One of my favorite things about visiting a new city is discovering the best bars, brews, and creative cocktails the city has to offer. Charlotte, a busy southern capital city with a very youthful vibe, does not disappoint in the luscious libations department. If you’re looking for a splendid sip or an uncommon experience, check out these trendy Charlotte hotspots.
Image via Flickr by James Willamor
The Urban Sip
Like major cities everywhere, you’ll find some of the best bars in the city at Charlotte hotels. The Urban Sip on the 15th floor of the Ritz Carlton offers incredible views of the city, 90 wines by the glass, 35 types of Scotch, a fabulous charcuterie and cheese selection, and a Sazerac to die for.
If you’re looking for a more lively, hip experience, check out the W XYZ at the Aloft at Epicenter. Bright colors, avant-garde artwork, live music by the best emerging artists, and a Fiji Lychee cocktail you won’t find anywhere else make this a must-see Charlotte bar.
Beer is big business in Charlotte and so are taprooms, ale houses, and breweries. I like VBGB, a modern take on traditional beer gardens, and a one-of-a-kind Charlotte experience. The 30-plus hand-selected beers are delivered at a perfect 32 degree temperature—and kept cool on the “freeze rail” that runs around the bar. VBGB opened in 2012 and has already received national recognition for its superb bar food, beer specials, and all-around ambience.
Dolce Vita Wines
It’s not surprising that one of the best bar experiences in Charlotte is in the trendy NoDa district. Nestled among the quirky galleries, shops, and eateries is Dolce Vita Wine Bar; an unpretentious shop with an impressive wine list, a respectable selection of beers, and a huge patio that is perfect for watching NoDa’s diverse parade of humanity. The light menu is great for noshing and wine is half-priced on Wednesdays. Walking through NoDa to reach Dolce Vita makes the experience even more appealing.
Crave Dessert Bar
If you’re looking for the ultimate guilty pleasure, wander to Crave, the chic Uptown dessert bar. Featured are a marvelous selection of mezzes and small plates, a happy hour menu with a candied bacon ice cream cookie, a full dessert menu with decadent cupcakes, and a stunning panoply of custom cocktails no woman could resist. The Flower Child is delightful, potent, and refreshing. Ladies on a budget appreciate bottomless Thursdays, when $20 keeps your wine glass full all night.
Enso Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar
For an urban chic sushi bar and lounge experience, don’t miss Enso, the upscale Asian bistro. The bar’s late-night menu, huge sake and wine selections, flavored cosmopolitans, and $6 Cherry Blossom martinis—not to mention live DJs on Friday nights—make Enso the place to see and be seen in Uptown. The jewel-toned sashimi plate with a bottle of fragrant Fuki sake is an elegant adventure for the palate.
If your perfect weekend getaway involves seeking out rare and unusual bar experiences, you might want to book a cheap flight to Charlotte. Are you a Queen City resident or frequent Charlotte traveler? Do you have any favorite bars or beverages our readers shouldn’t miss? Please share your suggestions in the comments below!
Sheila Westin is a freelance travel writer and food blogger who writes about the charms, cuisine, and culture of the places she visits. When she’s not on the road, Sheila enjoys exploring the excellent restaurants and jazz clubs of her native Washington, DC. Sheila is a writer for the #HipmunkCityLove project.