Food & Drink

Attention Charlotte: These Are the Best Places to Eat and Drink in Plaza Midwood, Right Now

Published On 01/31/2017 Published On 01/31/2017

Best place to grab a sandwich

Common Market

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This beer/wine/sandwich shop combo is a neighborhood hangout to fulfill all yearnings. Not only can you grab an alcoholic beverage of choice from the store’s coolers but Common Market’s deli options to pair with these sippers are some of the best in town. In fact, the Pimento Deluxe, a panini smothered with pimento cheese, jalapeños, bacon, and diced tomatoes, is one of our top 10 sandwiches in Charlotte. Or opt for the “Hot Mama,” another favorite complete with havarti cheese, tomato, red onion, red bell pepper, and baby spinach. Then head on out to the front patio to get a prime view of the neighborhood action.

Hattie's Tap & Tavern

Best place to drink with the locals

Hattie’s Tap & Tavern

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This dive bar sums up the eclectic charm that this neighborhood is known for, and probably holds host to some of most chill drinkers in all of Plaza Midwood. Hattie’s provides an artsy, mural-filled patio spread outside, and old-school arcade games and plenty of beers on tap inside. Karaoke and live music on the weekly schedule make this a local hangout to top your list. Plus, the fact that it’s dog-friendly adds an even bigger appeal so you can drink the day away alongside your furry friend without the time constraint.

Courtesy of Soul Gastrolounge

Best place for date night

Soul Gastrolounge

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You can expect a line any day of the week for this trendy dinner spot (it doesn’t take reservations), but we promise, the meal and atmosphere you’ll find here are definitely worth the wait. Plaza Midwood is an ideal location for the dark and intimate setting of Soul, with new and innovative offerings complementing the diverse and artistic aura of the community it calls home. Elaborate cocktail concoctions like the Absinthe fire-featuring display will set the mood, and creative small plates such as the acclaimed pork belly tacos with watermelon salsa will get the conversation juices flowing for the rest of the evening. Tip: You can get a text when your table is ready, so hit up one of the bars next door to ease the awkward in-between time while you wait to be seated.

Zada Jane's Corner Cafe

Best place to bask in breakfast all day

Zada Jane’s Corner Cafe

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Though Zada Jane’s serves lunch and dinner, it’s their breakfast menu you should be after. It’s offered all day and features customer favorites like Booker T’s East Side Hasher (a sweet potato hash topped with eggs frittata style, your choice of meat selection, and Cheddar cheese) and Bunny Rancheros (eggs over easy resting atop black beans, home fries, a protein choice, and then covered with queso, guac, salsa verde, and sour cream). In addition to the awesome meal, the funky decor, great people watching, and fair prices of the featured local ingredients presented here will have you coming back for more. Just be forewarned, if you’re trying to get in on a weekend morning, you may want to aim for early before the late sleepers in post-party mode head over in hoards.

Best place for a brunch buffet

Bistro La Bon

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You can catch a great brunch menu at Bistro La Bon on Saturdays, but to us, the buffet on Sundays is where it’s at. Positioned modestly at the corner of a Central Ave shopping center, this popular restaurant cooks up fabulous, locally sourced dishes amid its cute, shabby chic interior. Not to mention, its Sunday spread just happens to be on our list of best brunches in Charlotte. Twenty dollars on your visit will get you access to eggs, bacon, grits, house-made pastries, French toast, made-to-order waffles, and more from 10am to 2:30pm. Since the space is small, grab reservations to ensure your spot!

The Diamond

Best place for late-night indulgence

Diamond Restaurant

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The Diamond, a diner that has been in operation since 1945 (and sits steps from the neighborhood’s now-bar scene), is open until 4am Fridays and Saturdays -- making it the prime place to succumb to your late-night cravings. Though new owners have taken over the location, the same legendary small-town feel can be found at this area staple as well as the old favorites to feast on. Round out your beers by doing damage on some comfort food like Pig Wings, deep-fried pork shanks rubbed with cinnamon-chipotle spice; the raved-about fried pickles; or The Diamond in the Rough sandwich -- an early morning masterpiece featuring bacon, eggs, and cheese stacked between two waffles. If that won’t offer up complete satisfaction at the end of a drawn-out drinking sesh, we don’t know what will.

Best place for playing patio games

Thomas Street Tavern

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Thomas Street Tavern is your destination for drinking entertainment, with everything to keep you going through a day of patio sippin’. The large outdoor setup includes table tennis, cornhole, and Jenga alongside plenty of tables, a Tiki bar, and firepit. You’ll find it full of friends catching up on a nice day, and when the weather isn’t up to par, you can just take it inside for some pool and foosball. Just don’t be surprised when you lose track of time amid the adult playground of activities.

Legion Brewing

Best place to get a beer flight

Legion Brewing

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Legion Brewing, across the street from The Diamond, is Plaza Midwood’s first and only brewery. And it’s a great one at that. Sitting in the former Brodt Music Company building, clues to the former occupant remain in the form of music signs and a century-old piano. Use the brewery stop as an opportunity to sample a variety of Legion’s great seasonal beers like winter pale ale or cranberry-apple sour. Seven dollars will snag you four 4oz pours.

Best place to cozy up with an Irish coffee

The Workman’s Friend

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This Irish pub offers up the coziest atmosphere in Plaza Midwood with help from a roaring fireplace, tabletop candles, and vintage chandeliers. In truth, the ambiance is one that the neighborhood seemed to be lacking prior to Workman’s opening in 2015 and we welcomed its arrival with open arms. The quaint and inviting atmosphere is a great one for friends and family to sit back and relax with quality Irish offerings -- not just in drinks but in food as well. Workman’s Friend allows you to add a refreshing twist to the typical beer options found at Plaza Midwood bars with pints of perfectly poured Guinness, glasses of fancy Irish coffees, or your choice from over 20 Irish whiskeys. Just make sure to pair your selection with a plate of shepherd’s pie or fish & chips for an experience that makes you feel like you just popped in off the streets of Dublin.

Whiskey Warehouse

Best place for rooftop drinking  

Whiskey Warehouse

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The rooftop bar at Whiskey Warehouse gives you a picture perfect view of the Charlotte city skyline to pair with your cocktails. Whether it’s a sunset sky you’re after come evening or some Carolina blue to coincide with your $2 mimosa on the weekend, the patio is where you’ll want to grab your day’s drinks when the weather is on your side. Split some wings with a pal and post up for an afternoon of fresh air, because let’s face it, you’ll feel less guilty about day drinking when you’re doing it outside.

Best place for Mexican food

Three Amigos Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

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Similar to its humble strip mall exterior, Three Amigos’ interior may not be anything fancy but that’s why we love it. This tiny establishment supplies some of the most authentic, no-frills Mexican food in Charlotte, it’s all served up in plentiful portions at a low price. Start with the house chips and salsa, share a huge helping of nachos, or opt to keep an enchiladas poblanos plate all to yourself. Complete the meal with a delicious (and huge) house margarita that is rumored to be the best in the city. (If you stop in on a Friday you can nab one for just $5, among other great weekly specials that are definitely worth checking out.)

Midwood Smokehouse (Plaza Midwood)

Best place for barbecue

Midwood Smokehouse

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Midwood Smokehouse is one of Charlotte’s top barbecue restaurants with its mouthwatering lineup of beef brisket, hickory smoked pork, pulled chicken, and ribs. This joint mixes old style with new to provide an option for everyone’s tastes, so whether its Eastern NC vinegar style or SC mustard you’re after you’re in luck. A large selection of sides and NC draft beers accompany the entrees, and you can expect large portions when ordering up your plates. We recommend giving the Well-Fed combo platter a go to try a little of everything, or another favorite, the burnt ends -- a BBQ specialty this spot excels at. The food, of course, is great at all Midwood Smokehouse restaurants, but the Plaza Midwood location is certainly the one to visit. This original site founded in 2011 is full of character and personality to match that of the diverse neighborhood it resides in.

Pint Central

Best place to have your taste at over 30 taps

Pint Central

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This craft-beer bar and restaurant, which opened in 2016, is a welcome addition to the Plaza Midwood social scene that will satisfy even the pickiest of drinkers. Featuring a food menu of European-influenced cuisine until midnight and a bar that’s open until 2am, it will be hard to find a reason to leave among the constant company of 34 taps, over 40 bottled beers, custom cocktails, and wine. Stop in on Wednesday for $3.50 drafts, and come warmer weather make sure to hit up the patio with your pup and some pals for a long afternoon of leisure.

Best place to order a Bloody Mary

Moo & Brew

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This newcomer to the community offers up the ultimate beer and burger combination. What we currently have our sights on, however, is its insanely monstrosity of a Bloody Mary. If you can’t narrow down a beer option from the 32 taps, this 20oz of pure hangover heaven should be your drink of choice. The “Large Marge” offered up on weekends for $18 is a meal in and of itself, complete with an Angus burger grilled cheese, fried green tomatoes, bacon, jalapeños, and more atop your morning vodka drink. Sunday Funday for the win, ladies and gentlemen!

Inferno Hot Chocolate | Courtesy of Central Coffee Co.

Best place for a cup of joe

Central Coffee Co.

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Central Coffee Co. on Central Ave has been caffeinating Plaza Midwood since 2009. Brick walls, a fireplace, and chalkboard art provide an artsy interior for your morning java, and coffee beans from a local Dilworth Coffee give it an even homier feel. Order up the Central Shorty to kickstart your day -- a 6ozlatte made with espresso, vanilla, and steamed milk. Feeling bold? Try a Spicy Mocha that surprises you palate with chipotle powder for a little more oomph. Just don’t forget to snag some zucchini bread for the road, a definite among Central Coffee regulars.

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1. Common Market 2007 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (South End)

This aptly named eatery is an eclectic common ground for locals -- a coffee shop, an all-day dining room, a bar, and a general store, all under the same roof. Offering cuisine for all hours, the market boasts a full service coffee station, a sandwich counter, and a lengthy menu for beer & wine. Browse through trinkets, T-shirts, and vinyl collections while you sip one of the bar's 13 brews on tap, or stop by for some live music on the weekends.

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2. Hattie's Tap & Tavern 2918 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28205

Fans of craft beer, giant Jenga, and golden retrievers, alike, call this dive a stand-out favorite. The expansive covered patio is neon graffiti-clad and dog friendly, offering side-walk chalk, corn hole, and various other lawn games for those not steady-handed enough for Jenga. Each of these affairs is best enjoyed with one of Hattie's 24 rotating beers on tap (most of which are North Carolina brews), or a mixed drink from the fully-stocked bar (try the Moscow mule, made with beet kombucha). With weekly events ranging from bingo and karaoke nights to live musical performances, both you and your dog will have little reason to drink elsewhere.

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3. Soul Gastrolounge 1500 1/2 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

For regulars at Soul, Mondays are always a treat -- the evening's soundtrack is crafted purely of R&B and soul on vinyl, hand selected from the restaurant owner's very own collection. The small-plate lounge is notorious for tasty, inventive house cocktails and upscale snacks like Asian glazed pork belly tacos to match. The no reservations bar is small and fills quickly, so get here early if you're looking to eat, while there's plenty of standing room for drinkers. The constantly rotating cocktail menu features (potent) libations like a Celery Spritz made with gin, Cointreau, house-made celery-lemon seltzer, and olive oil, and each night of the week, Soul hosts a different DJ, so patrons at this dimly-lit craft-cocktail-haven never run out of reasons to keep coming back.

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4. Zada Jane's Corner Cafe 1601 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

Whether you'd like breakfast for dinner, or dinner for dinner, Zada Jane's is the place to go. While all-day brunch fare is its forte, this lime green eatery serves soups, salads and sandwiches, careful to prepare vegetarian and carnivorous dishes on separate grills. The beachfront restaurant has both a full service barista, and a well-trained bar tender, offering the best of both morning and evening vices, from cappuccinos to nightcaps (the family-friendly joint can make a mean Shirley Temple as well). The Amaretto waffles are a favorite amongst regulars, made with thick-cut challah bread and served with orange butter and toasted almonds, but the menu offers an eclectic selection of both savory and sweet items, in addition to all varieties of fresh-baked bread. And for those awaiting tables, there is a fully-functional shuffle board court built right out front.

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5. Bistro La Bon 1332 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

Situated on the lively Central Avenue thoroughfare in Plaza Midwood, the rustic-chic Bistro La Bon serves internationally inspired cuisine in small plates format. Expect anything from Swedish meatballs (they're better than Ikea's, obviously) and pan-seared potato gnocchi to cured Iberian ham and a paella-like saffron rice with seafood. Brunch forgoes the tapas-like service in favor of a full-on buffet, where chocolate waffles, homemade scones, and Asiago cheese grits are waiting to be piled onto your plate.

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6. Diamond Restaurant 1901 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

Designed to resemble a classic, old-school diner, this Charlotte favorite is lined with vinyl-backed booths, formica tabletops, and a jukebox. Originally opened in 1945, the historic red-brick space is a Commonwealth mainstay, with a dedicated local following. Breakfast is served all day, the creative house burger and hot dog selections are impressive, and the restaurant is open until 4am on the weekends -- there is no time of day ill-suited to the famous Diamond "Pig Wings" (deep-fried pork shanks covered in cinnamon-chipotle sauce). The daily specials are reliably satisfying, the home made deserts are remarkable, and if you make enough appearances, the affable wait staff will surely start to greet you by name.

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7. Thomas Street Tavern 1228 Thomas Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

When it comes to kitsch and corn hole, Thomas Street Tavern is a reliable favorite. With a ping pong table, a fully-stocked bar, and a veritable selection of patio games, the outdoor space at TST leaves little to be desired. After a few hours of high-stakes table tennis and some heavy drinking, however, you may have to abandon your post to duck inside for a plate of "Dixie chicken nachos," topped with fresh guac, salsa, and jalapeños. The indoor space is dim and divey, lined with vintage neon signs and wooden shudders, and you can order drinks and food items from the eclectic menu at the bar. Additionally, the popular neighborhood joint hosts live musicians several times a week, both indoors and out -- a convenient soundtrack for competitive rounds of bocce.

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8. Legion Brewery 1906 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

At this Plaza Midwood Brewery, beer is as much a philosophy as it is a beverage. The brewpub stands by the fact that a quality brew with good company is one of life's finest pleasures -- beer is something of a uniting force. Located in the historic Brodt Music hall, Legion offers a newly-built, contemporary tap room tucked inside of a rustic, red-brick space. The spot has 12 beers on top, most of which are home-brewed, and all of which are local -- the roster ranges from toasty lager and oatmeal stout to Berliner Weisse -- and the flights are well-curated and balanced. And in the interest of good conversation over exceptional local beer, the outdoor seating area features a glowing fire pit.

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9. The Workman's Friend 1531 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

Named for a Flann O’Brien poem, this pub is an authentic Irish pocket in Charlotte, South Carolina. The warmly-lit local gathering place has 16 beers on tap (primarily Irish, of course), a solid selection of whiskey (also Irish), and a lengthy menu of traditional Irish fare -- think pork & beans or shepard's pie. But perhaps most importantly, the joint is staffed with chatty bartenders, all of whom have mastered the art of the Guinness pour (an Irish necessity). The place feels something like a public living room, with two fully-functional brick fire places -- one stationed beside the bar, and another tucked into the covered backyard patio area -- and there is more than enough Irish coffee to go around.

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10. Whiskey Warehouse 1221 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

With a rooftop bar, a whiskey-forward cocktail program, and an endless roster of quality local beers, Whiskey Warehouse leaves little to be desired. The skyline view from the expansive string-light-clad rooftop earns this two-story bar/restaurant some serious street cred in the neighborhood’s fast-growing nightlife scene. The ground floor is charmingly rustic, filled with leather couches, tables built of reclaimed wood, and vintage chandeliers -- and the staff clears space for both a live DJ and a dance floor on Fridays, to accommodate the sizable weekend crowds. The cuisine consists mainly of typical bar food -- soft pretzels, nachos, wings -- but drinking is the The Warehouse's primary draw. There are eight separate whiskey flights available, each carefully curated by the trained bartenders, along with several beers on tap, and a list of creative house cocktails, made to order.

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11. Three Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina 2917 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

Serving authentic Mexican eats in a cheerful, industrial setting, Three Amigos is a crowd favorite amongst Charlotte locals. The space is generally lively, packed with families taking full advantage of the weekly all-you-can-eat enchilada night, groups of friends chattering loudly over enormous house margaritas, and burrito fans indulging over the Mexican grill's hearty plates. The place serves breakfast all day, a snack menu filled with nachos, fresh guac and quesadillas, and a full list of evening entrées ranging from fajita and taco selections to seafood platters. To drink, apart from the famous margaritas, the bar offers an impressive list of beers and a variety of fresh squeezed juices and Mexican sodas. And while the drinks are cold, and the menu is wholly impressive, the home-made tres leches cake is truly unforgettable.

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12. Midwood Smokehouse 1401 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

With pit masters working 24 hours a day, an impressive selection of house-made BBQ sauces, and plenty of moonshine, Midwood Smokehouse is certainly worth the hype. The all-wood smoker is hand crafted with hickory logs, leaving the restaurant's hunks of fresh, local meat with a perfect, smoky finish. The slow-smoked barbecue favorites range from smoked wings to brisket and salmon steaks, all drenched in the famous house sauce, and all of which can be served atop salads or slices of thick-cut Texas toast. When you've mostly removed the rib-residue from your face, following your sizable carnivorous entrée, try a pickle-back shot of moonshine to perk you back up.

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13. Pint Central 1226 Central Ave, Ste A, Charlotte, NC 28204

The roster of beers on tap at Pint Central reads like a greatest-hits list for local beers. With over 40 bottled brews, and 34 on tap, the Southern spot is a mecca for North Carolina's most devoted beer fans. The dog-friendly patio and the casual, rustic taproom provide ample space to chat over cold pints of jalapeño pale ale, or some of the lighter local wheat beers, while those who are less interested in hops can opt for a house cocktail or a glass of wine, instead (the bar is fully stocked with premium Carolina liquor). The food menu consists mainly of Argentinian-American tapas, like chicken empanadas or kimchi-topped pork belly, and on Mondays, tacos are just 1$, when paired with one of Pint Central's numerous bottled Latin American Beers.

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14. Moo & Brew 1300 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

Craft beer, burgers, and barbecue reign at this hip Plaza Midwood that contrasts low-country décor against a gourmet food menu. Far from your average burger joint, Moo & Brew serves locally sourced and rich creations like the Farmers Daughter burger topped with applewood bacon, a fried egg, Cheddar, and house-made barbecue sauce. Beer options range from good ol' PBR to craft brews like Bell's and Legion.

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15. Central Coffee Company 719 Louise Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 (Plaza Midwood)

This neighborhood coffee shop, stationed in the outskirts of Plaza-Midwood, has served as a local caffeine-haven since 2009. The corner shop has a modern-industrial feel, with exposed piping, towering windows, and a wood-paneled espresso bar. Serving beans from Joe Van Gogh, a Hillsbourough artisan roasting company, this quiet, trendy locale is a particular favorite amongst laptop-wielding freelancers, looking for a space that is equal parts hospitable and productivity-friendly (with free wi-fi). That's not to say, however, that the café is not home to a number of locals catching up over spicy mochas or finely-crafted cappuccinos, paired with some of Central Coffee's fresh house-baked pastries (try the espresso chocolate cake). A quality option for take-out or sit down morning fare, this spot has games and art supplies for children, long couches for lounging, and secluded tables for coffee-charged customers, hard at work.