Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This week's party picks

Here's the best of Charlotte nightlife this week:


Project: Homebrew

8 p.m. 511 E. 36th St. Free (including copy of CD).

Creative Loafing's music editor Jeff Hahne releases his latest Homebrew CD -- a compilation of local music. The release party at Neighborhood Theatre will feature a panel discussion on the local music scene and a concert featuring some of the acts who appear on the CD.

10 p.m. 820 Hamilton St. $10 donation.

Support your furry friends at Charlotte’s first Bow-Wow Ball, a fundraiser for Project Halo. Morgan Fogarty and Brotha' Fred will broadcast Fox News Edge live from Halo at the N.C. Music Factory. A silent auction will feature items from Tiffany & Co., Harper’s, Palm Beach Tan, Pine Island Country Club and more. And you can bid on your favorite Fox broadcaster to be your celebrity dog washer for a day. All proceeds benefit the no-kill animal shelter and sanctuary.

Beards BeCAUSE

7 p.m. Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, 911 E. Morehead St. $5 donation.

Have superior facial-hair growing skills? Consider joining the two-month fundraising effort that is Beards BeCAUSE. The guys will kick off their growing season this weekend with their Clean Shaven Party. Live music from John Dungan, Pistoleros and Dr. Eu and Subdue’s. Beards BeCAUSE benefits United Family Services’ Shelter for Battered Women.


Wine, arts and food festival

11-7 p.m. Symphony Park at SouthPark. $10-$20.

Taste hundreds of wines from North Carolina and sample gourmet foods while listening to music at Symphony Park during the Great Grapes festival. Art exhibits will also be on display to peruse over your glass of Malbec.


Meet Liza, Reba and Madonna

8 p.m. and 10 p.m. 1919 Commonwealth Ave. $5.

“Illusionist” (read: female impersonator) Gigi Monroe of Atlanta comes to Petra’s to display her amazing transformations into such icons as Liza Minelli, Madonna and Reba McIntyre. Petra’s resident drag queen Roxy Moorecox will be doing her own impersonations of Cyndi Lauper and Boy George.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Where to watch tonight's game

Wanted to let you guys know about a couple of out-of-the-ordinary events going on in honor of tonight's matchup between the Panthers and the Cowboys:

  • WCNC will host a pregame special at Wild Wing Cafe at the EpiCentre tonight. WCNC's Greg Bailey and former Panther Mike Minter will be taping live before kickoff. The party starts at 7 and includes a wing-eating contest.
  • EpiCentre Theaters will be showing the game on one of the movie screens. Free admission; first come, first served. Prizes and giveaways. Specials include $2 Bud Lights and half-price wine; half-price chicken sliders. Cocktail waitresses will serve game-watchers in the theater.
Where will YOU watch?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This week's party picks

Here's the best of Charlotte nightlife this weekend.


9 p.m. Tyvola Marriott, 5700 Westpark Drive. $10.

Be a kid again at this month’s PlayDate party. Games include Twister, Connect 4, Pac-Man and Wii Bowling – and don’t miss the always entertaining hula hoop contest.

Anniversary bash

4 p.m. 19712 One Norman Blvd., Cornelius. $5 donation.

On the Roxx martini bar celebrates five years in Lake Norman this weekend with a block party. Free food for the first two hours, live music, a fashion show, silent auction, and of course great drinks. Proceeds benefit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Gimme Shelter benefit

8-11 p.m. Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, 911 E. Morehead St. $10.

Help raise funds for this winter’s Jingle Bell Ball at the Gimme Shelter benefit concert. Underground Detour performs live at this fundraiser for United Family Services’ Shelter for Battered Women.

’70s party

9 p.m. Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $10 in advance; $12 day of show.

Join Nasty Productions and metal band Iron Cordoba for "Funk You: A '70s Flashback of Peace, Freaks and Hair Grease." Prizes will be awarded in the SupaFly Guy and Foxy Mamma costume contest, and don't forget your platform dancing shoes for the Soul Train dance-off.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New to Charlotte?

Come join me, Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson and WCNC news anchor Sonja Gantt at the Levine Museum of the New South tomorrow evening.

Tommy, Sonja and I will be speaking as part of the museum's New South for the New Southerner series, and we'll be talking about why we chose to live in Charlotte as well as giving a sneak peek of the Observer's annual newcomers magazine, Living Here. I'll specifically be talking about what makes the city appealing to young professionals.

The evening starts at 5:30 p.m. It's $5 per person. Wine and food will be provided by Mert's.

Hope to see you there!

Film Fest parties, plus win tickets!

The Fourth Annual Charlotte Film Festival is already under way, but it's not all about the movies. Just like SunDance (OK, maybe on an extremely small scale), it's about the after-parties, too.

Mingle with the directors and producers of this year's festival lineup at these receptions:


Awards Celebration: After the awards are handed out, you can see the Best Documentary winner. 6 p.m. Whisky River. $25 (includes party and admission to screening).


VIP and Filmmaker Reception: Meet the filmmakers and watch "Amreeka." 5 p.m. BlackFinn Saloon. $25. 


After-party: Celebrate the end of the festival at Therapy Cafe. Show your ticket stub to join VIPs, filmmakers and volunteers for one complimentary martini and appetizers. 10 p.m.-midnight. 

Win tickets!

I have two tickets to Friday night's screening of Michael Moore's "Capitalism" (9:15 at EpiCentre Theaters). Want 'em? First person to e-mail me gets them. ***UPDATE: Tickets gone. Thanks for playing!***

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Live music Thursdays continue this fall

For those of you mourning the end of Alive After Five this week, fear not: Whisky River is continuing the Thursday night live music tradition with a five-week concert series called "Rockin the River."

Jessie James and The Carter Twins open the series Oct. 1. Tickets are $15. Proceeds from the series benefit the Dale Jr. Foundation.

The rest of the schedule follows:

Oct. 8: Rehab, $15.

Oct. 15: Gavin DeGraw, $25.

Oct. 22: Blake Shelton following a live taping of QVC's race show with Junior, $25.

Oct. 29: Phil Vassar, $15.

Package deals are available for $75.

For more info, click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stool Pigeons unveiling new look

The uptown sports bar temporarily closed Monday and is tentatively set to reopen next Wednesday with a new look and a new owner.

Greensboro's Rick Buckner bought the bar from CSM Restaurant Services -- which owns other Stool Pigeons locations around North Carolina -- but plans to keep the name and a loose affiliation with its namesake bars, according to manager J.K. Savilla.

Savilla says renovations include a much-needed audio and visual overhaul to add HD programming and plasma TVs throughout.

(Thanks to Rob for the tip!)

New bar set to open in Brevard Court

Courtyard Hooligans opens Friday, replacing the old George Herman's, which quietly closed in June.

The bar will be a European Soccer pub, serving up beers from all over the world, according to managing partner Kristian Pedersen.

The grand opening starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow and the party continues starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for the Arsenal game and even earlier on Sunday for the Manchester United vs. Manchester City game at 8:30 a.m. (No cover, but you do have to be a member. Sign up at the door.)

I give the guys props for coming up with a different concept than the rest of Charlotte's cookie-cutter sports bars, but I have to wonder whether there are enough soccer fans to sustain it.

What do you guys think?


Tonight's Alive After Five

Due to the expected rain showers tonight, Alive After Five will be held inside Whisky River.

Pink Floydian Slip performs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This week's party picks

Here's the best of Charlotte nightlife this week.


Mint After 5

6 p.m. 220 N. Tryon St. Free for members; $15 for nonmembers.

Toast the end of summer at 2009’s final Mint After 5, the semi-regular rooftop party thrown by Young Affiliates of the Mint at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design as a way for nonmembers to check out the group. Enjoy drink specials, free food and live music by Jared Allan and Co.

Blues & Burritos

6-10 p.m. 330 S. Main St., Mooresville. Donations accepted. (click on events).

For the past eight years, Homesley, Goodman & Wingo has held a party outside its law firm to raise money for charity. This year’s event benefits HealthReach Community Clinic and the Mooresville Soup Kitchen. Bands include The Part-Time Blues Band and Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen.

Jazz benefit concert

6 p.m. Presto Bar & Grill, 445 W. Trade St. $10.

Shelter Health Services, a free clinic for homeless women and children, hosts its annual benefit with jazz trumpeter Mark Rapp and Charlotte’s own Hipshack. A signed Panthers football will be up for auction and a raffle will be held.


Halfway to St. Patty’s Day

3 p.m. Crawl starts at Stool Pigeons, 214 N. Church St. $10 in advance.

Countdown to St. Patrick’s Day with this yearly bar crawl hosted by the same guys who organize the nationally recognized Rich & Bennett’s St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl. Eleven hours, eight bars, free T-shirts and, of course, drink specials.

Next week

Keep your calendars open Thursday for the final Alive After Five of the summer. Charlotte's own Simplified will perform.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This week's party picks

Here's what's going on in Charlotte nightlife this week.

Guns N’ Hoses

8 p.m. 210 E. Trade St. $5 donation.

Help support the Charlotte firefighters and police officers at this special 97/11 tribute and fundraiser. A $5 donation at the door gets you two free drinks. All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Fire Department and the CMPD Fraternal Order of the Police.


Fashion Week afterparty

10 p.m. 1820 South Blvd. $10.

Wear your hottest haute couture (or Forever 21 as the case may be) to Sunset Club as fashionistas celebrate the end of Charlotte’s second Fashion Week.

Poker tournament

4 p.m. 200 E. Bland St. $150 entry fee.

Put on your p-p-p poker face for Speedway Children’s Charities. The group is hosting its second Charity Poker Tournament at Jillian’s, featuring free food, pool, ping pong and shuffleboard. Have some Texas Hold ‘Em skills? Play your hand at one of the nine tables and help raise money for a good cause.

Buck’s Backyard Bash

6 p.m. 400 Hermitage Road. $100.

The Duke Mansion wants you to get our your dancing shoes for its annual fundraiser to help preserve and protect the historic meeting place in Myers Park. Fun cover band Hot Sauce -- singing the best of the '70s, '80s and '90s -- will provide the groovy tunes.

Panthers parties kick off Friday

Panthers parties begin in earnest this weekend with the first home game of the season (thankfully those preseason games were just practice). The blue-and-black celebrations start Friday and continue through Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff. Here’s a sampling:

  • Bud Light Prowl Party. The Panther Prowl is back at the EpiCentre for a second season. Head up to the Pavilion every Friday starting at 5 p.m. before a home game. This week, Bud Light is casting fans in a commercial for its weekly tailgate party that will be aired on the big screen at Bank of America stadium. Ladies, you’ll be competing in a Locker Room Challenge and men will face a skills competition. Must be 25 years or older and available for filming on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. The 20 selected for the commercial will get two tickets to Sunday’s game, entry into the Bud Light Tailgate (complimentary food and drinks at the corner of Mint and Morehead streets) and a Bud Light Panthers jersey. (210 E. Trade St.;
  • Rally in the Alley (Cat). Stop by Alley Cat on Saturday and you could win Miller Lite suite passes to the Panthers home opener. Or try your luck at paper football in the Finger Flick Challenge. It’s all part of a new regular party – hosted by WFNZ’s The Hitman – at the uptown bar. Other highlights include live music by Crash Box, a flip-pong tournament, a performance by the Alley Cat dancers and a free wing buffet from 8-10 p.m. (314 N. College St.;
  • Sunday Funday. Get to Stool Pigeons at 10 a.m. Sunday to pop the first $2 Bud Light of the season (hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere, right?), sample the new breakfast menu and get a prime table in front of the bar’s wall of TVs. You can also make a table reservation (for parties of six or more) by e-mailing (214 N. Church St.;
  • WFNZ Dog House. A staple before Panthers home games is WFNZ’s Dog House that sits in the shadow of the stadium at Mint and Morehead streets. It’s open only on game days when the WFNZ on-air team broadcasts from the bar and fans use it as a tailgating/meeting/game-watching spot. Just added to the back patio is a patch of lush green grass painted to look like a football field where fans can play cornhole. Big Daddy’s is among the vendors grilling burgers and BBQ for tailgaters this season. The Dog House opens two hours before every home game and stays open as late as two hours after the game ends.
Not a Panthers fan?

Looking for a spot to watch football where Steve Smith jerseys won’t block your view? A number of area bars cater to Charlotte transplants from the north.

  • Catch Michael Vick’s return to the NFL at Eagles bar Steamers. (1513 Pierson Drive)
  • Hail to the Redskins at Picasso’s Dilworth location (1301 East Blvd.) or uptown at Whisky River. (210 E. Trade St., inside the EpiCentre).
  • Hooters in Concord reserves its indoor patio every week for the Cowboys Fan Club. (7702 Gateway Lane, Concord)
  • Twirl your Terrible Towel at Steelers bars Dixie’s Tavern (301 E. Seventh St.) or Hickory Tavern’s Providence Road location (11504 Providence Road).
  • Watch Eli Manning’s quest for a second Super Bowl at Giants bar O’Shea’s (8120 Ardrey Kell Road).
  • See if Tom Brady still has it this season at Patriots bar Beantown Tavern (130 Matthews Station St.).
  • Will T.O. catch the game-winning touchdown? Check him out at Bills bars Tavern on the Tracks (1411 S. Tryon St.) and Town Tavern (200 N. Tryon St.).
Know of others? Post them in comments below.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dharma Lounge opens in South End

After months of delays and a location change, Dharma Lounge opens its doors this weekend in South End. I got a first look at the place last night at its Friends & Family party.

I first wrote about Dharma just over a year ago, when plans called for it to be part of the Silos Subdistrict. Owner Eric Pliner, a former partner in Tonic, says those plans fell through when the developer lost his loan.

Now in its current location at Tryon and West Summit, Dharma adds to the growing lineup of nightlife options in South End, joining Apostrophe, Common Market, Gin Mill and Amos'. (And opening soon in the same block is a 5,700-square-foot dance club.)

The Scene: The lounge -- designed by Pliner's co-owner Lora Campbell -- is heavily influenced by the pair's background in Eastern philosophy. Decor is minimalist -- a lotus-blossom mural and a giant gold Buddha are the focal points, while the deep red walls fill in the rest. Day beds swathed in sheer red curtains and scattered with throw pillows serve as cozy places to rest your feet or cuddle up. An outdoor patio is enclosed with tall bamboo and that natural, organic feel also is reflected in the branch-like detail along the bar inside.
Bartenders are plentiful and drink prices are shockingly low -- a mixed drink cost me $4.50 in a town where $6-$8 is the norm.
Pliner says that was intentional and will remain so: "We all know what's going on with the economy," he says. "For longevity purposes and to get people to come in more than once or twice a week, we want to keep prices low."
And it's more than a bar -- Pliner plans to offer free detox yoga classes starting the weekend of Sept. 19. The classes, which will be open to all levels, will start at 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

The Crowd: A friendly, funky alternative bunch turned out last night -- decidedly not like the people you might find at the EpiCentre. "It won't be a downtown crowd," Pliner says. "We know this -- we're a neighborhood lounge." Curiously, the guy-to-girl ratio was extremely high at Friends & Family. I'll be interested to see if that evens out as more people hear about it. Among the partygoers last night were high-profile attorney Bill Diehl and local songwriter Stephen Warwick.

The Music: A house blend with a live singer accompanying the DJ, That Guy Smitty. Pliner says that the lounge isn't tied to one genre. "We're not going to have one theme," he says. "We'll go from house to electro to drum and bass, and even some retro dance."

The Details: Dharma's grand opening starts Friday with DJ Riddim King and Tredamit. Saturday, Dharma will welcome a surprise internationally known DJ. The party starts at 8 p.m. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This week's party picks

Here's the best of Charlotte nightlife this week.


Mix at Six

5-9:30 p.m. Ballantyne Village. Free.

Check out Ballantyne's version of Alive After Five at the first of fall's Mix at Six series. Simplified performs.


Steelers vs. Panthers

The Panthers take on Big Ben and the Steelers in this week's preseason game. If you're a Steelers fan, head to Dixie's to hang with the rest of your Terrible Towel twirling peeps. Panthers fans, check out the tailgate party in Brevard Court, featuring corn hole, beer pong, flip cup and prizes. (If you're looking for a permanent place to tailgate this season, consider joining the Friends of St. Jude tailgating group at Church and Second streets. You can sign up at Angry Ale's after the game Thursday. The $125 membership dues include free food and drinks and are tax deductible, directly benefitting St. Jude's.) 

Thirsty Thursday

7:15 p.m. Knights Stadium, Fort Mill. $7-$13.

The Knights kick off their final home stand tonight in Fort Mill which means only one Thirsty Thursday left in the season. Get out to Knights Stadium and enjoy $1 beers and $1 sodas. 

RockHouse night

8 p.m. Corner of Fifth and College streets.

Start your long weekend off by knocking back a few cold ones courtesy of RockHouse Events. The professional partying company is buying two kegs at Buckhead Saloon. Just mention RockHouse at the door and you’re all set until supplies run out.


Charlotte Music Festival

3 p.m. 400 W. Tremont Ave. $10.

Fifty bands are set to pack Tremont Music Hall for two days of metal this weekend. Among them: Lucky Five, Final Curse and Junior Doctor. One ticket grants you head-banging access to both days.


Labor Day Luau

6 p.m. 210 E. Trade St. (in the EpiCentre). $5.

More than $500 in cash and prizes will be given away at Howl at the Moon’s holiday bash. Drink specials include $2.75 Coors Light, $6 Beach Bombs and $25 86-ounce Paradise Skyy buckets.


Race for the Cure Kickoff Party

5-9 p.m. Cans, 500 W. Fifth St. Free ($5 donation earns you a pink bracelet).

The 2009 Race for the Cure is a little less than a month away and Charlotte's affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation is working to build the buzz surrounding the big event. At next week's kickoff party hosted by radio personality Jacinda of 96.1 The Beat, guests can wear pink, make a donation and celebrate with friends. ($2 beers, $4 Red Bull vodkas and light appetizers will be served.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mix at Six back for fall

Ballantyne Village's popular Wednesday after-work party returns this week for a fall run. Kicking off this year's second installment of Mix at Six is Simplified.

Bryan Paschal of Paschal Promotions, who also helps put on Alive After Five and this spring's Piedmont Town Center After Five, is hoping to add to the live music and drink specials formula by putting on fashion shows and art exhibits as well as doing promotions and giveaways among the participating restaurants.

The fall Mix at Six series will run 5-9:30 p.m. every Wednesday through Oct. 28.

Here's the lineup:

Sept 2: Simplified

Sept. 9: Big Sam

Sept. 16: Josh Z and Company

Sept. 23: Coconut Grove

Sept. 30: Simplified

Oct. 7: Flashback-The Party Band

Oct. 14: First Call Kings

Oct. 21: The Remedy

Oct. 28: Simplified