. We’re both constantly trying to improve, which is what I think has kept us in business. We keep looking for ways to stay fresh in the restaurant scene.”
As so much of their business has become family-driven, Tipsy’z environment feels less like a restaurant and more like a family meal: warm, welcoming, and with plenty of good food! Outside of the Tipsy’z menu, Chris and Holly are constantly engaged with their customers. Unlike most restaurants, servers at Tipsy’z aren’t assigned to specific sections. Instead, servers may wait on tables across the restaurant, mingling and mixing with different customers.
“Everybody that comes in knows other people in the restaurant, and they always get up and mingle throughout their visit,” says Chris. “It’s a cliche, but it really is a ‘Cheers’ type of place.”
As Tipsy’z has grown into something far more homey and welcoming than the average bar and grill, Chris and Holly are grateful for the ways that High Point’s community has supported their business and their family. With Tipsy’z popularity and profile as a business growing, Chris and Holly are striving to keep Tipsy’z as local as possible. The Blairs have even started a small farm to source Tipsy’z. Given their story, Chris and Holly work to be a local example of the importance of keeping family a priority.
“You can have a career and still be involved in your kids’ and family’s lives,” says Chris. “With our boys, it’s giving us the opportunity to teach them a work ethic and to take a little bit of a step back from the restaurant.”
With Chris and Holly having settled into their family life, it only makes sense that Tipsy’z has followed along with them, and they are overjoyed that they can share that feeling of kinship with the High Point community.
“One of the families we know from church brought their eight year old daughter to Tipsy’z,” smiles Chris, remembering the day years ago now that the eight-year-old girl was in a car seat. “She was sitting in a booster seat at one of the bar top tables. We were the first restaurant she had ever gone to. It’s a cool reminder that people are growing up with Tipsy’z, and it really makes my heart feel good to know that.”
It’s a cool reminder that people are growing up with Tipsy’z, and it really makes my heart feel good to know that.”