Need some fresh fall air? Here’s a list of the 15 best patios in Charlotte.
It took a while to get fall weather, but perfect patio season has finally landed in Charlotte. Here’s where you’ll find us eating and drinking outside. The list below is no particular order.
Honorable mentions – bars: Angry Ale’s, Thomas Street Tavern, Graham Street Pub, Brazwell’s and Craft. Need outdoor views? Here’s a list of the best rooftop bars in Charlotte.
(1) Selwyn Pub
The Charlotte Classic
This family-owned bar in a repurposed house has been holding it down in Myers Park since 1990. The front patio has a bar, flat-screen TVs, fire pits and a retractable awning to keep it accessible when the weather won’t cooperate.
Owner: Jim Foster, a dude in his early 60s, is a strategic CPA with a law degree as well. He’s a professor at Queen’s University of Charlotte where he teaches courses in ethics and business law. “Overall sales have grown, but our product mix has changed dramatically with all of our city’s breweries,” Foster said. “We listen to our customers. It’s all about the customer and the space. We’re taking care of customers and provide food and beverage that support their tastes.”
What we’re drinking: $5 Transfusions. The dead-simple mixed drink — vodka, soda or ginger ale and a splash of juice — has been the same budget-friendly five bucks since the bar opened in 1990.
The Adult Playground
The popular Korean-inspired barbecue restaurant delivers on all the backyard day party essentials on its South End back patio. They’ve got a huge U-shaped bar, beer pong tables, lawn games (like cornhole and human-sized billiards) and even a fenced dog park.
What we’re drinking: Soju. The Korean liquor comes served in a melon or pineapple with a ladle for sharing or a straw if you’re here to party.
Deal: Seoul Food Meat Co. offers $1 sides from 4-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Choose from 21 sides including fan favorites like kimchi fries, baked ram ‘n cheese and Philly egg roll.
Agenda guide: 50 best bars in Charlotte, ranked
The European Courtyard
This popular wine bar has an enchanting back patio complete with a koi pond. Lush greenery and the warm glow of string lights make it feel like a hidden escape from the city less than two miles from Uptown.
Deal: Free cheese and charcuterie plate with any wine flight on Tuesdays. The wine flight includes three 3-ounce pours. $20 for white and $25 for red. And don’t forget, they also do half off select rosé on Thursday nights.
Agenda related guide: 5 coolest wine bars in Charlotte
(4) Lincoln Street
This new new sister concept from the owners of Craft Tasting Room & Growler Shop has three seating zones — the main dining room and bar, a rooftop patio with Uptown views, and a ground floor patio fronting Lincoln Street.
Rooftop patio: Stairs from the Craft parking lot lead up to a 28-seat rooftop patio with views of Uptown. A live Ligustrum tree is planted right in the middle with banquette and high-top seating surrounding it. It’s a cool spot that’ll be very popular.
Booze: The bar menu features a dozen signature craft cocktails (all $13), house-infused liquors, shrubs and natural sodas.
House infusions: These house-infused liquors are used in some of the signature cocktails but can also be ordered on the rocks ($9). Flavors include toasted pecan vodka, 5 citrus gin, vanilla orange bourbon, spiced date rum, sage rye and dark chocolate chili tequila.
(5) SouthBound / Mac’s / The Music Yard
The Patio Row
Neighbors Mac’s Speed Shop (a southern smokehouse) and SouthBound (a SoCal-inspired taco bar) are linked together by The Music Yard, a huge outdoor performance venue. The curb appeal of those three places packed with patrons creates an alluring “patio row” of sorts along the busy South Boulevard corridor.
(6) Flower Child
The Urban Lunch Spot
Located on the light rail in South End, this fast-casual chain features bowls, salads and wraps made with responsibly sourced health foods like sustainable salmon, grass-fed beef and organic non-GMO tofu.
(7) Hello, Sailor
The Lakeside Tiki Getaway
Located about 25 minutes from Charlotte, Hello, Sailor is the perfect venue for a lakeside date — test out tiki cocktails, share crab legs, fight over a lobster roll and enjoy the sunset over Lake Norman.
What we’re drinking: The three most popular cocktails are their Sea Legs ($10, left) – mezcal, yellow chartreuse, spiced mango and mint; Subterranean Spritz ($10, center) – vodka, smoked pineapple, falernum, agave, key lime and lime La Croix (super drinkable); and the Daughter Judy ($9, right) – bourbon, grapefruit, honey thyme.
Recess is always in session at this monster back patio (covered and heated in the winter) filled with games like giant Connect Four, cornhole and giant Jenga. Looking for something more physical? It’s also home to The Sandbox, a 5-court, lighted sand volleyball facility. Join a league here.
What we’re eating: Totchos – tater tots topped with VBGB’s homemade beer cheese, fire sauce, roasted red peppers, corn, black beans, jalapeños and sour cream ($7.50).
The Neighborhood Hangout
The chill neighborhood hangout has a patio with tiki umbrellas and four porch swings that beg you to drop everything and linger over a little signature house-made sangria.
Sunday Funday: Swing by on Sundays for free lunch from the grill. For real. They’ve done hot dogs, burgers and even tacos.
(10) Noble Smoke
The Barbecue Beer Garden
This new new flagship barbecue spot by Jim Noble (owner of Rooster’s) serves up tasty pork, brisket, ribs, chicken and fish on Freedom Drive. The 200-person patio and biergarten out back has it’s own pavilion with about a dozen Suffolk Punch beers on draft.
Space: It’s massive. The building is a 10,797-square-foot former tractor-trailer garage, and it’s been upfitted to seat 200 people in the main dining room.
Barbecue: The pork is cooked both Carolina and Texas style in an 1,800-square-foot smokehouse. Noble Smoke has eight wood-fired smokers — six made of steel (Texas style) and two traditional North Carolina masonry barbecue pits (which consist of 20,000 bricks).
(11) El Thrifty
The Urban Dessert Garden
El Thrifty is a Mexican-inspired restaurant, bar (hello margaritas) and gaming venue from the team behind Queen Park Social (Reid Olsen and Joe Lariscy). It’s now open in Optimist Hall.
Layout: The 6,931-square-foot restaurant features an 85-seat restaurant, a gaming room with 50 lounge seats and a 30-seat patio with custom lounge areas for game-watching.
(12) Suffolk Punch
The Trailside Park
The combo coffeeshop, restaurant, brewery and fermentation lab features an expansive trailside patio with rows of picnic tables and retractable awnings to keep the space usable in both heat and rain. Bonus point: It’s located right on the light rail at New Bern Station, making it feel a bit like an unexpected urban park along the trail.
What we’re drinking: A Patchwork Orange, a super tasty American IPA (5.7% abv).
Deal: All beers are $3 on Thursdays and Sundays. In North Carolina, you can’t do “happy hour” specials, so restaurants and bars have to keep the same price for the entire day. So yes, it’s $3 beers all day on Thursdays and Sundays at Suffolk Punch.
The Getaway Lounge
This new two-story self-serve bar from the owners of Hoppin’ offers duckpin bowling and 72 taps. The 6,023-square-foot space formerly occupied by Midwood Cleaners is located a couple blocks down the road from Resident Culture.
Vibe: The taproom has a distinct Gatsby-inspired design aesthetic with lots of gold, navy and burgundy, marquee-style lights and luxe textures like leather and velvet.
Layout: The two-story space features self-serve taps, a mix of lounge, high-top and table seating, roll-up garage doors and outdoor patios overlooking Veterans Park on both levels. The duckpin bowling lanes are in the basement which opens out to a spacious lawn and fireplace. The view from out back makes you feel so far away from Charlotte.
The Historic Villa Courtyard
This isn’t just any old taco bar. It’s a taco bar located inside the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House, a historic Mediterranean-style Myers Park mansion built in 1926 and beautifully maintained today as a dual-restaurant “villa”. RuRu’s is located on the back side of the property with a gorgeous outdoor bar and patio in the old courtyard.
Deal: $5 “Friend Zone” and “Magic Mike” margaritas on Mondays. Choose from RuRu’s Friend Zone – tequila, agave, line juice, orange juice with a salted rim (normally $8.75); or Magic Mike (skinny margarita) – tequila, agave, lime juice, no salt (normally $9.25).
The Family-Friendly Communal Backyard
Charlotte’s first brewery is home to a sprawling beer garden that’s packed with everyone from toddlers to grandparents on any given good-weather weekend. Grab a seat at the seemingly never-ending rows of picnic tables.
What we’re drinking: Copper, a Düsseldorf-style Altbier beer that’s known as the brewery’s flagship (4.9% ABV).