“I’ve lived in Charlotte for most of my life and have been reading the Charlotte Agenda since the beginning. I am home from college for the summer and was interested in nightlife in Charlotte, as it is not something that I as a newly 21-year-old know much about in Charlotte. A lot of my friends are coming into town for internships this summer… any ideas you have for after work fun and weekend excursions.” – Reader
When you turn 21, you have a lot to check off the list before you settle in to a regular routine that’s close to where you live. Consider this a punch list of Charlotte’s booze scene that’s not going to be awkward for the early-20s set.
South End — Go check out Sycamore Brewing. This is obvious.
EpiCentre — Go to Whisky River. This is Dale Jr.’s place. Ride the mechanical bull.
Montford — Go to Angry Ale’s. Get some food to-go when last call comes.
University — Go to Boardwalk Billy’s on a nice night and hang out on the patio.
Steele Creek — Go to Piedmont Social House and bowl.
Plaza Midwood — Go to the Thirsty Beaver and revel in its awesomeness.
It all depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for loud, pulsing music that you can feel in your chest and will leave you with ringing ears while you chow down on late-night pizza, the EpiCentre is your best bet. You’ll find places like Kandy Bar (great dessert), StrikeCity (watch out for the all-you-can-bowl deal on Monday nights), Whisky River (like Andrew said, Dale Jr.’s place) and Suite. If you just want something to do after work, head to Alive After Five on Thursdays. Be careful about what you wear when you plan a night at the EpiCentre, though – most spots have a dress code.
You can have a good time going out Uptown without venturing to the EpiCentre. Go-tos are Dandelion Market (start with a nice dinner and hang out – at some point, the tables are moved and everything turns into a dance floor) and the Roxbury (yes, like the movie. You’re guaranteed to have a good time here, even if you’re too young to really get the ’90s references).
If you want the bar experience without dealing with the ringing ears, head to Montford. I highly recommend Angry Ale’s and their patio if you like a low-key setting. Get there early though, because it fills up fast – especially on trivia nights (perfect after work activity!). Want to listen to music to music without heading into Uptown (and therefore avoiding the EpiCentre-type feel) to do it? Jeff’s Bucket Shop is your best bet. Karaoke, cheap drinks and free popcorn make the sticky floor irrelevant. Or, if you’re not into the idea of drunk people butchering your favorite songs but are into the idea of dancing under a disco ball, (the admittedly seedy) Southside is where you need to be.
Are you and your friends from Charlotte? If not and you all want to feel like you are, ditch it all and head to a brewery. There’s almost nothing more we like than sitting outside with a cold beer. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Sycamore Brewing and Triple C are all excellent bets.
At age 30, I am highly unqualified to comment on this question. So here are some places where I feel too old which means you’ll probably feel right at home:
- Brazwell’s – I swear it feels like no one in there is over 24.
- Anything in the EpiCentre – Nope.
- Tyber Creek – I can’t hang.
- Upstairs at Dandelion Market after 10 p.m. – It becomes a dance floor and is just way too much.
- Roxbury – It’s an 80s and 90s themed nightclub which is just my life but to you will feel like a fanciful retro throwback
If we’re wrongfully forcing your youth down your throat and you’re just looking for somewhere chill to hang out irrespective of age, I’d recommend the patio at Common Market (South End or Plaza Midwood), bowling at 10 Park Lanes, Craft in South End, City Lights on top of Le Meridien, Free Range Brewing in NoDa and Foxcroft Wine in Dilworth.
I would do the same thing every Saturday: Whitewater Center in the morning, Sycamore for an afternoon pitcher, then cheap cocktail on the Brazwell’s back patio, then Bud Light bucket at Angry Ale’s then weird dance floor at Southside or Roxbury. I would be that guy – Costa Del Mar sunglasses with croakies, khaki shorts, North Face jacket, button down. Feel free to judge.