Although Charlotte is a bustling financial and business center and has several top-ranked public schools and colleges, many visitors come to the Queen City to enjoy its nightlife attractions. So, what better way to end your busy week than to head over to one of their popular bars for a refreshing drink and snack as you chat with your friends or watch the latest sports games?
With several bars scattered across the city, you might ask yourself this: where can I find a bar that offers the best drinks and the most excitement? Luckily, there are several places you can find to have a great time!
They also have their own share of unique traits that make them stand out from the bars and taverns in your hometown. Don’t know where to start looking? Check out my list of the best bars in Charlotte for experiencing the best nights out. I’ll also highlight their top drinks you should try and whether or not they have any standout food.
Thirsty Beaver Saloon
1225 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204
The first entry on my list of the best bars in Charlotte is Thirsty Beaver Saloon, located on Central Avenue. Although it’s smaller than the other bars in the area, you can’t miss this rustic establishment’s silly beaver plastered on its outside walls. Thirsty Beaver Saloon also has live music and a jukebox to liven the place up.
Thirsty Beaver Saloon’s menu includes several draft beers and mixed drinks. I prefer their Tecate, Pinot Grigio, Yuengling, and Cabernet. Another signature drink they offer is Bloody Mary, perfect for sipping before playing a round of pool in their comfortable hole-in-the-wall lounge.
Dilworth Tasting Room
300 E Tremont Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203
My next suggestion is the Dilworth Tasting Room, located on the corner of East Tremont Avenue and Cleveland Avenue near the Atherton Mill shopping mall. This is one of the best bars in Charlotte, with a chic yet rustic environment that offers wine, beer, and small bar bites indoors or on their comforting open-air patio.
I recommend their truffled cheese melt panini, Uptown flatbread, cheese, and salami combo, or classic bruschetta as a nice treat as you order your drinks. My favorite specialty cocktail is their Fall Spice Bellini. Every Tuesday, they host wine flight nights for those interested in sampling the best bar specialties with a complimentary cheese platter.
Selwyn Avenue Pub
2801 Selwyn Ave, Charlotte, NC 28209
Do you prefer visiting a simple bar? Nestled in the Barclay Downs neighborhood, in the heart of Myers Park, Selwyn Avenue Pub is a casual bar serving popular comfort food. Its brick walls give the bar a rustic yet welcoming feel for anyone interested in a refreshing drink of beer or wings.
I recommend their Meatlover’s Pizza, Selwyn Sliders, Carolina Melt, and 50-Piece Wings, my favorite pub grub menu items. If you want to try their iced Transfusion Cup cocktails, I suggest starting with their Carolina Transfusion, Pink Drink, or Original Selwyn Transfusion. They also offer draft and bottled beers to those who love classics.
Merchant and Trade
303 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Located in the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, overlooking South Church Street, Merchant and Trade is a chic rooftop bar serving the best drinks, food, and panoramic view of Uptown Charlotte. It has four sections: an indoor bar, outdoor terrace, private terrace, and lawn. This upscale bar requires all patrons to wear formal attire to enter.
My favorite house cocktails on their menu are Tiki to Paradise, Royal Pines, Hand Signals, and M&T G&T. They also serve draft beer and wine by the glass. I also recommend starting with their chef’s selected charcuterie board and ordering their Triple Truffle Cheeseburger or Surf and Turf.
The Cellar at Duckworth’s
330 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
If you prefer having a fun night out in a bar with a classy vintage flair, The Cellar at Duckworth’s, overlooking North Tryon Street in Spirit Square, right across from Discovery Place Science, is one of your best options. This Charlotte bar takes inspiration from the speakeasies of the Prohibition era, letting guests immerse themselves in an authentic setting as they dine and drink.
My favorite signature cocktails they offer are Cellar Smash, Mai Tai, Blood and Sand, and Blackberry Mezcal.
The Cellar is also one of my favorite places to eat in Charlotte. I recommend the Kansas City strip, grilled shrimp with cheddar grits, or Cellar Burger if you’re hungry after touring the city for several hours.
Dot Dot Dot
4237 Park Rd B, Charlotte, NC 28209
Next on the list is Dot Dot Dot, deep within the Park Road Shopping Center, a short distance away from Little Sugar Creek. It has an upscale vibe with a classic speakeasy appearance. Mixologist Stefan Huebner and the rest of the staff serve enticing craft liquors and cocktails for anyone with a Dot Dot Dot Membership.
I recommend their Lemongrass Gin Gin Mule, Banana Daiquiri, Low Orbit Flight, or Cool as a Cucumber cocktail with an artisan cheese board or a small plate of sharable English Pea Risotto or roasted carrots. They also offer classic international wines and beers for certified members who want something simple.
3106 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Nestled on North Davidson Street, in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, Haberdish offers outstanding Southern hospitality for residents and travelers interested in the best food and drink in the city. It has a sleek and comfortable atmosphere, complete with a bar staff who mix drinks matching your preferences. It’s also two miles away from Uptown’s attractions.
I recommend their BBQ ribs, cast iron NC trout, cauliflower steak, or fried chicken tenders. They also offer a Nashville Hot Chicken Entree every Saturday and Sunday. Don’t forget to try their wide selection of cocktails and beers. Order their waffle sundae or brown butter pound cake if you’re in the mood for dessert.
1402 Winnifred St, Charlotte, NC 28203
Can’t find a bar in Charlotte that’s interactive? Hoppin’, overlooking Winnifred Street and West Bland Street, offers a unique twist on a night at the bar with its modern and minimalist feel. The wristband you receive after showing your ID and credit card keeps track of how much tap beer and wine you pour into your glass. After finishing, you get charged for the amount you poured.
I recommend trying their Pineapple Cider, Blackberry Cherry Hard Seltzer, Hershey’s Chocolate Porter, or Stella Artois. If you prefer non-alcoholic drinks one night, they offer root beer, black cherry soda, and various Kombucha flavors, such as hibiscus and apple ginger.
Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop
1320 S Church St #100, Charlotte, NC 28203
Do you want to experience a night of engaging entertainment? Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop, located on South Church Street, offers visitors a relaxing night with an outdoor movie every week. Their bar has 36 rotating taps with craft beer from local and global breweries and lets you take them home with their growlers.
Besides quality brews, Craft also serves cheese and meats sourced from their local partners to ensure a full flavor experience. I recommend visiting on Mondays for their flights and growler fill discounts, Tuesdays for their $3 local pint showcase, and Thursdays and Sundays for 15% off their bottles.
The Workman’s Friend
1531 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
The Workman’s Friend is a gastropub specializing in quality craft beer and delicious dishes located off the corner of Central Avenue and Thomas Avenue. It has an intimate and comfortable setting, emphasized by its open-air bar. Unlike some of the other entries on this list, this outdoor bar makes the place feel more spacious.
I recommend their Irish American grilled cheese, purple potato gnocchi, fish & chips, or vegan chili. In addition, I like ordering a smoked salmon or meat and cheese board to accompany my favorite dinner cocktails, such as Raspberry Berret or Bloody Jimmy. They also offer a brunch menu for guests visiting earlier in the day.
3120 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Nestled off the corner of North Davidson Street and East 35th Street, Growlers Pourhouse is another go-to destination for immersing in Charlotte’s nightlife experience. It has a laid-back atmosphere, and 14 rotating taps of craft beer, wine, and cask ale on its refurbished beer engine, giving it a machine-like feel.
In my opinion, you should try their Liquid Nitrogen Burger, Cauliflower Sloppy Joe, Roasted Oysters, or Pork Belly Tacos. I also recommend their Strawberry Pizza, Peanuts & Cola, or Spring Fever cocktails. Every Wednesday, they offer wings and beer cans. If you have room for dessert, try their brownie sundae or homemade ice cream.
Hattie’s Tap & Tavern
2918 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28205
Are you looking for a bar with a laid-back ambiance while treating your friends to a fun night out? If so, Hattie’s Tap & Tavern, located on The Plaza, is the best place for you. There’s plenty to do at this bar, such as karaoke, pool, and several other games on their outdoor patio. This establishment also welcomes dogs, making it the perfect place for hanging out after a long walk.
Hattie’s offers a wide selection of craft beers, wine, liquor, and cocktails for you to enjoy during the weekends or for any kind of party. I recommend asking for the bartender’s specialties and ordering their in-house snacks.
Foxcroft Wine Co.
With locations in the Greenville, Dilworth, Southpark, and Waverly neighborhoods, Foxfort Wine Co. is another of the top Charlotte bars because of its dedication to serving shareable small plates and unique wines. Its hanging lamps and wooden decor give it a refined look. They also host an array of wine dinners and other exclusive events.
Their best entrees are house-made rigatoni pasta, roasted salmon, seared scallops, and the New York strip. I also recommend their wine flights, such as Sweet Sips or Here Comes the Sun, where you can taste three of their finest wines. Finally, if you have room for something sweet, try their signature donuts or house-made chocolates.
VBGB Beer Hall and Garden Restaurant
920 Hamilton St, Charlotte, NC 28206
Can’t find a place to enjoy a drink or meal before heading off to the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater? Luckily, within walking distance, you can relax a bit at the VBGB Beer Hall and Garden Restaurant, located on Hamilton Street. This casual pub serves authentic German beer and food you can enjoy on any occasion. Be sure to check out their patio to play oversized Jenga or watch a volleyball tournament.
I recommend ordering their pulled chicken sandwich, boneless chicken bites, or totchos with any of their 30 local or regional craft beers. They also host Team Trivia on Thursday nights.
Tyber Creek Pub
1933 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Nestled on the corner of South Boulevard and East Tremont Avenue, Tyber Creek Pub is another popular place where people enjoy a good drink and Irish fare. It has a cozy and vintage vibe, complete with an outdoor patio for dining on a clear and warm night.
I recommend starting with their Salted Bavarian Pretzel, pulled pork sliders, or meat and cheese board and trying their Pub Burger, Tremont Salad, or Shepherd’s Pie. Besides beer and wines, you can also try their Elderflower Spritzer, Blue Iguana, or Any Given Peach cocktails. You should consider visiting during their Saturday or Sunday brunch for their Irish Breakfast or Corned Beef and Hash.
Thomas Street Tavern
1218 Thomas Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
Another place I consider an ideal option for a fun night out is Thomas Street Tavern, located on Thomas Avenue near Harris Teeter and the post office. This lively bar has kitschy decor but offers flavorful drinks and grilled specialties. It also has live music and an outdoor patio with a ping pong table perfect for playing with your friends.
I recommend trying their Bluedevil Brat Dog, Grandy’s Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli, or Thomas Street Turkey Burger. If you’re in the mood for a festive drink, be sure to look at their beer and liquor menus. My favorite selections are Bold Rock Cider, Basil Hayden’s, and Benchmark Bourbon.
Graham St. Pub & Patio
400 S Graham St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Graham St. Pub & Patio is another excellent option to consider if you don’t know where to get a drink in Charlotte. This mellow sports bar offers tasty street fare and craft beers in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, near Bank of America Stadium and BB&T Ballpark. It also has a rooftop terrace for private events with a scenic view of the city’s skyline.
I recommend starting with their appetizer platter and trying their turkey burger, buffalo chicken grilled cheese, or Baja burger with onion rings or fries on the side. I also suggest sampling their Pineapple Express, Rum Punch, or Honey Smash cocktails.
1957 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28204
Next on this list is The Crunkleton, located on East 7th Street, minutes away from Ivybrook Academy Myers Park. This bar has a stylish and brightly lit atmosphere, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a vintage drink or dinner during a sporting event. In addition, they host several tasting events where you can enjoy an array of bourbons and spirits. Bourbon Review also dubbed them one of “America’s Best Bourbon Bars in 2021.”
My favorite cocktails are Bourbon Bramble, Elderflower Sour, and Jungle Bird. Try their pan-seared salmon, sweet potato gnocchi, or fried chicken sandwich if you want to stop by for dinner. They also have a brunch menu.
The Cotton Room at Belfast Mill
144 Brevard Court Suite B, Charlotte, NC 28202
The last entry on this list is The Cotton Room at Belfast Mill, located in the Latta Arcade mall on Brevard Court. This bar has a cozy and laid-back atmosphere, replicating southern speakeasies. You can also sign up for their Brevard Whiskey Club, enjoy their membership incentives, or book a private event.
The Cotton Room offers several classic and specialty cocktails for you to sample. I recommend their Smoke and Mirrors, The Sandlot, Bella Ciao, and See You, Space Cowboy. On Tuesdays, they offer half-price wines. You should also visit on their Thirsty Thursdays or Black Fridays for special draft beer deals.
While searching for the best bars in Charlotte might feel overwhelming, there are several places throughout the city where you can enjoy great drinks and party the night away. Hopefully, my list helped you narrow down the top Charlotte bars you’d like to visit during your trip to the city by yourself or with a group.
Do you prefer going out earlier in the day? Check out this article about Charlotte’s best steakhouses for drinks and a multi-course meal.
Did I leave out your favorite bar or tavern? Comment below and let me know what makes it stand out.