Girls’ night out
Dean & DeLuca Wine Room
Maybe it’s the fact that the place is surrounded by some of the best boutiques in town, but the ladies love Dean & DeLuca’s wine room. When the weather’s favorable, you’ll see them in droves, looking like they’ve shopped till they dropped—onto D&D’s popular patio, glass of chardonnay in hand. The inside’s nice, too, comfortable and contemporary, and the bar boasts the largest collection of California labels in the city.
6822-J Phillips Place Court
Cans Bar & Canteen
When Cans opened last spring, it was as if someone had opened up a large can of party, as the bar quickly became a hit. The two-level spot is usually packed wall to wall on weekends, and there’s a lot of room between those walls. Cans serves more than fifty different beers in, you guessed it, cans, and brews four of its own. With vintage video games (Ms. Pac Man, Tetris), twenty plasma TVs, and popular DJs in rotation, Cans has become the hotspot downtown.
500 W. Fifth Street
This beautifully decorated night spot boasts the best dance floor in town, as evidenced by all the beautifully clad hipsters that crowd there. The Forum claims to have “civilized” nightlife. The private club is every bit as slick as it wants its patrons to be (there’s a strict dress code and heavy bouncer presence), and the result is a VIP experience that’s rare among Charlotte’s crop of bump-and-grind bars.
300 N. College Street
Come Hump Day, if it’s been a stressful week at the job, what you need is some Therapy. Wednesdays feature “Martini Madness” at this cozy little joint—and it is little, but that only adds to its intimate appeal. Besides, once you’ve enjoyed a couple of the half-price martinis you’ll find yourself chatting it up with just-made friends. With provocative drink names like “Swingers Swap,” “The Exhibitionist,” and “Sex in the Queen City” just make sure you’re placing your order with an actual bartender.
401 N. Tryon Street, Suite 102
Zen Asian Fusion
Just because you’re not in college any more doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out on Thursday nights. Just get out early and channel some Zen. The fusion restaurant and bar off East Boulevard features happy hour between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. At 7 p.m., things get really cozy when the live music starts. Nicely lit, an intriguing arrangement of seating, and a great appetizer menu along with innovative drinks, this atmosphere will only make you wish it were Friday. Try the Sake-tini (sake, pineapple, and cranberry) or the Zengria (a mix of wine, sake, rum, champagne, and orange). And the crispy crab-and-cream-cheese spring rolls are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
1716 Kenilworth Avenue
Located inside an intimate old house, The Fig Tree is a fine place for first-date flirtation. Couples can cozy up before a crackling fireplace in the winter or dine al fresco in the summer on the popular front porch. The food is great, too, but the repurposed house is so comely and comfy, it feels more like a posh bed-and-breakfast than a restaurant—in fact, you’ll probably find yourself wishing you could spend the night. But remember, this is a first date.
1601 E. Seventh Street
Bar to see pretty people
Table Restaurant & Bar
When Table opened last year, it became the nicest restaurant in Ballantyne. But it’s not just the 1940s-style décor or the eighteen-foot wine towers anchoring the bar that has made Table a hit. It’s because the chic eatery knows what people in Ballantyne want and gives it to them. At night, it’s all about the bar. During weekend parties the restaurant is transformed into a hip lounge as DJ Buddy starts to play. Beautiful ladies and gentlemen converse while enjoying selections from a trendy drink list (mojitos and nearly thirty different martinis).
14835 John J. Delaney Drive, Suite 150
Place for bachelor/ette parties
On any given weekend at Grand Central, you’re bound to see a few ladies sporting the tell-tale combo of a long veil and something lewd (someone’s getting married!). And the boys gather often there, too, to bid a fond farewell to bachelorhood. Grand Central is big enough to accommodate numerous groups, it hires some of the hottest DJs in town, and the drink specials are always good.
101 N. Tryon Street
If you’re looking to grab a late-night bite at someplace a little hipper than Waffle House, Penguin’s the place to be. It’s a diner, it’s a bar, it’s an experience. The servers are tattooed and pierced and wear Elvis Costello glasses, and they serve up conversation starters like Tulepo sandwiches (as in the other Elvis’s fave—peanut butter and bananas) until the wee hours of the morn.
1921 Commonwealth Avenue
Blue’s beautiful bar is the place to be after supper, no matter where you’ve had it. It’s the best place to wind down in town, with lots of cozy corners, and, Wednesday through Saturday, the lulling sounds of live jazz. The décor is rich and warm, and the bar’s fully stocked. Sit back, relax, and digest your dinner.
Hearst Tower, corner of College and Fifth streets
Bar for wine tasting
This place is as much about the setting as it is the selection. Located in the heart of NoDa, Dolce changes its wine menu every couple of weeks. The wines by the glass are an opportunity for any wine lover to try excellent vinos at reasonable prices—Wednesday nights they’re half-price. The setting is relaxed and cool, and sometimes features live music.
3205 N. Davidson Street
Ri Ra is what we look for in a pub, a nostalgic joint filled with friendly faces. And no doubt this stems from the fact that two childhood friends who grew up in Dublin opened it back in 1997, filling the bar with Irish antiques and striving, the owners say, to make it the most welcoming joint in town. Add Ri Ra’s cool staff and its bustling entertainment calendar, and you have a neighborhood pub for the entire city.
208 N. Tryon Street
300 East, The Matilda Wong
The Matilda Wong is so potent, 300 East’s bartenders will serve you a maximum of two (um, pitchers—The Wong is served in a slightly smaller version of what most restaurants use to pour iced tea). The secret concoction is infamous in Dilworth. Spies, however, have noted copious amounts of gin as one key ingredient. But don’t let that scare you off—there’s also lots of freshly squeezed juice. The Wong’s strong, but it actually tastes great.
300 East Boulevard
Place to hear jazz
Live music venue
Place for karaoke
Girls’ night out
Alrighty then, Mister Two-Packs-A-Day.
Girl’s night out
Dish It Out
You are leaving the kids at home, right?