Charlotte: Plaza Midwood
The funky, beating heart of Charlotte is one of the hidden gems of the whole dang South
Past visitors include rock legends and presidents. Present-day food ranges from Serbian to down-home barbecue. And the future is found in an old honky-tonk.
It ended, as most good nights do, at the Beaver. This was February 7, 2016, the night our city’s NFL team, the Panthers, lost the Super Bowl after one of the best seasons in history. Fifteen regular-season victories and two easy ones in the playoffs. When it was over, we all needed something comfortable.
My neighbors and I walked to the Thirsty Beaver, a honky-tonk with pool tables in the back and a party up front. The owners, who are brothers, strapped on guitars and played a twangy, sprinting mix of originals and covers like Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.” Watching people dance on the checkered floors of this dive, where most beer is under $3 and shots of Jack come in plastic cups, where Bartles & Jaymes share a wall with Billy Dee Williams, where a velvet portrait of Kenny Rogers guards the supply closet, and where a lighted Spuds MacKenzie watches over everything, a mere Super Bowl loss seemed trivial.