2009 BOB Awards: Nightlife
Reason to Go to The EpiCentre
On Saturday nights, The EpiCentre more than lives up to its name. Hundreds of bar hoppers and club goers spill out of its numerous spots for entertainment, riding its escalators to their next destination. So what’s the best reason to fight the crowds and traffic for a trip to the massive uptown center? Howl at the Moon. The dueling piano bar features two piano players who perform songs you’ll definitely be able to sing along with (think: Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline") and two bars where you’ll never wait more than a few minutes to be served.
210 E. Trade St., 704-936-4695
With hand-painted murals on the walls and floor-to-ceiling windows facing South Boulevard, Tutto Mundo‘s loftlike ambience feels trendy from the moment you step inside. Most nights the bar draws a chic thirty-something crowd who sip martinis (it serves more than fifty vodkas) and listen to the hip lounge beats as they mingle around the small candle-lit tables.
1820 South Blvd., 704-332-8149
With its tall ceilings, skyline view, and swanky lounge area, it’s no wonder Mez (pictured) has quickly become the hot spot in town for the pretty people to mingle. Its lounge and bar area, tucked across from the restaurant, offers some seating. However, be warned that if you sit down you’re missing the show. This sleek, modern bar features even sleeker, more modern patrons.
210 E. Trade St., 704-971-2402
Place to Chill
Originally a hardware store with the original Martin’s Hardware sign still lighting the front of the dining area, Ed’s Tavern has the "neighborhood bar" thing down. With pool tables, a patio, and special events like trivia and open-mic nights, this is the perfect place to wear jeans, grab a beer and basket of sweet potato fries or fried pickles, settle in, and relax.
2200 Park Rd., 704-335-0033
Live Music Venue
Located in the bustling historical arts district of NoDa, Neighborhood Theatre is a small music venue that draws big names. The best part about this space, though, is that because of its size and setup there are no bad seats. However, it can be packed, so buy your tickets ahead and get there early whether you’re there to see your favorite
local band or a big name.
511 E. 36th St., 704-358-9298
Place for After-dinner Drinks
The bar and lounge at Chima is as chic and sophisticated as everything else inside the upscale Brazilian restaurant that opened in November. You’ll find couples and small groups lingering over wine and cocktails in the cozy upstairs area, where two-story windows provide great views of bustling Tryon and Fourth streets.
139 S. Tryon St., 704-601-4141
OK, there are scantily clad girls dancing on tops of bars and occasionally this club does give off a little of a "we wish we were in South Beach" vibe, but there’s no denying the appeal of Suite. Even if you did try to deny it, the line out the door and around the corner would prove you wrong. With a large dance floor, circular bar, and plenty of hip-hop and dance beats, it’s no surprise that this has quickly become the hottest dance club in uptown.
210 E. Trade St., 704-971-7878
Whether you’re in the mood to watch football games on its outside TVs in December or looking for a place to have a cool drink in July, Myers Park hangout Selwyn Pub has the perfect patio. The young-professional — and very preppy — crowd hovers under heat lamps in the winter and fans in the summer on this tree-covered deck, packed with tables and a bar.
801 Selwyn Ave., 704-333-3443
Order a glass of vino from the extensive list, settle in to one of the overstuffed couches and watch NoDa’s nightlife from inside the cozy Dolce Vita. You can rest your glass on one of the old wine barrel tables and enjoy the tapas as you watch passersby in the city’s artsy neighborhood through the open windows onto the sidewalk in front. The best time to go? On Wednesday, wines are half price by the glass.
3205 N. Davidson St., 704-334-1052
- Bar/lounge: Me
- Sports bar: Picasso’s
- Pub: Ri Ra Irish Pub, Selwyn Avenue Pub
- Dance club: Suite
- Smoke-free: Loft 1523
- Hotel bar: Westin Bar 10
- Place to hear jazz: Blue Restaurant
- Live music venue: Neighborhood Theatre
- Place for karaoke: Jackalope Jack’s
- Boys’ night out: Uptown Cabaret
- Girls’ night out: Suite
- Martini selection: Therapy
- Beer selection: Flying Saucer
- Bar food: Moosehead Grill