#CLTNIGHTLIFE Blog 359 Posts

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Aug 05, 2019

Charlotte’s (Unofficial) Guide to Summer Pool Time

Posted by Laura Gregory • Where To Go

We’ve now officially entered into the hottest part of the year (except for that one day in October when it will, suddenly, without warning, and for no apparent reason, be 90 degrees). If you’re looking for a reason to step outside your air-conditioned apartment but the thought of it fills you with dread and sweat, we have the perfect solution for you: find a pool. Fast. And take up residence there. While Charlotte may not be known as a city with epic pool parties (a la Vegas, Miami, etc.), there are still some options for taking a cool dip, getting your toes wet, diving in, etc. Read on to find our recommendations of cool pools (and other bodies of water) in the Charlotte area.

  1. Omni Hotel’s Coin Bar:

You’ve probably heard of this urban oasis that’s famous because it’s open to the public, and we’re echoing its praises. It’s open seasonally from 5-10 PM Monday- Saturday, and 12-10 PM Sunday. Simply check in at the lobby of the Omni and ask for a key card to access the pool. There are couches and cabanas for rent, food and drinks, and $2 Taco Tuesdays. If you’re looking to start your weekend early, check out their craft beer offerings for $5 on Fridays. What more could you ask for?! 

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c/o Coin Bar

  1. U.S. National Whitewater Center:

Ok—hear us out: we know that the Whitewater Center is not a pool per se, but there are still plenty of aquatic activities you can indulge in here. We recommend flatwater kayaking for those looking for a fun, yet beginner-friendly, active experience on the Catawba River (no rapids involved). Day passes start at $59, or you can buy a single activity pass if you know what you want to try (ex: flatwater kayak passes are $30). After you’ve explored and climbed, swam, paddled, etc., check out Pump House Biergaten for a drink. A Saturday activity we’d highly recommend. 

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  1. YMCA Outdoor Pools:

It’s fun to swim at the… Y M C A! While this option may be for those who are seriously committed to a full season of pool time, it’s certainly an option: there are several Charlotte-area YMCA locations that have outdoor pools (because no one likes the chlorine overload of an indoor pool): the Brace, Harris, Morrison, and Simmons branches all have outdoor pools, and some of them even have extras like slides, zero entry pools, and splash pads. If you’re north of Charlotte, you can even visit the Lake Norman branch, which has lake access and an outdoor pool! Check your local branch’s offering, or venture out and explore a new branch (free with your membership!). A PSA: these pools are highly likely to be family friendly, so keep that in mind when packing your cooler.

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The Harris YMCA Branch outdoor pool

  1. Phone a friend who has an apartment pool:

This is the most tried-and-true method of summertime relaxation there is: exploiting your friends, co-workers, and even vague acquaintances who have the luxury of living in an apartment with a pool. Start out by reaching out and saying how much you “miss them” and are dying to “get together for a fun day in the sun;” if they don’t take the hint and offer to host a pool day, then you should: a) be blunt or b) get better friends. 

Jul 31, 2019

5 Charlotte Basement Bars that you can escape the rain and beat the heat at this Summer

Posted by Amanda Erskine • Where To Drink

While spending the warm-weather days, drinking out on a patio is an important part of Charlotte culture, the dead heat of Summer can make this activity more of a chore than anything. Sitting with your rapidly warming seasonal IPA and that shirt that you shouldn’t have worn because it shows all of the places that you’re currently sweating, might be the least appealing sounding way to spend a hot day. 

Luckily, Charlotte’s culture also means that we believe in air-conditioning, and you know where it’s even cooler? Underground. 

Charlotte has a handful of basement bars that are calling your name, when the weatherman is calling for 95 degree weather with cloudless skies. 

  1. The Cellar at Duckworth’s. If your outfit calls for a fancier venue, or you’re just looking to be wine and dined while avoiding the brutal heat, check out this cool, speakeasy below Duckworth’s Uptown location. 

  2. Room 1812. This Charlotte speakeasy is located below new, Southend restaurant, The Manchester. You’ll need the secret password to get in, which is shared on their Instagram story every day!

  3. Jeff’s Bucket Shop. The classic spot for any occasion, Jeff’s also is the perfect place to go when you’re looking to get out of the sun, and break out in song. 

  4. SIP. An oldie, but a goodie, Uptown’s corner bar, SIP has a basement that will bring you back to the years where your only worry was which fraternity party you were going to avoid and which bubble necklace to wear with your Chevron shirt. 

  5. Roxbury. My personal favorite, and the most fun basement around, The Roxbury offers a cool downstairs with mirrors lining every wall and 80’s and 90’s bangers all night long. It’s a narcissist’s dream!

Jul 30, 2019

Rhino Market's new location now offers locally-sourced food and laid back vibes in NoDa

Posted by Katie Vaas • NoDa Nightlife

It is now a trifecta. Rhino Market has a location in NoDa, about a block away from the original Amelie’s (which could potentially be moving away) that opened a month or so ago. This new location joins those already successfully popping in Freemore West also known as Wesley Heights and Uptown.

What makes this new location similar to its brethren? It is acting as the destinations in Charlotte for the “urban forager.”  Rhino Markets are the location where you can go and find a little bit of whatever your heart may desire- especially if your heart desires something locally sourced and crafted with care.  The delicious food and the plentiful drink options, of course, are consistent with the other locations. Yes, I am talking their modern deli breakfast sandwiches (ideal for a mid-week slump or a shaky weekend morning).  The question, is which is better, between the breakfast burrito or brown sugar pepper bacon sandwich for being the best.

If your journey to Rhino happens to require a perusal of the market itself, you will find it stocked with specialty beer, wine, snacks, and beverages.  Hint: grab the Rhino Chow when it is available, it doesn’t stay on the shelves long but it is a bag of pure goodness. 

For the evening attendee, there are a multitude of craft beers on draft as well as kombucha and a cold brew coffee.  There are plenty of options for seating, whether at the bar, a table, or out on the spacious patio.  

This patio is what sets this location apart, and potentially above the others.  It truly is a neighborhood market where it is easily walkable from a multitude of houses and apartments making the patio a place of refuse for this looking to get out and relax.  The chill vibe and ability to sip a cold draft, snack on some great bites, and catch up with your neighbors, whom also may be a part of the friendly staff, is homey, welcoming, and just the best.  Throw in nights that offer DJ’s, live music, and trivia nights, and you have the best outdoor living room in town. 

*Cover photo from Rhino Market Website

Jul 25, 2019

Pinhouse, a new self-serve lounge with duckpin bowling is coming to Plaza Midwood

Posted by Amanda Erskine • Plaza Midwood Nightlife

A new concept from a Southend business that we all know and love is opening in Plaza Midwood, this Saturday, and there are a ton of things to be excited about. Hoppin’ owners, Rich Moyer and Drew Nesemeier are bringing your favorite self-serve-style bar concept and meshing it seamlessly with a theme that is sure to keep the culture and charm of Plaza Midwood alive. Pinhouse, is a two-story bar and social house that was specifically designed to fit in with the history, tradition, and culture of the neighborhood.

The Space:

The 6,023-square-foot space, that was the former home of Midwood Cleaners since the early 1950’s, boasts an interior, immaculately designed by Vignette Interior Design,  that will transport you back to the 1920’s. Modeled after “The Great Gatsby,” you can see a nod to the classic tale through the navy, gold, and amber color scheme, the cozy leather and velvet chairs, the repurposed crystal decanter lighting fixtures, and all of the minor and major details that make up the entire building. 

While the interior and exterior have seen some design changes, the building itself was purposely only restored, as a way to keep the history of the space alive. Their goal for the space was to incorporate Plaza in every way possible, as opposed to changing it. Another nod to the history of the space, Pinhouse kept the original Midwood Cleaners sign as a part of their decoration. You can find it downstairs, near the left-side bowling lanes. 

Outside, you will find both an upstairs patio and back patio that overlooks the most incredible view of Veteran’s Park. Their upstairs patio is glittering with clear, amber colored chairs and tables, and their large, grassy, back patio, complete with seating and a massive fireplace for the colder nights, will have cornhole and mini golf.

What to Expect:

Keeping the self-serve concept alive, Pinhouse has 72 taps both upstairs and downstairs,  that will use the same iPourIt technology used on the 63 taps available at Hoppin’. Like Hoppin’, Pinhouse will also be using the same buyer, and the taps will offer beer, wine, cider, prosecco, and kombucha. 

Moyer and Nesemeier go into every project with a mission to make their business an experience for their customers. They wanted to give Charlotte something that it doesn’t already have, and didn’t necessarily want to just do another self-serve spot. Just as they understand the importance of maintaining tradition, they also understand that Plaza Midwood is different from Southend, and therefore, quirk is not only something that is appreciated, but required. 

While the upstairs of Pinhouse will place more focus on a live-music and lounge experience, downstairs is where you can find all of the activities. The main offering of Pinhouse, will be Duckpin Bowling, a turn-of-the-century activity that definitely fits the “quirk” requirement. There are four lanes, that will be available to rent out starting Saturday. 

Bowling Rates:

Monday-Thursday: $25 per hour/lane

Friday: 12-5pm $25 per hour/lane. 5pm-close: $35 per hour/lane

Saturday & Sunday: $35 per hour/lane 

As far as food goes, Twisted Eats will be the permanent food truck on site and will be offering a new menu with delicious, creative bites, designed specifically for Pinhouse. 

Grand Opening:

When: This Saturday, July 27th starting at 10 a.m.

What: You can expect to come thirsty and hungry and ready to have fun. Starting at 10 a.m., the taps will be pouring, and Twisted Eats will be serving up items from their brand-new menu. There will also be other food trucks on site to choose from, as well as vendors set up in the parking lot. 

Starting at 8 p.m., Nashville Country star, Canaan Cox, will be performing. 

Regular Scheduling:

Pinhouse is hitting the ground running, and will be offering  trivia nights,and other nightly events, starting week one!


Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 3pm-11pm

Wednesday: 3pm-12am

Thursday: 3pm-12am

Friday: 12pm-12am

Saturday 10am-12am

Sunday: 10am-10pm

Jul 24, 2019

Authentic Korean Street Food in the heart of South End

Posted by Katie Vaas • Southend Nightlife

Want the perfect restaurant to pop into, and grab some small bites of delicious and authentic Asian street fair?  Then, you need to go to Hawkers.  Well, one small caveat, you may not necessarily be able to randomly pop-in, you may have to call ahead or be willing to wait 45+ minutes for an open table. This place is always packed!  Recently, I went on a Wednesday night at 7:30 pm and my girlfriends and I had a 45-minute wait. To be honest, it was totally worth it. 

Being part of the vibrant and booming area of South End, and conveniently located within steps of Jeni’s ice cream.  Hawker’s boasts a large patio/porch with colorful furniture and big garage-style doors that open-up the place providing a truly authentic street fare vibe, perfect for only a semi-muggy night, allowing the a/c to still blast.  

Our group had worked together on a program for the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea, so we were excited to reconnect over some authentic Asian dishes.  Authenticity is definitely a priority in this establishment. The founders were inspired by the street hawkers from their travels in Asia and the recipes from over the generations within their families.  Pause. What is a hawker you may be asking? A hawker is a street vendor that sources local ingredients and spices to create their dishes. They are typically set-up in walk-up stalls or carts for quick grab and go delicacies.  

What makes this a fun atmosphere for South End?  It is its anything goes vibe. The open walls, the funky artwork, and the fun people make it a place that instantly relaxes you.  

Food can be ordered by the small plates or by the main dish.  The small plates are where it is at though! This enables plenty of sharing and sampling amongst the group (we recommend getting at least two per person in the group!).  The pan seared dumplings, Korean double fried wings, and the beef bulgogi skewers were the fan favorites of our group. We may or may not have ordered 4 servings of the skewers! 

In addition to the great food, the drinks are everything from your regulars (beer, wine, spirits) to specialty.  We sampled the Malaysian Mule (Prairie gin, turmeric-infused simple, lime juice, Fever Tree, candied ginger) and the Chinese Fire Drill (Corazón tequila, Sauvignon Blanc, jalapeno infused St Germain, lemon juice, agave nectar) and were not disappointed.  They completed the rich flavors and spices of our food perfectly.  


Opportunity alert: Want to try Hawkers but balling on a budget?  Check out their $3 small plate specials! Monday-Friday 3-6pm and late-night Sunday-Thursday 9 pm – Close.