Food & Drink

Where to Drink in Charlotte For The New Year

Updated On 12/07/2017 at 04:10PM EST
Courtesy of The Thirsty Beaver Saloon

Thirsty Beaver Saloon

Plaza Midwood

No-frills Charlotte staple for cheap beer and good music
The Thirsty Beaver is the place to play darts, listen to Merle Haggard on the jukebox, and drink a PBR. Although construction is going on all around it, The Beaver has gained international attention as being an endearing middle finger to the development currently going on in Charlotte. Reminiscent of the movie Up, The Beaver is a true Charlotte staple. Stay warm all year long by drinking shots of Fireball and challenging your friends to a game of pool.

Hattie's Tap & Tavern

Hattie's Tap & Tavern

Plaza Midwood

Over 75 beers, Jenga, and Pappy Van Winkle
In a short amount of time, Hattie’s has established a cult following that is rightly deserved. Artists, bankers, and everyone else in between come to Hattie’s to unwind after a long day. Karaoke, a cozy inside that leads out to a spacious patio, a craft beer selection, and an ever-improving cocktail program make this a Charlotte favorite year-round. Also, for the Pappy fans… Hattie’s is one of only 20 places in Charlotte that procured a bottle… so get in quickly for a sample.

Justin Driscoll/Thrillist

Smokey Joe's Cafe

Cotswold

Ping-pong, pickle back shots, and people watching
Unless you are versed in dive bars in Charlotte, you may not know about Smokey Joe’s, which is dripping with character. The interior features a stage for live music as well as hidden nooks for cuddling with your sweetie whether you’ve known him/her for 10 years or 10 minutes. But it’s the outside that makes this a Queen City institution: The outside patio has a beach vibe with a sanded ping-pong area that’s fitted with multiple fire pits and television sets during the winter months. This watering hole is perfect for game watching or people watching any time of year.

Poprock Photography

Essex Bar & Bistro

Uptown

Small plates made for sharing and cocktails to pair with them
Nestled on the first floor of the Omni Hotel, Essex Bar & Bistro is gastropub and cocktail bar that is an excellent place for people watching on Trade and Tryon Streets. Sit out on the patio under the heaters and order the Rob Collins No. 2 with Hendrick's Gin, mint, and prosecco, or another of its seasonal cocktails. During the holidays, you can enjoy the patio view of the large Christmas tree in front of the Bank of America Corporate Center, as well as the lights around uptown. If you’re lucky, you may be treated to music and carols from street musicians.

Courtesy of 5Church

5Church

Uptown

Requisite first date spot with seasonal cocktails
5Church Charlotte is the epitome of swanky/sexy/cozy. Seasonal cocktails make this a local favorite as the menu is constantly changing. Head here for a dinner or for a quick bite and cocktail before exploring the rest of Uptown with your date. If it happens to be your first date (and/or first time meeting), opt to sit at the bar so the bartender can help break up any awkward breaks in conversation.

Growlers Pourhouse

Growlers Pourhouse

NoDa

Good beer, cocktails on tap, and delicious pork belly tacos
Beer, cocktails, oysters, and popcorn -- Growlers has something for everyone. Featuring a rotating beer selection, cocktails on tap, and a menu that redefines bar bites makes Growlers a great NoDa neighborhood bar. Sit at a table or slide into a booth with your beverage of choice and watch people walk up and down North Davidson St.

The Workman's Friend

The Workman's Friend

Plaza Midwood

Quintessential bar for fish and chips and a cold Guinness
Walking into the Workman’s Friend makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Ireland. The cozy, dimly lit Irish pub is perfect for fish and chips and a Guinness on a cold day. Once you’ve warmed your belly, head outside and warm your bones by an inviting fireplace.

Flickr/Brian Hancill

Alexander Michael's

Fourth Ward

Low-key neighborhood spot plating up comfort food
A Charlotte staple, “Al Mikes” is known for being a place to grab a drink and a meal with friends, loved ones, or even solo. Unpretentious with a come-as-you-are ambiance, eating at Al Mike’s is as comforting and as comfortable as eating at your own home. After you’ve had your fill of food and drink, bundle up and walk around historic Fourth Ward.

Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub

Crepe Cellar

NoDa

Where to have intimate conversation over good food and drinks
Wanna get romantic, but get the most bang for your buck in regards to food and drink? An interior with dark wood, wallpaper, and dim lighting sets the tone, while the food and drinks take the experience to the next level. Order a bottle of wine or a signature cocktail from Colleen Hughes (Charlotte’s Bartender of The Year in 2016) to turn even the coldest night into one of the hottest you’ve had in awhile.

The Broken Spoke

The Broken Spoke

South End

Cosy whiskey den filled with comfy leather couches
The tufted leather sofas on the two floors of Broken Spoke are perfect spots to get cozy, have great conversation, and order a cocktail. The sister bar of Great Wagon Road Distilling Company focuses on simple, yet delicious cocktails. Try a cocktail with house-made liquor such as the signature Broken Spoke with GWR Rúa single malt whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, and orange zest.

Courtesy of The Punch Room

The Punch Room

Uptown

Crazy good punch bowls and a $400 cocktail
Cocktails are what the Punch Room and head mixologist Bob Peters do best. Craft cocktails and signature punches have defined this speakeasy-inspired den, but Bob’s ever-changing menu is what keeps the people coming back. Try the Sour in Spanish Harlem (Vida mezcal, muddled lemon, lime, and finished with a wine float -- and one of Bob’s favorites), or if you’ve got money to burn, order the $400 cocktail... literally called The $400 Cocktail.

The Cellar at Duckworth's

The Cellar at Duckworth's

Fourth Ward

Strong cocktails and delicious food in upscale, vintage digs
With a sexy and slightly hidden vibe, The Cellar is guaranteed to please even the most particular palate. Head to Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse and descend a flight of stairs into a different era. Modeled after a speakeasy, this Prohibition-style cocktail and beer bar pays homage to drinks of yesteryear. The smoked whiskey sour and the Negroni are not to miss, but the craft beer list has options not seen at many local establishments.

Soul Gastrolounge

Soul Gastrolounge

Plaza Midwood

Unique flavor pairings in a cool, dimly lit lounge
Known for cocktails and food with unique flavor pairings such as watermelon and Asian glazed pork belly, Soul is a perfect spot for a date night or night out with friends. Cozy couches, thumping beats, and a dimly lit setting will have you craving a custom cocktail like the Barbados Slim (Mt. Gay Black barrel rum, Cynar, Demerara, and Angostura bitters – stirred).

Stagioni: Four Seasons of Food

Stagioni

Eastover

Italian cuisine and superb cocktails in a rustic villa setting
There is care put into every detail of Stagioni, and it was created to impress -- whether you’re lounging at the front of the house near the bar or in the main dining area. Yet the drink menu is just as important at Stagioni as the food menu. Warm, inviting, and overall delicious, the cocktail menu is broken up by categories such as bitter, sweet, and signature. The wine list is also impressive and worth a look if you’re not feeling like beer or cocktails.

Dot Dot Dot

Dot Dot Dot

Myers Park

Charlotte’s most sought after cocktails
Dot Dot Dot was easily the most anticipated opening of 2017. Stefan Huebner, one of the OGs of the Charlotte beverage scene, has created a thoughtful and unique cocktail program. For something different, order the Lily Wants a Pony (Tito’s vodka, riesling, rosemary, fresh lime juice) or the Good to Be King (Early Times 354 bourbon, Bonal Gentiane Quina, house-blend sweet vermouth, black walnut bitters). Word to the wise: to get in you have to pay a one-time membership fee.

204 North Kitchen & Cocktails

204 North

Uptown

When you want to pair your cocktail with a burger
From the beer and wine to the farm-to-table meats, everything at this Uptown spot is completely thought out. The cocktails have been created to pair with the food (strip steak, rack of lamb, salmon, burgers) and feature standouts like the Ballantyne (gin, elderflower, strawberries, and mint) and the Fourth Ward (tequila, port, lime juice, ginger beer, and bitters).

The Cotton Room

The Cotton Room

Uptown

Glasses of whiskey and throwback tunes
A welcome addition to the bustling Brevard Court, the Cotton Room is a casual yet sophisticated speakeasy in an area comprised mostly of sports bars. Up the stairs from the Belfast Mill, CR serves beer, wine, and cocktails while 90s hip-hop and other throwback tunes play nostalgically through the speakers. Whiskey drinks are a standout here, but the bartenders will steer you in the right direction if you don’t want to go to town on the brown.

Haberdish

Haberdish

NoDa

Fried chicken and fancy drinks in Charlotte’s best new restaurant
The team behind Growlers Pourhouse and Crepe Cellar did it again with this addition to the QC culinary scene. Haberdish is known for fried chicken and no-frills Southern food. We even gave it the honor of Best Restaurant 2017 in Charlotte. That said, the drinks are where it’s at. Grab your friends, family, or just take yourself on a date and saddle up to the bar. If you’re in a group, order one of the punches, but if you’re by yourself, have fun browsing the sections (aperitifs, spirits, after dinner, and digestives) to find your perfect cocktail(s).

Merchant and Trade

Merchant & Trade

Uptown

New kid on the block with incredible views of the city
Located on the 19th floor of the newly opened Kimpton Hotel, Merchant & Trade has incredible panoramic views of the city. The cocktail program is comprised of classic cocktails made with North Carolina-produced spirits, house-made mixers, and locally sourced ingredients. Even the beer served is predominately made in North Carolina. Be sure to show up a little early to grab a seat (all of which boast unrivaled views of Queen City).

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Food & Drink

The Best Places to Watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Charlotte

Published On 06/08/2018
A lthough Charlotte -- and North Carolina -- have been in the news lately for the sale of our football team, it will be another sport that will be a big part of the Queen City this summer: soccer. Charlotte is not only gearing up for the World Cup, but in July, the 2018 International Champions Cup will come to Bank of America Stadium as Liverpool FC takes on Borussia Dortmund (which you can score tickets for right here).
And although the USA is out, there’s no need to throw in the towel. The games still promise to be a ton of excitement and, well, a great excuse for early morning drinking. Due to the time difference, as the matches will be hosted in Russia, some games will start as early as 6am, but that’s not stopping bars and other establishments from opening early for fans and folks afraid of FOMO to watch. Here are some of the best bars in Charlotte to watch the games.

Jack's House

Elizabeth

Best for: Drinking the limited-release 1775 pale ale
Open since May, Jack’s House has become a go-to spot for soccer fans for many reasons. The first is that Jack’s is owned by, and located in, the same space as the Charlotte Independence, Charlotte’s professional soccer team and member of the United Soccer League. Although Jack’s supports the Independence and the US national soccer team, during the World Cup they will be showing all the games, but will be supporting all the teams that share the nationality of their players. In collaboration with NoDa Brewing Company, Jack’s will be serving a special beer, the 1775 pale ale, which was made especially for them during the World Cup. Also, please call ahead before heading out for the games as there are some games that have been rented out for private viewing parties. We were told that 90% of the games will be shown and open to the general public.

Courtyard Hooligans

Courtyard Hooligans

Third Ward

Best for: Hardcore soccer fans who aren’t afraid to show up early
Courtyard Hooligans is basically the “place” to go for all things soccer. Think people dressed up in their respective team colors with rabid excitement, basically how Americans picture soccer fans. Although Courtyard Hooligans plays other sports throughout the year, this bar is focused on international sports such as soccer and rugby. Hooligans will be showing all the World Cup games and plans to have drink specials available on game days. This place will get packed, as the bar itself is tiny, but never fear, as in the past, they will have TV options in the courtyard outside of the bar for those who can’t fit inside.

Rí Rá Irish Pub

Uptown

Best for: Fans of Ireland who don’t mind hanging with fans of Spain
Although Ireland was eliminated from the Cup, that doesn’t mean that Rí Rá and other Irish bars in Charlotte won’t be in on the fun. Rí Rá will show all the games during the World Cup and will have drink and food specials, including special features based on what countries are playing. Yep, they are going to be serving international food not normally on their menu during the tournament. Another fun fact: Rí Rá will be showing the matches on both floors of their bar, but one floor will have English commentary and the other floor will have Spanish commentary. GOOOAAAALLL!

Belfast Mill Irish Pub

Third Ward

Best for: Drink specials and raucous fans
Located in Brevard Court across from Courtyard Hooligans, Belfast Mill is an Irish bar that loves all things soccer. During the World Cup (and other large soccer matches), fans spill out from both Belfast and Hooligans into the courtyard in front of them. It’s also great to jump from one bar to the other, if you can get in. Gearing up for the World Cup, Belfast has already finalized specials with Heineken ($3 Heineken during the games) and Jägermeister ($5 for a drink and a potentially bad decision). During the games, they’ll be hosting different raffles and opportunities to win prizes, including tickets to the aforementioned International Champions Cup. During the regular season, soccer fans supporting the US national soccer team and Manchester United come to this spot to support their clubs.

Big Ben Pub

South End

Best for: Fans of English cuisine, beers, and clubs
Get your traditional English fare such as bangers n’ mash, liver, and bread and butter pudding while watching your favorite club play. Big Ben will be showing all the World Cup matches and will be featuring drinks specials from Heineken and Strongbow cider.

Valhalla Pub & Eatery

Valhalla Pub & Eatery

Third Ward

Best for: Hearty food, delicious draughts, and Liverpool fans
Valhalla Pub & Eatery completes the trifecta of soccer greatness that is Brevard Court. They’ll be opening early and showing all the World Cup games inside. Focused on Scandinavian-themed food, this is the perfect place to fuel up with a Norwegian burger (beef, pork, gaufrette potatoes, melted Jarlsberg, red onion, Norsk sauce, fried egg) and settle in for the day.

The Peculiar Rabbit and Jackalope Jacks

Plaza Midwood

Best for: Food and drink specials and meeting new friends
At the corner of Pecan and Commonwealth, there is a space that now houses Jackalope Jacks (still alive after shuttering its Elizabeth location); The Rabbit Hole and The Peculiar Rabbit. The Peculiar Rabbit and Jackalope Jacks will be showing the World Cup matches and Jackalope already has all of their flags flying for the different clubs. Two restaurants with different menus, but in the same space and both showing the World Cup matches. What’s better than that? Bounce from location to location to get a different feel and different food. Each space has multiple TVs so you won’t miss any of the action.

Connolly's on Fifth

Uptown

Best for: Cheap pints and no affiliation needed
Although not typically known as a soccer destination, Connolly’s does show many of the bigger games, including the World Cup matches. Expect an easy-going yet energetic crowd to show up. Look for drinks specials such as $3 pints of Heineken during matches. Unfortunately, the patio is now closed for new construction, but grab a pint in the loft and enjoy.

Tyber Creek

South End

Best for: Those who want to hang with no affiliation to the teams
The real question for Tyber Creek is whether or not the giant inflatable soccer ball that was in front of their bar for the last World Cup make an appearance? With TVs upstairs, downstairs and outside, Tyber Creek has plenty of room and viewing options for fans and for newbies. They will also be having drink and food specials throughout the tournament.

Neighborhood Theatre

NoDa

Best for: Those who can’t get into a crowded bar
Known as a concert destination located in NoDa, Neighborhood Theatre is also getting in on the World Cup action by hosting a free event on Sunday, June 17. There will be drink and food specials for those in attendance. Doors open at 7:30am with the first match beginning at 8am.

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