#CLTNIGHTLIFE Blog 343 Posts

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Jun 05, 2019


Make Graham St. Pub and Patio your go-to before and after- Knights game spot

Posted by Katie Vaas • Uptown Nightlife

Nestled into a little, unassuming corner of Graham Street sits the Graham St. Pub & Patio.  We were just completing the 7th Inning Stretch at the nearby Knights Game when my friends and I made the decision to go and check it out.  We had debated between wandering over to the French Quarter, returning to Taproom Social or venturing to this “unknown” Graham St. Pub since the bottom of the 5th.  

Graham St was decided on because we all had driven by it a million times commuting to and from work over the past few months.  We realized we had been anxiously awaiting its opening, but that had come and gone, unnoticed by us, and thus left the establishment still untapped.

It truly was easy and quick to get to from Knights Stadium, being an approximately 50-yard walk across the street. When walking up to the building, it has an odd architectural hint of a tree or a club house; small and compact in its presence but carefully detailed in its presentation. The place seems bigger inside than it does from the outside and has an array of beers on tap and by the bottle, as well as plenty of wines and liquors to choose from.  The patio, though, is truly spectacular. Instagram pictures do not do the view justice and it gets more and more breathtaking as the sun sets and the city lights come alive.

We stayed much later than we wanted, partly because the vibe was great and the drinks were quick and easy to get, but mainly because the songs were on fire.  We were loving the early 2000s hip hop and a few boy band jams that came on while we were there.

Getting an Uber out of the area was surprisingly quick and easy.  There is a small side street that the Uber waited at and despite the crazy obstacle course of traffic cones and road closures, we had zero issues.  Maybe we were just lucky, but I think it was because of the unique location just off a main road that helped us.

There was much to love about Graham St. Pub & Patio and so I know we will be back.

Jun 04, 2019


More than just a coffee and bottle shop, The Hobbyist is representing local craftsmen and artisans

Posted by Amanda Erskine • NoDa Nightlife

It is no secret that NoDa has a reputation for being a neighborhood that thrives on locally-produced goods and mom-and pop shops that value community. Recently, we have been hearing a lot about the much-anticipated growth of NoDa and the additions of businesses who fit this mold while still managing to bring something new to the neighborhood. Located in the rapidly developing Villa Heights area, just a hop away from Free Range Brewing and the new Rhino Market, lies the future coffee and bottle shop-The Hobbyist.

Owners and operators, Julie and Bryson Woodside are the exact type of business owners who bring so much to Charlotte, by valuing the character of neighborhoods like NoDa and working towards preserving its unspoken mission of supporting and championing its local residents.

As Plaza Midwood natives, who exist in and appreciate the eccentricities of the neighborhood, they wanted to "provide a community spot for NoDa and Plaza Midwood travelers."  While Julie has kept her full-time career as hand surgeon at OrthoCarolina, Bryson has turned the Hobbyist into his full-time passion. Always wanting to own a wine and beer shop, he finally decided, with the support of his wife and co-owner, that the time had come to do so.

The Hobbyist will triple as: a bottle shop offering both a warm and cold selection of beer and wine, a coffee bar complete with espresso drip and pour over coffee, and a taproom complete with 16 taps. The 16 taps will be offering rotating beers, with an aim to showcase brews from local cities that you don’t typically see on other taps around Charlotte. Select taps will also serve nitro coffee, prosecco, and wine.

The name, “The Hobbyist,” is representative of what they are trying to achieve with their new business. It embodies everything that they love about the neighborhood, and the local artisans who have taken their passions, or hobbies, and turned them into their livelihoods. Almost everything that you will find in The Hobbyist, is or has been provided by locals, in order to provide the most fresh and delicious ingredients and authentic experience. For example, local NoDa artist, Sharen Dowell, most recently known for her works on a large Camp North End artist collaboration piece, is contributing a piece that will be on one of the inside walls.

Being strong appreciators of local crafts, they are also craftsmen themselves. Bryson made all of the wooden hardware and furniture that will be placed in the shop, including the bar, bathroom vanities, and tables, and a lot of the labor that was done to get the place ready, with the assistance of their contractors, was done by the Woodside's as well.  

The space will provide a blend of various atmospheres and experiences, all under one roof; with their casual seating in the front to grab some lunch at and chat with old or new friends, bar-seating for grabbing an after-work beer or enjoying your pre-work cup of joe, a large community couch to host your club meeting on or have a relaxed get-together, leather chairs and couches in the back of the building for a private glass of wine paired with some work or a nice book, outdoor seating on the front porch providing a view of Uptown, and a garage door to let in all of the sights and sounds of NoDa.

They plan on partnering with other local businesses to create meet-ups and collaborations, that will work to blend passions and offer opportunities for people to try new things. They are currently working on designing a collaboration with Ebb & Flow, the pilates and movement studio, directly next door.

While there is no kitchen present, they will provide a fresh, grab-and-go food refrigerator with pre-made meals such as: kale salads from Reid’s Fine Foods, vegetarian and vegan fare from Beverly’s Gourmet Foods, and Queen City pimento cheese sandwiches. Small made-to-order food items from Farmer’s Markets, and “to die for” pastries from Gateau on Main, located in Davidson, NC will also be available for purchase. Some of their funkier offerings will be local Charlotte Kombucha brewer, SumBucha, and potent-yet-delicious Alcoholic ice cream (which I had the immense pleasure of helping to taste test).

Along with their mission to #supportlocal, they are most excited to share their true love, passion, and care about coffee, beer, and wine, and to place and emphasis on each art, equally.  In fact, one of the main reasons that they chose to work with Counter Culture, their Raleigh-based coffee supplier (besides their delicious coffee), was because of the company’s strong insistence for baristas who serve their grounds to be knowledgeable about the backgrounds of the blends, and to be able to speak on their flavor profiles.

The Hobbyist is set to open on this week and will be open 7 days a week 6:30am-9pm with some varying hours on the weekend

May 29, 2019


A new self-serve bar is open near the BB&T Stadium for your next Uptown outing

Posted by Katie Vaas • Uptown Nightlife

Open just about a week now, this is a unique spot not only in that it is a bar Uptown where you pour your own beverages, but it also doesn’t have a Facebook Page. However, it does have an Instagram account!  This spot has been highly anticipated since early 2018, and officially opened mid-May.  It is nestled into the corner retail space between 4th and Graham Street under the Mint Apartments Uptown.

We were drawn to the location for the specific location.  It is the perfect gathering point for a quick drink before catching a Charlotte Knights Game.  By quick drink I mean literally, almost instantaneous, as it is self-serve. Many readers may be familiar with Hoppin' in South End, and Taproom Social is of a similar concept.  Brief process overview: You walk in, provided your credit card and ID, and get a wristband that enables you to get as much beer or as many different kinds are you want from the tap wall.  They have on draft beers, wines, kombucha, and even a cold brew. The novelty of this is quite fun, albeit a bit pricey as you are paying a bit more per ounce than you would at an establishment where you are served.  

The best part of these kinds of bars is not necessarily cost savings (or lack thereof) or even the location.  The best part if the ability for a big group to gather, enjoy each other’s company, but still be independent. There is no need to all agree on a brewery as multiple local favorites are on tap.  There is no need to worry about how to split the bill as each person pays for exactly what they drink and only that. There is also no need to be concerned with where to sit as the atmosphere enables mingling so the more the merrier and eventually everyone in the bar can be friends.  

So, make Taproom Social your Uptown spot to gather and make friends.  Whether that is before a Knights Game, after work, for their Run Club (Monday Nights), or any of the other social events they have on tap (check out their Instagram for the latest updates); Taproom Social is where you can independently gather with ease.

May 23, 2019


Charlotte’s Next (Roof)Top Model—Season 1: Uptown

Posted by Laura Gregory • Uptown Nightlife

Taking inspiration from Tyra Banks, legendary supermodel, businesswoman, and host of America’s Next Top Model, Charlotte Nightlife is on the search for our city’s next best rooftop bar with its premier season of Charlotte’s Next (Roof)Top Model. For our inaugural season, we are taking it downtown… or as any Charlottean who wants to make sure you know they’re “from Charlotte,” UPTOWN! 4 of Uptown’s best rooftop bars are in the running, but only one bar will continue on as Charlotte’s Next Roof(top) Model.

To impress the anonymous but impartial judge at Charlotte Nightlife* (*read: this writer), the bars will be judged on 5 categories: their views, their food & drinks, their atmosphere, their deals, and anything extra that sets them apart (like a great smize). The winner of this season of CNRTM will win a modeling contract with Elite Model Management, a photospread in Marie Claire, and…. Just kidding. The winner will only take home the satisfaction of knowing that they have the best views, brews, and to-dos of all the rooftop venues in the Queen City. And to me, that’s more valuable than any contract with Revlon or any photoshoot with Maybelline. Although I would definitely accept runway walk tips from Miss J.

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So before we begin with our first round, I will only ask one question to Charlotte’s Uptown rooftops: You wanna be on top?

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The Contestants:

Contestant 1: City Lights Rooftop, 555 S McDowell St.

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From their website: See the only award winning 360-degree view of the Queen City skyline and the largest rooftop bar in Charlotte. City Lights Rooftop serves an eclectic, street food inspired menu and hand-crafted cocktails. Dance and mingle next to our LED rooftop furniture and our weekly live music and rotating DJ roster. This is a casual fun spot to let your hair down and put your feet up to enjoy a sunset, cocktails, and bites. Vibe the night away next to our literally LIT décor!

View: 5/5. Uptown’s skyline is on full display at City Lights, which has a 360-view of Uptown Charlotte. The protective walls are opaque, so guests’ views of the Duke Energy Building, Bank of America Corporate, One Wells Fargo Center, and more are not blocked at all.

Food & Drink: 3/5. A small offering of food is available, including cheese & charcuterie boards, sliders, and fries. Good selection of wine and beer, but a smaller cocktail menu. Points for their Sparkle & Pop, which includes your choice of a locally-made pop from King of Pops, a drink selection that is very pop-ular in the summer (Get it?).

Atmosphere: 4/5. City Lights is definitely the place you go to see and be seen. The patio is expansive with many seating options, and there is almost always a live DJ spinning dance music. It’s definitely one of the most “club” atmospheres of all our contestants, which creates a lively, pulsating vibe. However, if you’re looking for a quiet, intimate spot to enjoy a drink and a view, you might find that elsewhere.

Deals: 4/5. City Light’s Facebook has occasional offerings for deals and events, including drink deals and holiday specials.

Extras: 4/5. As mentioned above, the Sparkle & Pop cocktails are Instagram-famous, and for good reason. They also recently announced on their Instagram that they are launching “Au Soleil: A Summer Soirée by Le Méridien.” This includes an expansive rose menu and other European-inspired touches.

Total Score: 21/25

Contestant 2: Rooftop 210, 210 E Trade St.

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Photo via Rooftop 210 webpage

From their website: Perched high above Charlotte’s most popular nightspot, Rooftop 210 at EpiCentre is the Queen City’s Premier special events venue. Rooftop 210 is an open-air, rooftop venue that offers a spacious layout, contemporary design and breathtaking views of the Charlotte skyline.

View: 3/5. Being in the midst of the EpiCentre has its pros and cons: a big pro is that Rooftop 210 is easily accessible from many other uptown locations; but a con is that its view is limited to the buildings around it.

Food & Drink: 3/5. There are plenty of drink options, but no food; this is a true “bar”.

Atmosphere: 4/5. It’s always buzzing here, no matter if it’s for a private event or just a regular Friday night. The dance floor is lively and always crowded with patrons having fun. It’s your quintessential classic rooftop bar in the middle of a city.

Deals: 2/5. Drinks are relatively affordable. While Rooftop 210 doesn’t advertise many discounts or drink specials, their abundance of special events makes up for this limited offering.

Extras: 5/5. There are no shortages of special events at Rooftop 210, which keeps things lively and new. From “Alive After Five,” monthly Silent Discos and live concerts, to inclusions in many city-wide bar crawls, you can always expect something fun and exciting to be happening at Rooftop 210. Check their Facebook or Instagram for a running list of events.

Total Score: 17/25

Contestant 3: Merchant + Trade, 303 S Church St.

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Photo via Yelp

From their website: On the 19th floor, with panoramic views of Uptown Charlotte, Merchant + trade is Broken into four distinct zones—indoor bar, outdoor terrace, private terrace and the lawn. Our carefully curated cocktail program is grounded in classic cocktails made with North Carolina-produced Spirits, house-made mixers and locally sourced produce paired with elevated bar bites from our dedicated rooftop kitchen. Pop in with a group of friends for shareable libations, or try the wealth of craft beers on tap brewed right here in Charlotte.

View: 3.5/5. Overlooking Romare Bearden Park, the view is great (not a 360-view, but still has some beautiful lookout spots). Merchant + Trade gets extra points for having a beautifully-equipped indoor bar with a great atmosphere and great indoor seating options as well.

Food & Drink: 5/5. This is the perfect place if you’re looking for a delicious cocktail and swanky small plates. They have an extensive seasonal cocktail menu with rotating selections, as well as classic offerings and a generous wine and beer list, with many local craft beers listed. Their small plates menu is also quite generous, listing everything from oven-baked lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce to a spice fried chicken sandwich to honey sesame glazed salmon. Dinner and drinks are both taken care of here.

Atmosphere: 4/5. This is the epitome of rooftop fanciness in the QC; dress to impress. Seriously—they have a strict dress code and are known to deny patrons if their attire doesn’t comply. The atmosphere is therefore equally fancy and selective, so if that is what you’re looking for, Merchant + Trade fits the bill.

Deals: 3/5. Expect top-of-average drink prices (an Old Fashion runs at $13), and equally top-of-average food prices.

Extras: 3/5. Listed on their Facebook and Instagram are several upcoming events, including DJs and live music, but what really draws patrons to Merchant + Trade are its constants: a quintessentially-fancy vibe, delicious cocktails, and crafted plates.

Total Score: 18.5/25

Contestant 4: Fahrenheit, 222 S. Caldwell St.

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From their website: “Fahrenheit is situated above the Skye Condos at 222 South Caldwell Street on the 21st Floor. Chef Rocco Whalen’s restaurant features amazing, unparalleled views of the Queen City and inventive new American cuisine. The wine list is extensive, cocktails are creatively crafted, and draft beers are local. Also featured on the roof are linear fire pits, a social pool and seasonal herb garden.”

View: 5/5. Chances are, if you’ve seen a photo of someone on a rooftop in Charlotte, they were at Fahrenheit. With opaque protective walls, the views of the city are unparalleled, and a perfect photo background. It’s especially lovely as the sun sets over the city.

Food & Drink: 5/5. An extensive wine list, great craft and domestic beer selections, and creative cocktails (my personal favorite is the Alexis Aviation, made with Hendrick’s Gin, Lxoardo, house-made Crème de Violette, and lemon juice) comprise the drink menu, while an expansive dinner menu caters to all appetites, from small plates to large sides to signature entrées.

Atmosphere: 5/5. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or even a first date, Fahrenheit is perfect for everyone. It’s elevated, but not too fancy; you’ll see all types of people here who are enjoying the views and drinks. There is generally a celebratory vibe here, which makes it a great place to commemorate any occasion. Additionally, the fire pits contribute to an aesthetically-pleasing outdoor space.

Deals: 3/5. Expect top-of-average cocktail pricings, which are worth it, and generally top-of-average to pricey food options.

Extras: 4/5. Fahrenheit has a great brunch on Sundays from 11:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M., with both delicious food options and “eye openers” (AKA hair of the dog) including a rolling bloody mary bar. Check their Facebook and Instagram for more details on their seasonal drinks lists and events.

Total Score: 22/25

After all the points have been tallied up, the winner of this season of Charlotte’s Next (Roof)Top Model is……. Fahrenheit!!!!

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Which neighborhood should be the focus of our next season of Charlotte’s Next (Roof)Top Model? Plaza Midwood? SouthEnd? Let us know in the comments below!

May 16, 2019


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

Posted by Katie Vaas • Uptown Nightlife

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!