Thursday, August 14, 2008

New EpiCentre nightspot

BlackFinn American Saloon, the newest EpiCentre venue, quietly opened last weekend.


I stopped in to check it out last night during the Young Affiliates of the Mint happy hour.

First impression: It's the uptown (upscale) sports bar Charlotte has long needed. It's big, open with plenty of seating in the two-level space and has more than 30 TVs.

Fox & Hound (the uptown location) and Picasso's should be worried come football season.

Fox & Hound's problem: it's dark and dreary with limited seating, despite its ideal TV setup.

Picasso's downfall: If you don't get a spot in one of the easy chairs in front of the wall of TVs, you're craning your neck to see any other TV in the bar.

BlackFinn solves all of these problems.

But aside from the sports bar aspect, BlackFinn's managers are aiming to make it a destination for business meetings for the older crowd.

"Business people are going to like our decor with its mahogany accents that make our dining room an ideal place to discuss a deal, either in the middle of the day or in the evening," manager Gregg McConnell said in a statement Wednesday.

Indeed, five different organizations were holding various happy hours last night.

BlackFinn has locations in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Cincinnati.

If you go, order a pint of Guinness. It's the bar's signature drink.

Not sure if the restaurant will get the over 35 crowd they're aiming for -- Suite and Whisky River attract a younger demographic and I expect that the same crowd will migrate over to BlackFinn.

The bar-restaurant will hold its official two-day grand opening party Aug. 22-23. Get your free grand opening tickets here.

Look for a full review of BlackFinn in next Friday's CLT.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds better than suite but not sure it is worth dealing with the cluster f*** of people for.

Anonymous said...

Doesnt sound like the "casual" sports bar. I dont want to have to worry about dressing up to go watch football. I think I'll keep to the smaller venues.

stephen said...

Their signature drink is a pint of beer? Thats not very creative. I'm sure they charge $6 for it as well. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Picasso's has a giant projection screen tv that they use on gamedays.

Anonymous said...

A "Sports Bar" is for men ONLY and should be dreary and dark. I want cheap beer, good wings, and male bonding. Damn the mahogony!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh woooow guinness as a sig drink!
Doesnt't every bar have guinness?

Anonymous said...

Ohhh wow just what I have been waiting for another coporate rest/bar in uptown that will charge me 10 bucks to get in the door on gameday also guinness as sig drink???????

Anna K. said...

I attended BlackFinn's 'mock lunch' last friday, amazing---great service and top of the line food options. I also went for a casual meeting on their opening day; Monday. Great beer, great people, great times.

Anonymous said...

No BlackFinn in Chicago.
We have real neighborhood tappys.

Anonymous said...

How is Chicago relavent? dont really care what you dont or dont have up there.

Anonymous said...

any place you would want to watch football besides your own couch has to be a dark seedy bar. That has cheap beer and food.

Anonymous said...

They have BlackFinn in Richmond, VA, it is really nice, good atmosphere, not at all stuffy like the description that they posted ("older crowd...mahogony") Hopefully their bartenders/staff will be better then the poor excuse for customer service that the Suite has to offer. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Picassos is a great bar watch games on Sunday. They will be slammed when people realize that they have to pay $6 for a pint and $10 for 12 wings. Picassos is a true definition of a sports bar.

Anonymous said...

If any of you knew something about Guinness then you will understand it comes in several levels of quality. BlackFinns will have the best quality of Guinness...which some places say they have...but they don't. If its anything like Bethesda's location, it will be much better than any so-called sports bar in Uptown Charlotte. Picasso's in uptown is the worse...East Blvd is much better for seating. I'm surprised its still open. They are only busy on Panther home games. Fox and Hound...never had good service since its been open and the food is like its service. Stool Pigeons...use to be good...it needs to update and get more TV's.

You don't have to dress up and its not going to cost you to walk in. If you don't like it...keep going to your crappy other so-called sport bars.

Kirk said...

I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

If some enterprising individual wanted to make some serous money they could open up anothe sports bar like the old "Scoreboard" on Independence. It was waaaay ahead of it's time. The same concept would be a true hit today. With high definition and great sound systems a "Scoreboard" type updated restaurant would make a killing.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Boy do I miss the "Scoreboard".

Anonymous said...

If you can draw your intials into the head of a pint of Guinness, and it stays there until the very last sip, you have a perfectly poured Guinness. If not, you have what most "pubs" pass off as the brew.
If you want the 35-plus age group to patronize your place, make sure it is far away from the 21-plus crowd. I don't think this place does that.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people want more chains in this city. Support the locals and you'll see a city transform into something worth being a part of. All three of the bars in the epicentre are just generic. Count me out.

Anonymous said...

smokin hot waitresses...don't know why other sports bars can't figure this out.

Eddie said...

Stool Pigeons is still daddy when it comes to football Sundays uptown.

Anonymous said...

Ah the old Scoreboard. I agree- we need another one of those. Fabulous place.
I will have to say Picassos uptown is great on game days. It's so close to the stadium that they are not going to have to worry about Blackfinn taking their business!!

Tick Williams Jr. said...

I agree with the comments that bemoan that another chain is moving in. This stuff is tired. New isn't better. It's so packaged and expensive.

You are 100% wrong about Picasso's btw, it's got the hugest projection TV of any bar in Charlotte, the perfect place to watch a big game hands down. (Although its often totally dead unless there's some college alumni thing goin on.)

This new place will be a trendy, expensive thing for months to come, Picassos and every other sports bar downtown, while very bland and boring, will still be better places to hang out. $1 beers at Phils, ah yeahh...

Anonymous said...

Charlotte wants to be world class and thus you get "sports bars" like this place. It is the furtherest thing from a sports bar. It's a place for Chad, Meagan, Tad and Buffy to go for a few beers and wine but also have the opportunity to "glance" up at the TV for a score.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte needs more local establishments, not chains. The "Up and Coming" title this city wants only means it's going to become like any other mediocre city in this country...

sip said...

count me out too. i think i'll stick with my Cheers - RiRa all the way.

Anonymous said...

My god, another sports bar packed with radiation bombardment tubes. How original!

Anonymous said...

"If any of you knew something about Guinness then you will understand it comes in several levels of quality. BlackFinns will have the best quality of Guinness...which some places say they have...but they don't." What are you talking about? Different levels of quality? I don't think at Guinness they say "alright boys, switch it, time to make the poor quality batch." Do you mean to say it comes in different level of freshness? If so, that is true for all beers.

Anonymous said...

Based on the dbags in the party pix section Finns doesn't seem like somewhere I'll be watching games. Picasso's on east anyday.

stephen said...

Scoreboard was way better than any current sports bars, although Picasso's on East is probably the best of the bunch.

Oh and get off your stool, Guinness doesn't come in "several levels of quality". All keg Guinness comes from the same place. And knowing how to pour it properly, while nice, is only for looks. It doesn't affect the taste at all. If YOU knew anything about Guinness, you would know that. Its an industrially brewed macro, not some mystical craft beer. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Love how all you clowns can pass judgement on a place that number one, isn't even open and number two you've never even been in.

You all don't sound like you want to have fun anyway - so please - stay home, so you bitch and whine all you want about all the places you don't wanna go. Waaaaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

yeah, after looking at the corwd in the party pics i sont think i could watch a football game there. I am not sure that anyone that would be there even understands football

Anonymous said...

looks like a good spot to watch some exciting country club sports.

Anonymous said...

Guinness quality DOES vary from bar to bar. Some places clean their draught lines, some don't. Lazy bars that don't clean the Guinness tastes very bitter.

That being said, "upscale sports bar" seems a contradiction. Mahogany? Uptown banking bores all think they're Gordon Gekko...

Give me cheap beer, good wings and a good atmosphere for a true sports bar.

Anonymous said...

this bar, as the article clearly states, is not for every football fan. its for the 35 year old, suit wearing, wachovia type who wants to smoke a cigar and watch the game in a more sophisticated atmosphere. is this where i would go to watch a game? maybe not but it looks nice and for the record, whoever made a comment about chains, suite and whisky river are not chains. that one poster is right, some people just dont want to have fun, they just want to be negative. if you want a neighborhood bar, there are plenty to choose from but this one is not a neighborhood bar. no one is forcing you to go there. if youre not the type that would enjoy a place like this go to riras, stool pigeons, etc. any regular bar.

Anonymous said...

A pint of beer as the 'signature drink'? C'mon, typical Bar Management Group lack of creativity.

Anonymous said...

Suite actually is a chain. The first one is in Cinncinati, ironically next to Blackfinn that is also there.