You know the guy. He pulls up in a Pilot with car seat indentions and milk/goldfish stains in the back. He’s in “casual wear,” but it’s Lulu, and it costs more than your life. He’s clearly had a few beers in his time, but he can’t handle as many as he could back in the day. You recognize him instantly as he anxiously makes his way to the bar.
He’s a Charlotte dad, and he’s finally ready to try something crazier than Fat Tire.
Here are the 14 types of brewery/bar/bottle shop dads you’ll encounter in the 704.
(1) The “one of 12, overly excited, on his once-a-quarter date night without his wife” dad pouring out of a stretch Navigator in front of the Uptown Duckworth’s at 5:45 p.m. on a Friday. He and his fellow dads are about TO HAVE THEIR FIRST CASK BEER EVER OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! He’s from Marvin, and yes, they’re going to The Book of Mormon.
(2) The “no, seriously, guys let’s play corn hole, it’s fine” dad who made you spend your entire Panthers pre-game tailgate at Unknown Brewing waiting for next, giving his 4-year-old the necessary time to completely melt down and ruin the corn hole game. Over/under how many riots Little Johnny sets off with his mid-air bag deflecting? 10.5? 80? I’ll take the over. You’re hilarious, Little Johnny.
(3) The “shows up early for the 4 p.m. Hop Cakes release as if they’re Bieber tickets” dad who ends up sitting at the bar by himself with three 4-packs in front of him and checking his watch/phone like a lunatic. He has until 4:25 p.m. to buy his cans and slam a tulip (YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS ON TAP, IT’S SO FRESH, RIGHT?!) before he has to fight traffic back to daycare to get the kids. Before leaving, he cranks out 20 push-ups in the parking lot to work off the 10% of pancake goodness now searing through his veins.
(4) The “super relaxed, one kid at home with the sitter and a 5-day-old next to him splayed out in a car seat” dad. This dad is a genius. He learned with baby No. 1 that the first 2-3 weeks are actually a cake walk. He still enjoys movies, restaurants, mid-distance walks on the beach, and yes, breweries. This dad is confidently sipping a Fake Plastic Trees outside at Birdsong and the sun is dancing perfectly off both his glass and his wife’s breast pump. She’s no rookie this time around either.
(5) The “it’s cool, babe, I’ll hit Harris Teeter tonight” dad who insists on weekday evening grocery shopping sessions, even if it means driving an hour to the Ballantyne or Myers Park Teeters. These glorious beer havens disguised as grocery stores have completely changed the game. Sure, he’ll take the kids, but don’t ask questions when he returns with 12 growlers and the 340 bags of fruit snacks Junior and Suzie herded into his cart on their 100+ laps around the bar together.
(6) The “yikes, something’s not agreeing with me, I need to go to bathroom again” dad at Viva Chicken in Torringdon. Note: by bathroom, he means the Growler USA next door. The bartenders there try to play along with the game, but a human being can only take so many 50-year-old men who come in reeking of Peruvian food and asking for a taster of each of the 30 IPAs they have on tap. I think I like IPAs, but I don’t love hops, ya know? Whatdya got??
(7) The “drags his wife and three children wearing matching blue OrthoCarolina CSA Soccer jerseys into Good Bottle’s Good Morning breakfast on a Saturday morning” dad. One of the children is definitely missing their game that morning and dad is definitely getting divorced. Was it worth it? Dude, they were pouring Skillet Donut Stout and serving Your Mom’s Donuts, so, duh.
(8) The “trust me, these are the best upper deck seats in BoA/Time Warner Cable” dad who has managed to trick his family into sitting the shortest walk possible from Hop Drop and other Charlotte craft beer in the city’s biggest stadiums. Look, dad, Papa John’s! Look, kids, green cans!
(9) The “Huntersville is totally on the way” dad who insists on driving 45 minutes decidedly out of the way just so he can force his teenage children into enjoying Discovery Place Kids for the third time in a week. It’s a wonderful, hands-on museum! No, dad, we’re onto you – it’s right next to Crafty Beer Guys. Nice try.
(10) The “standing and sipping beer at the Southern Spirits pour station in Fort Mill while his kids beg for lollipops and play their Kindles on the floor of the adjoining liquor store lobby” dad. Yup, this is the worst dad. Good lord.
(11) The “wife is out of town so let’s round up some buds to do one of these brewery crawls everyone’s talking about” dad. This dad has no idea what he’s doing, but he’s heard that the NoDa – wait, guys, is it NODE-uh or no-DAH? – and South End areas are apparently exploding. You can find him and his herd wandering around aimlessly before finally cramming into an UberX Civic and heading to Olde Meck.
(12) The “my old college buddy from Portland is coming to town and he’s done his homework” dad. With the meteoric rise of craft beer, every dad living in or around a hot craft area has discovered that they have an old friend who is now WAY into beer and can’t wait to show him all the things he’s missing in his own backyard. He’s not at your lovely Baxter Village home for five minutes before dropping his bags and leading you on a 51-brewery tour over the next four hours. How have you not stood in line to try the Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout yet, Doug?!? I don’t know, Todd… maybe because I live in South Carolina.
(13) The “overly confident and trying to seem low-maintenance at Sycamore and convinced his toddler-aged kids are perfectly fine playing table tennis on their own but really they’re smashing every other ball into the same group of annoyed 24-year-olds” dad. Look, we get it, you’re not a helicopter parent. Your shades look super trendy and that Countryside smells delicious, but come on, player – rein in those monsters.
(14) The “I live in Ashley Heights and am leisurely sipping beer with my Common Market Sunday brunch while my model children color and read quietly” dad. Who are you? How? Can you teach me? Can I have a sip?
Note: Your author has been each of these dads on at least one occasion. It may not make him Dad of the Year, but it definitely puts him squarely in the top 37% of the coolest people in Ballantyne.