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amjohnson Jan 4th, 2009 12:33 PM

Charlotte, NC
My husband and I are planning a weekend trip to Charlotte in a couple of weeks and are hoping to get some recommendations on hotels/restaurants/night life, etc. We're in our mid twenties and have more of a laid back style. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

crest332 Jan 4th, 2009 12:36 PM

Do you know what area you want to stay in?

amjohnson Jan 4th, 2009 12:43 PM

No, this is more of an impulsive mini trip. We really don't know anything about the area. We would prefer to stay in an area that is safe...I'm not sure if there is a "better" part of town. We're from the Washington D.C. area, so we understand that 2 miles can make a BIG difference.

SAnParis2 Jan 4th, 2009 04:15 PM

I'd stay Uptown @ the Dunhill. That way you can walk to many things (like 4th Ward, the Museum, catch a show + many of the better restaurants are Uptown as well). Other places to venture include Noda (particularly if it is a Gallery Hop weekend) & South-end, which you can get to on the train.

DancingBearMD Jan 5th, 2009 05:04 AM

I concur with SAnParis2. The Dunhill would be the most unique offering but any of the hotels in Uptown (which by the way is Charlotte-speak for what everyone else would call downtown) would be safe and convenient, and have access to South End, particularly if you stick close to Tryon Street or College Street.

See what's on at Spirit Square and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

shormk2 Jan 5th, 2009 07:00 AM

Stay up town- the dunhill is a good recommendation, but the Hilton, Westin, Marriott, Courtyard Marriott, etc are all good as well.

For restaurants and nightlife, it really depends on your preferences. For laid back style, I would head over to the Southend- eat dinner at La Paz (great mexican with a flair) or Nikko (sushi). Then you can head to Tyber Creek (an Irish pub), TutuMundo's (martini's with house music), Pewter Rose (nicer restaurant with a nice bar area that often has a jazz quartet), Gin Mill (laid back bar), Tavern on the Tracks (great bar with good food), or Apostrophe (a new "lounge" type bar). Also, in the Southend, you can see who is playing at Amos's (they usually have really good shows).

To get to the Southend from uptown, just take the light rail down to the Bland Street Station or to East/West stop.

Another laid back alternative is to take a cab to Plaza Midwood. You could have dinner at the Penguin (famous hamburger joint with cold beer and a very long line- well worth the wait though). After dinner, cross the street to grab a drink at Thomas Street Tavern. If the weather is nice, sit out-back. Another dinner option in Plaza Midwood is LuLu's- an upscale bistro- think french with a southern flair. Round out a night in Plaza Midwood with a trip to the Thirst Beaver Saloon- it's a dive bar with a great atmosphere. The jute box is filled with old country music, but you'll find the random Run DMC cd in there as well. The people are welcoming and the beer is always cold.

As someone lese mentioned, Gallery Crawl in NoDa is the first and third fridays of the month. From uptown, NoDa is a short cabride away. I would do dinner at Revolution (a pizza place on 36th and Davidson) or Cabo Fish Taco (I used to LOVE this place, but lately it's been hit or miss- FYI). If it's gallery crawl, the restaurants will all be slammed, but it adds a festive vibe to the area. All the art galleries and bars and restaurants stay open later and usually serve alcohol. Dolce Vita is a very cute little wine bar (with a nice beer selection as well). They usually have decent specials and everything is priced moderately. The Neighborhood Theatre brings fairly large name music acts into a small venue for an awesome concert experience. If someone you like is playing, you should catch a show. YOu can also check out the Evening Muse- smaller acts play this venue, but they are usually all very good and tickets are fairly cheap.

Staying in uptown can be fun in and of itself. I just happen to like the little neighborhoods around uptown like Soutend, Plaza Midwood, and NoDa. I work in uptown everyday and live in Plaza Midwood.

If I am going out uptown, I love to do appetizers at the bar at BLUE. It's more upscale than laid back, but on weekends they have live jazz music and it's a great "date" place.

For dinner at a steak house, my preference is Capital Grille- Pauly, the bartender, knows his stuff. I've been in there dressed in workout clothes and dressed to the nines and I was treated just the same each time.

Runner-up steakhouse is Flemmings (skip Morton's and Ruth's Cris). Good food, good bar area. Flemmings is located in the Epicentre- the latest monstrosity in uptown Charlotte. In the Epicentre you'll find BlackFinn (an upscale sports bar- I've been disappointed with the servers lately), Whiskey River (Dale Jr's bar- wideopen and fun, just be ready to see lots of younger, pretty girls try to ride the bull- not usually my scene, but once in a while I'll give the bar a whirl), Howl at the Moon (a dueling piano bar- it gets too crowded for me and has a healthy cover charge, but good for a large group), PJ's coffee and lounge (fairly decent drinks, but the martinis at BLUE are better), and I think another bar just opened up in there as well.

For bars outside of the Epicentre, I like Connelly's (Irish Pub on 5th- much more laid back then some of the other uptown bars).

I'll be happy to give you more recommendations given your preferences, but I hope this is a good start for you.

shormk2 Jan 5th, 2009 07:52 AM

You'll have to excuse all my previous typos! It's the "Thirsty Beaver" on Central in Plaza Midwood- not the "thirst beaver".

To give you an idea where I am coming from: I'm 28, engaged, love some of the hustle and bustle of a night out on the town, but prefer laid back places. If I'm spendinig good money I expect good food. I like to go to the new, hottest, trendiest clubs, but I usually only last in there a limited amount of time- I hate waiting in a long line for a drink at a bar!

I saw in your other post that you are from DC. We have lots of friends in and around DC and they love visiting us in Charlotte- a lot of them are trying to move to this area. You'll find the restaurants are generally better than those in DC (why does DC and NoVa have such bad restaurants that are ALWAYS crowded????) and cheaper. Bars in uptown can reach DC prices depending on where you are, but in the neighborhoods outside of uptown everything is better priced.

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