#CLTNIGHTLIFE Blog 334 Posts

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May 16, 2019

Uptown places you keep meaning to become a "regular" at

Posted by Katie Vaas • Nightlife Reviews

You know those places.  The ones that have been around forever, you might pass them on the regular going to and from your normal grind, and each time you do, you say to yourself, “Man, I need to get back there.”  Then, once you do remember to get back there, you’re standing at the bar and say to yourself, “Yup, this is the moment I start to become a regular here.” You are having the absolutely best time, drinks are flowing, music is jamming and you are just vibing with the people and the place.  All of a sudden, the next time you get there, it has been over a year since you vowed to yourself to become a regular.

For those of your racking your brains, because you know the exact places I am referring to, but just cannot seem to remember them, search no further!  Today, I am happy to remind you of ten of those spots in and on the cusp of Uptown!

  • French Quarter – Servicing Charlotte for over 25 years, this restaurant/bar serves comfort food with a Cajun twist, along with outstanding drinks!

  • Courtyard Hooligans - Normally the top of people’s minds during World Cup time, this spot is great for even more than to catch a soccer game.  

  • Valhalla Pub &Eatery  - Letting a secret out, these are some of the best mixed drinks, specifically margaritas, in the city.  

  • Belfast Mill & The Cotton Room- An authentic Northern Ireland Pub with plenty of Irish beverages on tap and ready to be mixed!  Check out The Cotton Room located in Belfast Mill for a swank Speakeasy vibe.

  • The Wooden Vine - If a wine bar is more your scene, the Wooden Vine feels like you could be cuddled up in a little bistro in Europe.

  • Corner Pub – Your favorite neighborhood bar you never knew you needed in your life.  Whether it is to get wild on a Saturday night or grab a quick cold one and throw some darts after work on a Tuesday, Corner Pub can give you just that.

  • Crave - Desserts are just the best and Crave offers some fantastic ones.  They also have some really fun mixed cocktails with both sweet and savory undertones.  The best time to hit up Crave, though, is for their daily specials.

  • Shophia’s Lounge - Being transported back into the Victorian age is how you will feel when hanging out at Sophia's.  

  • Infused Bar Charlotte-  Serving infused cocktails, as well as your standard offerings, this neighborhood spot has been low-key loved for over 15 years in First Ward.  

  • Tin Roof - Tucked in on the  second floor of the Epicentre, there is great food, plenty of drinks, and live music every single night!

May 15, 2019

A group for karaoke lovers and performers alike, Karaoke Charlotte, Launches Tomorrow!

Posted by Amanda Erskine • Nightlife News

There are few activities that can truly create a strong bond between a group of complete strangers. While Charlotte offers some of these activities (such as, Adult sports leagues, gyms, and alumni associations), there is one activity that can turn a mild acquaintance into a best friend in a matter of 3-4 minutes:Karaoke.

Luckily for karaoke lovers, Charlotte has a handful of businesses that cater to all of your singing needs, but for those of you who don’t know and are looking to expand on your love for singing to your favorite hits,  there happens to be a community built specifically for karaoke lovers and fanatics, and it is located right here in the Queen City.

Karaoke Charlotte is Charlotte’s premier karaoke group for people who love community, friendship, goodtimes, and of course, karaoke.

The group was started back in 2016 by Chris Barber, through the app, Meetup, and at the time was called “A Not So Empty Orchestra,” as a nod to the Japanese meaning of Karaoke: an empty orchestra. When it first began, a lot of people shared their interest in joining the group, but as far as regular attendees, the meetings were limited to about 3-4 members. Now, things have changed. The group really started to take off in 2017-2018 when Chris brought on his co-founders, Heather Huff and Derek Bastien. While Heather took on the task of recruitment, Derek placed his focus on planning the events and increasing community engagement and now, they have about 50 dedicated members in the group.


Their recent rebrand to Karaoke Charlotte has been inspired due to the relocation of some key members, including Heather, back in February of this year. While they are saddened by the absence of their friends and partners, they have decided to not let the club die, but to rather focus on all the good times that were had and invite more karaoke lovers to join and help create more.

With this rebrand, it is their mission to introduce a new chapter of community amongst karaoke enthusiasts in Charlotte, in a way that has never before been seen, and expand the community even further. They’ve been counting down for the past 10 days on Facebook to their launch party, and the feedback that they’ve received through their website has been astounding. Already, they’ve added more members to the group chat, and they’ve already started discussing further expansion and more events due to the high-demand of a group for the Charlotte karaoke community.


Some changes that have come with the rebrand is the addition of Beau Walker, as co-founder and Creative Director, and Anthony L. Dawkins as the official Photographer of Karaoke Charlotte events.  They have also launched their new website and social media handles, introduced a new logo, planned a monthly newsletter, and created a new members chat.

Thursday, May 16th, is the inaugural presentation of the new, Karaoke Charlotte. Their launch party will be held at Jeff’s Bucket Shop at 7pm. Singers and non-singers alike are welcome!

They will have a limited run of t-shirts available, along with SWAG, opportunities to apply for their Board, and changes to join the club!

Interested in becoming a member? Show up to any of their events in order to be added to the members chat! Events are free and occur on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at Jeff’s Bucket Shop at 9pm. Interested but not sure yet? You can still subscribe to their monthly newsletter on their website.

May 13, 2019

Idlewild: Came for the Cocktails, Stayed for the Greenery

Posted by Laura Gregory • Nightlife Reviews

The latest buzz in Charlotte’s craft cocktail scene is Idlewild, an unassuming, intimate bar in NoDa (located in the Novel NoDa development). From the outside, it’s nothing fancy: a small sign hanging on the brick wall outside indicates the entrance. However, once you step inside you are transported to a cozy space with lush greenery draped around the bars and plush velvet couches (complete with adorable throw pillows) for a more private seating option. Idlewild is a members-only club, but membership only costs $1.00 and allows you to bring up to 3 guests each time.

Idlewild is different than your average cocktail bar, because there is no drink menu. Simply tell the bartender or server your preference (likes and dislikes, flavor preferences, etc.) and the bartenders will concoct a custom cocktail for you. Here’s what I tried at my first visit to Idlewild:


Our server was very attentive and asked helpful follow-up questions to determine what we liked most about cocktails. I relayed that I liked herbaceous, citrus-y drinks with either gin or vodka (not a big dark liquor gal). My date started by listing several standard cocktails that he likes, and the server asked him some follow-up questions to narrow down his choices. Once she had gotten enough information from us, she brought us these:


My drink, pictured left, is called the Water Lily, and involved gin, Cointreau, violetta, and an orange peel. It was strong, cold, and refreshing (it almost tasted like an alcohol Capri Sun, but in the best way possible). My date was presented with the Kentucky Maid (pictured right): bourbon, elderflower, mint, and cucumber. Honestly, his drink might have been better than mine (of course I sampled it, for journalistic purposes).

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We were headed to dinner after but took advantage of Idlewild’s food list (they have about 10 items, including a cheese & charcuterie plate and some delicious-looking avocado bruschetta). We ordered a small cheese plate, which included a cheddar blue cheese (to die for), a manchego, local honey and jam, and fruit, along with crunchy bread sticks. It was the perfect amount for two to split.


Overall, the drinks were exciting, the atmosphere was great, and I will definitely be back (and I might ask for the Kentucky Maid).

Idlewild is open from 5:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. every day at 424 East 36th Street. Visit them on Instagram and Facebook to learn more.

May 09, 2019

The Protagonist opens today in downtown NoDa

Posted by Amanda Erskine • Nightlife Events

The neighborhood that everyone has been sleeping on is getting bigger and bigger every day, with more and more businesses moving there for the cheaper rent and ample available business space. And for all of the passerby who have been craning their necks to peek in on the progress, get excited, because today, NoDa has grown by one highly anticipated "clubhouse": The Protagonist. 

Owned and operated by childhood friends: Ryan McKillen, Mike Salzarulo and Ryan Owens, The Protagonist now occupies the 1,700 square foot space where the former NoDa grocery once lived, and is offering 26 taps of house-made and rotating beers, in addition to delicious cocktails and alcohol free options. Currently, they only have two in-house beers available including a collaboration lager with Town Brewing and a dark-ale collaboration with Divine Barrel Brewing, but once their equipment is fully set up and operational, they will be introducing more concoctions from their head brewer, Jeremy Claeys. 

While the space isn't very large, it makes for an intimate and "club-house" vibe that fits in seamlessly with the overall personality of the NoDa neighborhood. 

We highly recommend trying their collaboration lager with Town Brewing and pairing it with their 4-cheese grilled cheese. Enjoy it at the bar, one of their 2-seat tables, or on the front patio to take in the streets of NoDa. 

Welcome to Charlotte, The Protagonist!

May 07, 2019

Find Your Hangover Cure at First Watch with their Morning Meditation Juice

Posted by Dara Brewton • Nightlife Reviews

With all of the excellent nightlife options available in Charlotte, hangovers definitely happen. We’ve all been there, right? You wake up with that pounding headache, feeling like you’ve been run over by a Mack truck. Yeah, it is definitely the worst.

All the fun of a night out can be a bit overshadowed when you have to drag yourself out of bed the next morning, but your hangover mornings are about to get a lot easier because the cure to your suffering is waiting for you at First Watch: the Morning Meditation juice. This farm fresh daytime-only restaurant has two locations in the metro area; one is in Matthews and the other, the newest location, is in Waverly.

The Morning Meditation is a tasty mix of orange, lemon, and beet juice. Plus, it has some agave nectar, turmeric, and organic ginger mixed in for good measure. Don’t let the beet juice scare you away, it definitely tastes more fruity than vegetable.

Why does this colorful juice concoction help cure your raging hangover? It comes down to that clever mix of ingredients.

  • Orange Juice: The orange juice, which is one of the most prominent flavors in the beverage, helps boost your blood sugar. Plus, the vitamin C works its magic on your body tissue, and the antioxidants help reduce inflammation within your body.

  • Beet Juice: Beets contain betalain pigments that help your liver detoxify and metabolize all the alcohol you dumped into your system.

  • Ginger: This handy little herb can calm your roiling stomach so that you can dive into the delicious menu options like the Million Dollar bacon (smoked bacon with cayenne pepper and maple syrup) or the Farmhouse Hash.

  • Turmeric: This spice also works to detoxify the liver, but it also does a good job reducing pain...like that pounding pain going on inside your skull after a long night of drinking.

So, your next question is what does it taste like? No worries there, it tastes really good. The orange and lemon are definitely the most prominent flavors, and the agave syrup keeps it more sweet than tart. There is a bit of a spicy flavor mixed in similar to the zing in Unknown Brewing’s ginger ale. It is a refreshing drink that would be delicious even when you aren’t hungover, so you can order without fear.

Now that you have First Watch’s Morning Meditation juice as your little hangover secret weapon, you can imbibe without stressing over the morning after effects. But even if you didn’t get crazy the night before, First Watch is still a good breakfast destination as the food is downright amazing. Pro Tip: check-in online before heading over because the wait can get a bit long, especially on the weekends.