Battle of the Beer Gardens

Unfortunately, beer doesn’t grow on trees — but it does have a garden. And Charlotte now has two of them. As if our two uptown entertainment complexes — the EpiCentre and NC Music Factory — weren’t already in enough of a head-to-head competition, they each opened beer gardens a week apart. Here’s how the two compare.

  VBGB Beer Hall & Garden
920 Hamilton St., 704-333-4141
Biergarten at Pavilion
210 E. Trade St., 704-971-1249
  VBGB Beer Hall & Garden VBGB Beer  Hall & Garden
Housed at NC Music Factory EpiCentre
Date opened April 2011 April 2011
Cityscape feature Its roof became the new home to the historic JFG coffee sign. Offers some of the city’s best views of uptown’s skyline.
Décor Inside has a patio feel with several wood picnic tables, including some with umbrellas even though there’s a roof on the building. Stringed lights run across the ceiling and white trees are painted onto black walls. It’s the rooftop of the middle section of the Epicentre, so the lights from several surrounding venues provide dramatic backdrops. Dozens of plants and trees have been installed to give it a garden feel, and there’s even faux grass underfoot.
Bar Square-u-shaped bar with a five-inch-wide rail running the length, covered with ice. You rest your beer on the frosty rail to keep it cold between sips. The bar area is the only enclosed space, though the walls slide open. Lighted panels surround the bar and frequently change colors.
Patio It’s touted as Charlotte’s largest patio. Enclosed by a natural-stained wood picket fence, it’s 6,500 square feet. Almost the entire space is a patio. It has a relatively large stage on which bands perform, and a large, white tent is erected to shelter you from the rain or overbearing sun.
Drinks The bar serves thirty craft beers, including several from North Carolina and Germany. Beer snobs can rejoice because you won’t find brews like Bud Light or Heineken here. The bar stocks a dozen imported specialty and craft beers, as well as traditional cocktails.
Food The kitchen is open until midnight and serves burgers, hot dogs, beef kabobs, jumbo pretzels, onion rings, and sweet potato fries. There’s no kitchen on site, but you’re welcome to bring food from any of the complex’s restaurants including BlackFinn, Wild Wing Café, Five Guys, Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina, and more.
Games cornhole cornhole, ping-pong, and bocce ball
Hours Tues.-Fri., 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sat. and Sun., Noon-2 a.m. Fri., 5 p.m.-close; Sat., 1 p.m.-close


Categories: Food + Drink, Nightlife