Two years ago, I started this nightlife beat with excitement and trepidation. Was there really enough going on around town for me to write about? But Charlotte's booming entertainment scene kept me high-heeling it through uptown, Plaza Midwood, Lake Norman, Ballantyne and everywhere in between.
Today is my last day at the Observer. I've taken a job in Atlanta.
While my feet will thank me, I'll miss being able to watch the nightlife landscape in Charlotte continue to grow and evolve. Here's what I hope the future holds for the city's partygoers:
- I hope some women step up to try their hands at the male-dominated nightlife industry. We need them to show that a good bar doesn't mean scantily clad bartenders or turning up the music as loud as it will go. Sometimes all it takes is a simple wooden bar, a few stools and some good beers on tap (see: The Flying Saucer, Thomas Street Tavern or Alexander Michael's).
- I hope Charlotte embraces alternative lifestyles. This year has seen too many gay bars close (Velocity and the Eagle most recently; and the Garden & Gun Club went straight with its new Halo name), and they're often the ones to be setting the trends. Drag queen Roxy Moorecox is doing her part at Petra's, as is Dan Mauney with his popular Takeover Friday party, but we need more.
- And while the N.C. Music Factory and the EpiCentre attract the biggest crowds, I hope local partygoers continue to support people like Eric Sprouse, owner of Dilworth Billiards, who greets customers (and their pets) warmly by name and makes his cozy pool hall feel like home. Or Tommy Timmins, owner of Madison's, Connolly's, The Attic and Tyber Creek, who lets others try gimmicks while he and his partners keep things simple and consistent. Or the Wilson brothers over at the Thirsty Beaver Saloon in Plaza Midwood, where they crack open a can of PBR for you before you even have a chance to grab a seat.
Good luck, Charlotte. I'll be watching from afar.