Friday, March 20, 2009

25 TVs? 3 screens? It's madness!

Looking for a place to watch the madness this month? Head up north to Lake Norman Sports Grille. The Cornelius sports bar opened in October, and unlike other similarly named venues, it stays focused on the sports and leaves the dancing to the nightclubs.

The Scene: The bar-restaurant has the feel of a rustic lodge, with stone accents and weathered leather furniture – some of it left over from Solace, an upscale restaurant that previously occupied the space. The large granite bar (with purse hooks for the ladies) fits up to 20 people, in addition to seating at high-tops and regular tables in the dining room. A covered patio is popular in the warmer months.

But the focus is clearly on the TVs: 25 of them to be exact, plus three 120-inch HD projection screens. And if that isn't enough for the most avid sports fans, a ticker tape updates regularly with the latest scores, standings and race lineups.

The menu offers standard bar fare: half-pound burgers, blackened chicken sandwiches, wings and so on, along with a few surprises like fried pickles (which give The Penguin's a run for its money) and chicken and waffles. Appetizers range from $4.50-$12; entrees $11-$21.

Draft beers include Stella Artois, Blue Moon and Sweetwater and average about $4. The bar also has an extensive wine list – 22 by the glass ($7-$13) – in an effort to make women feel welcome, too.

The Crowd: Co-owner Dean Paul tells me turnout is driven by the big games. Tuesday night's NIT game between Davidson and South Carolina attracted alumni from both schools, ranging in age from 25 to 40. Wednesday night, the Lake Norman Junior Leaguers held a wine and cheese party in “The Den,” a private room that feels like a home theater, with surround sound, recliners and loveseats.

During football season, the bar draws fans of all teams; Paul and his partners jokingly refer to the place as a “nondenominational football bar.” And, being in the Lake Norman area, you can expect to see NASCAR drivers and their crews on a regular basis. Kasey Kahne stopped in last weekend to catch the ACC games.

The Music: If a big game is on, that's what you can expect to hear. If it's a quiet sports night, staff will switch to all-ages-friendly R&B, usually after 9 p.m. This weekend, it's all basketball all the time.

If You Go: Check out the Wings and Wii Wednesday promotion. Wings are just 50 cents and you can play Wii bowling in The Den.

Where are you guys catching the madness this month?


Anonymous said...

I am checking out the madness from the comfort of my living room where beer is about $11.99/case and I can create the menu. No lines for the bathroom. And best of all, no Carolina fans.

Anonymous said...

I'm catching most of the games at Hickory Tavern on Johnston Road. Phenomenal place to watch sports! Why do you seem to focus your articles mostly on Uptown and North Charlotte? South Charlotte / Ballantyne is a much better scene for the over 27 crowd, with many more choices!

Anonymous said...

What? This blog is pointless!