Looking for a new brewery or bar to try out? Here are the 10 best new breweries and bars that have debuted in Charlotte within the past year.
Here at the Agenda, we’ve been tracking 100+ openings in the past 12 months.
That’s a lot to keep up with — and it’s our job. For you, we imagine all the opening coverage is bleeding together so we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 best new bars to open within the past year.
Barcelona Wine Bar – Popular Spanish tapas and wine bar chain with a chic European vibe. Targeting a November grand opening in South End’s Design Center.
Pinhouse – Self-serve bar going into Plaza Midwood from the team behind Hoppin’. The two-story, 6,036 square foot space will feature four duckpin bowling lanes and 70 taps. Targeting a February 2019 grand opening.
Idlewild – Cozy cocktail bar. They won’t have a menu — you just tell them what you’re looking for and they’ll make it. Targeting an early 2019 grand opening in NoDa.
Protagonist Clubhouse – This new brewery and taproom leased 1,700 square feet of space on the corner of North Davidson and East 35th streets (formerly occupied by NoDa Grocery). Targeting an early 2019 grand opening.
Lower Left Brewing Co – New brewery coming to Lower South End near OMB. The brewhouse will be 1,200 square feet and the taproom will be about 900 square feet. Targeting an early 2019 grand opening.
Cocktail bar from Gary Crunkleton, the owner of the well respected Crukleton in Chapel Hill.
Opened: December 2018
Space: The 84 seat cocktail bar and restaurant has four oversized leather booths on the left, seats in the middle and on the right, you’ll find a gorgeous 30-foot bar with a floor-to-ceiling backbar loaded with spirits from around the world.
Background: This will be Gary Crunkleton’s second cocktail bar. The original Crunkleton on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill has garnered national attention for its Prohibition-era cocktails, most recently being named one of the Six Best Bourbon Bars in the South by Garden & Gun magazine.
Membership: The Crunkleton Charlotte is a private club, and membership will run you $10 per year (available for purchase here).
Menu highlights: Go with the oysters, fried honey toads and 36 oz. dry-aged tomahawk ribeye.
Agenda story: Go inside The Crunkleton, now open in Elizabeth
Location and hours: 1957 E 7th Street in Elizabeth (same building as the Starbucks and The Stanley). Hours will beMonday through Friday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. andSaturday and Sunday noon to 2 a.m.
Wesley Heights’ first brewery
Opened: September 2018
Space: Right next door to Rhino Market, the brewery is housed in a roughly 11,000-square-foot space that has played home to an auto garage and industrial equipment supplier.
Must-order beer: If you’re only doing one beer, go with the “Escape Plan” — an American IPA (6.6%). 12oz pours run either $4 or $4.50 and 16oz pours run $5.50 or $6. Expect about 10 beers to choose from.
Food situation: Town Brewing has a full kitchen and mostly focuses on shareable small plates. Go with the veggie flatbread, smoked 1/4 chicken or their signature pretzel with malt salt and both IPA mustard and beer cheese for dipping.
Location and hours: 800 Grandin Road. Hours are Monday through Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday 2 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Swanky rooftop bar and lounge on the 22nd floor of the new AC Hotel
Opened: September 2018
Space: A 2,700-square-foot indoor space features a large U-shaped bar with floor-to-ceiling windows and 2,400 square feet of partially covered patio space with lounge seating and fire tables. The views are insane from all sides.
Food situation: The menu consists of small plates and shareables like cheese and charcuterie boards. It’s divided into “land and sea” options like prime beef sliders ($16), lobster club sliders ($18), tuna poke ($15) and crab cakes ($15). Most items are priced $12-$18.
Drink: The signature Nuvolé GT ($14) is a popular choice with a refreshing mix of Hendrick’s gin, Fever Tree tonic, strawberries, lime, mint and rosemary.
Dress code: Yes. The dress code does not permit baseball caps, sports apparel, sweatshirts, flip flops, torn clothing, athletic shoes or work/hiking boots.
Location and hours: 220 E. Trade Street in the AC Hotel / Residence Inn at the Epicentre. It’s open Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. – midnight, Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. and Sunday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
A self-serve bar with locations in places like Durham, Asheville and Charleston.
Opened: September 2018
Tap count: 118 taps — half of them dedicated to North Carolina beers and the rest featuring beers from all over the world. It’s the largest self-serve taproom in the United States. There are four taps of red wine, three taps of white and one tap of prosecco along with water and root beer taps.
How it works: It’ll work just like Hoppin’, but instead of a wristband you’ll get a plastic card pre-loaded to pay for up to 32 ounces that you swipe using QR code technology at the taps. It’ll be disabled after 32 ounces when you’ll need to recharge the card (so you don’t get sloppy).
Food situation: Food trucks on site daily on a rotating basis. Also, the space is dog-friendly inside and out.
Fun fact: The building, originally built in 1945 as a WWII ammunition warehouse, has served as a bakery and church and a warehouse.
Location and hours: 1212 Central Avenue, near Moo & Brew in the heart of Plaza Midwood. Hours will be Monday to Thursday 3-11 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. During off hours, the space will be available for private event rentals.
Upscale brewery, taproom and restaurant (Legion Brewing’s second location)
Opened: September 2018
Design: The focal point of the two-story, 12,000-square-foot space is the circular, 16-seat bar. The main downstairs level is about 4,000 square feet. I love the wooden bar, high ceilings and beer hall-style tables.
Tap count: 47. You’ll find 39 at the downstairs bar and 8 at the mezzanine bar.
Popular beers: Juicy Jay (so good), Project Pils, Freedom Park and Carolina Sparkle Party. There are also rotating seasonal beers and wines poured from four wine taps (one red, one white, one rose and one sparkling). If you don’t like the wine on draft, there are 12 to 15 by-the-bottle options.
Cocktail situation: Yes, there are cocktails. The liquor selection is focused on local distilleries like Great Wagon Road, Sutlers, Doc Porter’s, Topo, Conniption, Muddy River, Cardinal and Copper Fox. Legion SouthPark also has rotating ciders and a nitro brew line from Farmers First Coffee Company.
Food situation: This is beyond your typical brewery food. Legion Brewing SouthPark’s menu features include Moroccan spiced wood-oven-roasted chicken, flatiron steak, wood-oven baked pizzas, N.C. boiled peanuts and handmade beer pretzels.
Best spot: The second floor makes for a super chill hangout area. This 1,000-square-foot mezzanine level has its own eight-seat bar, bench seating, seven televisions, a long drink rail for overlooking the main floor and foosball, shuffleboard and darts.
Location and hours: SouthPark, 5610 Carnegie Boulevard. Hours are Monday to Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
One part bar, one bar market, one part deli and one part coffee shop-style hangout.
Opened: September 7, 2018
The space: It’s massive. There are seven different hangout areas — which I love. The most interesting seating at Common Market South End is the five-seat balcony overlooking the outdoor space and the tall bench on the patio.
Sandwich setup: You’ve got 29 signature sandwiches to choose from — or you can build your own. They also serve salads and soups.
Alcohol: You have plenty of beer and wine options at Common Market South End. Inside the store, you’ll find a large beer cooler, wine area including a sizable cooler of whites and roses and a 12-seat bar with about 15 craft beers on tap.
Location and hours: 235 W Tremont Ave. Monday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday 7 a.m. – midnight, Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. – 2 am. and Sunday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
1,900-square-foot neighborhood brewery with small-batch, experimental beer
Opened: August 2018
Popular beer: Island Hopper IPA (6.2%) – Chinook hops with notes of Citrus and Grapefruit.
Brewer: Pilot Brewing is the brainchild of Rachael Hudson, 31 years old and a veteran of NoDa Brewing.
Location: Plaza Midwood, 1331 Central Ave — near Midwood Smokehouse and in the same complex as the new Yafo. Hours are Wednesday 4-9 p.m., Thursday and Friday 4-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. The brewery is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
28,000-square-foot dual-branded Victory and Southern Tier brewery
Opened: June 2018
Scale: The massive space has 269 seats inside, 270 seats outside and an event space with a total of 104 seats. Never heard of Victory or Southern Tier? They’re a pretty big deal. They brewed roughly 255,000 barrels in 2017. (OMB did about 21,000 for comparison.)
Beers: Brewers at 4001 Yancey has 120 taps with 40 different offerings. Go with Southern Tier’s Nu Skool IPA and Victory’s Golden Monkey (9.5%, watch out).
Food situation: The brewery offers full table service and a restaurant-style kitchen operation. The menu is legit — it has everything from smoked salmon to BBQ plates.
Layout: There are three distinct open-air patio spaces — a huge outdoor patio to the right of the building, a unique space dubbed “The Ruins” in front of the building and a covered patio with a view of Uptown.
Location and hours: Lower South End, just down the street from OMB at you guessed it, 4001 Yancey. Hours are Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Casual rooftop bar between Bank of America Stadium and BB&T Ballpark
Opened: June 2018
Go for: Drinking before a Panthers game
Drinks: As far as drinks go, they’ve got prosecco and rose on tap, a number of local beers (including Legion, OMB, NoDa, Sycamore, Birdsong and Catawba) and a selection of 7 dangerously drinkable $10 cocktails.
Layout: There are three hangout zones: the rooftop bar (8-seat bar and about 10 high-top tables, triangular outdoor patio (about 10 tables, including a picnic table with a built in ice trough you can stock with beer) and an indoor bar (about 20 seats, a few booths and high top tables).
Food situation: The menu features a food truck-inspired lineup of handheld items like skewers, sliders, tacos and grilled cheese along with bar favorites like wings, nachos and loaded fries. Everything on the menu is under $15 with most items in the $8-$12 range.
Location and hours: Uptown, corner of Graham Street and MLK Boulevard.
Opened: May 2018
Signature Cocktail: The Soccer Mom Special ($6), a play on the childhood favorite Capri Sun pouches
Specials: $2 champagne on Monday, $3 big ass Bud Light drafts on Tuesday, $2 domestic cans on Wednesday, $4 wine on Thursday, $3 well drinks on Friday, $5 Jack on Saturday and $5 Tito’s on Sunday.
Food situation: The menu is just good old bar food fun with plenty of fried appetizers, burgers, wings and milkshakes. They have an appetizer called FRIES, FRIES, FRIES that’s just a giant basket of sweet potato fries, waffle fries and seasoned fries and I just can’t enthusiastically endorse this enough.
Location and hours: South End, 1714 South Blvd. Hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. , Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Two-story, self-serve craft beer and wine bar in South End
Opened: December 2017
Taps: 60+. Made up of beer, wine, rosé and kombucha and utilizing advanced iPourIt technology.
Space: The 4,600-square-foot space feels light and airy with walls covered in tile, moss and artwork on the first floor and couches, chairs and darts on the second, which overlooks the entire space. There’s also a small second-floor patio with the skyline view.
Location and hours: South End, 1402 Winnifred Street. Hours are Monday 4p.m. – 10 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Thursday 4 p.m. – midnight, Friday 3 p.m. – midnight, Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.