Best of the Burbs: South
Under the Grape
A handful of wine shops and bars have sprouted in recent years, but Under the Grape has the formula down. Owners Barb and Henry Tyree understand that the typical wine drinker isn’t a sommelier, so they offer helpful advice, enabling you to make a good decision on your vino—wino or not. By hosting wine tastings and classes, plus live music on a nightly basis, Under the Grape encourages customers to take part in the experience of wine, rather than just the rating.
Ballantyne Village, 14815 John J. Delaney Dr., 704-369-5050
Owner Holly Bretschneider opened her second store in Ballantyne Village last year—and we’re so happy she did. Salutations’ upscale papery stands out not just because it’s so great but because the helpful staff will guide you through the sometimes tedious task of choosing the right Crane & Co. cocktail party invite or custom kate spade notecard set.
Ballantyne Village, 14825 John J. Delaney Dr., 704-369-5260
Place to relax after a movie at Ballantyne Village Theatre
Salara Dessert Lounge & Bistro
This hot spot is packed most nights for good reason—the selection of martinis (chosen by Salara’s in-house mixologist) are flirty and flavorful. But it’s the sweet offerings—gooey pecan bars, flavorful blueberry fritters, sweet and savory crepes, and more—that will keep you lingering long after your cappuccino is empty. If wine’s your thing, the vino options feel endless. Can’t fit another bite? The take-out menu ranges from luscious cheesecakes and buttery blondies to cupcakes and biscotti, perfect with a cup of joe the next morning.
Ballantyne Village, 14825 John J. Delaney Dr., 704-369-5282
Place to buy chocolate
Sometimes nothing else will do but a piece of chocolate. Indulge at Simply Sweet, where giant peanut butter cups, hand-dipped Oreo cookies, and dark chocolate truffles satisfy any sweet-tooth craving. If your friends and family love them some choco, too, sign up for SS’s chocolate academy, where you can tour the candy-making facility, make your own marshmallow pops, or dip and decorate pretzel rods while learning all there is to know about one of life’s sweetest pleasures.
The Fountains, 8025 Ardrey Kell Rd., 704-844-0550
Place to linger
Vintage Wine Cellar
Good music, good food, good wine? What’s not to love? Vintage Wine Cellar’s cozy lounge area boasts performances most nights (think casual acoustic tunes), wine tastings, and a café menu that keeps the portions small (try the tapas or salads) and freshly made (panini and sandwich breads are baked in-house daily). Cushy couches and dim lighting make it easy to stay long after the plates have been cleared and the glasses have run dry.
Toringdon Circle, 12206 Copper Way, 704-543-3977
Though classes are offered all week, the Saturday-morning hot-yoga and power-yoga classes are what makes yogis loyal to this studio. Instructor Brooke leads novices and experts alike through challenging moves that help elongate limbs and release tension in joints. Plus, on Saturday afternoons you can bring aspiring li’l yogis to participate in a class for the wee ones.
Blakeney Village, 9852 Rea Rd., 704-543-8000
It’s rare to find a designer boutique where you can purchase three to four pieces—from denim to tanks and jewelry—for less than $150, which is why Circa rocks. Owner Ashley Martin has stocked her boutique with staple pieces from Free People and Kensie, among others that won’t break the bank. And the selection of handbags (Jessica Simpson clutches), jewelry (great sterling silver layering necklaces), and accessories (slim belts) is one of the best in south Charlotte.
The Fountains, 8145 Ardrey Kell Rd., 704-845-0433
Place to buy a host, baby, or shower gift
This Atlanta-based chain offers goodies galore that fit just about every gift-giving occasion. Monogrammed stationery or coasters? Check. Nautical-inspired servingware and matching linen napkins? Check. Customized plates, mason jars chock-full of cookies, wine stoppers, handpainted martini glasses? Check all of the above. And, if you’re like most shoppers, you’ll find that leaving the store empty handed is not an option.
Blakeney Village, 9816 Rea Rd., 704-541-1157