Night, Joe

Anyone can grab a cup of Joe from the local coffeehouse at 7 a.m. But getting the hot drink at a cool lounge at 1 a.m., that's another thing altogether. Here are three of Charlotte's hottest late-night java shops.

For Joe the Uptowner

PJ's Coffee & Lounge, like everything else at the Epicentre, is new and trendy. If you go here at 8 in the morning to get coffee and bagels before work, you probably wouldn't recognize the place if you came back at night. The colorful lights are dimmed, candles are burning, and club music is playing. Some nights, a live band plays after 10 p.m. and there's no cover charge. PJ's is very intimate, with plenty of comfy seating. The crowd ranges across all ages and could include a couple stopping in after dinner or some twenty-somethings who got tired of waiting in line at Suite upstairs. There's a signature coffee served at night, but you can get stronger stuff, too. If you're hungry, look for tapas, pizza, or cheesecake.

210 E. Trade St., first floor of Epicentre,

Late-night hours: Thu-Sat, open until 2 a.m.

For Joe the South Ender

Inside the Village of Southend, Estelle's Café and Coffeehouse is flanked by condos and sits behind EQ3. At Estelle's, you almost feel as if you're inside someone's living room—a living room that has a large bar that serves wine and beer in addition to coffee, tea, and smoothies. There are several appetizers and sandwiches to choose from. Estelle's doesn't get too crowded and seems to attract the local condo inhabitants.

2135 Southend Dr., Ste. 109,

Late-night hours: Fri and Sat, open until 11 p.m.

For Joe the NoDa'er

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse is the epitome of NoDa. Located across the street from Neighborhood Theatre, it's where the art conscious come for respite. Inside is filled with chatter from couples and friends, but there are also soloists sitting and reading or clicking away on their laptops. Salvaged wood doors have been constructed into booths, and people sit at the bar conversing with the barista. Smelly Cat doesn't serve alcohol, but you can enjoy a milkshake or espresso while looking out the window at busy Thirty-sixth Street.

514 E. Thirty-sixth St.,

Late-night hours: Fri and Sat, open until 11 p.m.

Categories: Food + Drink, Nightlife