Total Night Out
How to avoid cover charges at EpiCentre Show up early and camp out. Mez, Suite, and BlackFinn don't start charging cover fees until after 9 p.m.
You know the type of night we're talking about. The one you've been planning since Monday and definitely involves donning your favorite new outfit. These are the places where you go late and stay late, and whether you're a dancing queen or prefer to spend your evening conversing, there's a place for you -- until 2 a.m.
Photo: How to avoid cover charges at EpiCentre Show up early and camp out. Mez, Suite, and BlackFinn don't start charging cover fees until after 9 p.m.
SuiteYou'll find twenty-somethings -- wearing everything from fine garments to skimpy threads -- waiting in line hoping to get in on Friday and Saturday nights at this intentionally exclusive third-floor EpiCentre nightclub. But if you're one of the VIPs like the Bobcats, Panthers, or visiting celebrities who frequent the club (Jessica Simpson and Rob Schneider have been spotted), you get the star treatment. Flashing lights illuminate the bar, private suites, and dance floor, while the beautiful Skyview Terrace puts uptown on full display. 210 E. Trade St., 704-971-7878
HaloAs the N.C. Music Factory slowly opens its entertainment venues, Halo just might be its savior. The new nightclub is poised to go head to head with uptown's other popular nightspots. The layout is ideal—a large square bar in the middle of the club makes it easy for bartenders to serve many people at once, a spacious dance floor surrounded by VIP booths, and plenty of seating throughout. Plus, the outdoor patio is like a club of its own, complete with a separate bar and DJ. 820 Hamilton St., 704-246-1752
Soul Gastro loungePlaza Midwood got a lot more soul when this bar opened in May. With Charlotte nightlife pioneer Andy Kastanas serving as a partner in this venture, it's no surprise the place is a hit. The focus is on great food (small plates) and great music (renowned DJs brought in nightly). A laid-back vibe, rustic décor, and unpretentious, casually dressed guests put you at ease inside the small, dimly lit space. Located on the second floor of a nondescript brick building, the balcony is great for conversing and almost always packed with people chatting over drinks. 1500-B Central Ave., 704-348-1848
MezThis place has one of the hottest scenes in the city Thursday through Saturday nights. If you're coming for dinner, a reservation is suggested, because tables fill up quickly. But even more people flock to the large bar and lounge area, where pop and hip-hop music fills the air and floor-to-ceiling windows give expansive views of the nightlife complex. 210 E. Trade St., 704-971-2400
Apostrophe LoungeBlending in with the shops and galleries surrounding South Tryon and Camden, Apostrophe has been a popular hangout in South End since opening a year ago. The small lounge has plenty of style -- red carpet often greets you at the entrance, colorful walls are adorned with art, leather couches feature dark wood accents, and flatscreen TVs dress up the bathrooms. There's usually no cover charge, which makes it a great place to drop by. 1440 S. Tryon St., 704-371-7079
Brazwell'sIn April Brazwell's opened in the Montford Drive location that formerly housed The Press Box. With a completely new—and very upgraded—look and feel, Brazwell's offers good food (burgers and sandwiches) and plenty of cold, cheap beer. Preppy Myers Park bar hoppers flock to the patio on the back for half-price bottles of wine on Tuesdays, and weekend evenings see a line down the sidewalk in front. 1627 Montford Dr., 704-523-3500
Mega MontfordIn the last several months, the nightlife scene on Montford Drive, near the intersection of Park and Woodlawn roads, has exploded. With old bars and restaurants perking up and new ones drawing crowds, this is one street you should know your way around.