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Best Charlotte Nightlife

AOL PICK from our Editors

Charlotte’s nightlife is one of the biggest draws of the city, especially among young singles and couples who can’t find the same caliber of entertainment and nightlife in other nearby cities. Sure, Charlotte has its dose of pubs and bars, just like any city, but the best Charlotte nightlife has an edge that sets it apart as a premier entertainment destination of the South. The city caters to everyone from the gay and lesbian crowd to country line dancers. You'll also find comedy clubs, pubs and piano bars. Most of Charlotte’s nightlife takes place in Uptown, which is home to wine bars, lounges and a plethora of other bars and pubs. South End is an up-and-coming entertainment district, and is the place to see and be seen in Charlotte. The NoDa District is known for its artsy vibe, and caters to an eclectic crowd. Things start to heat up around 9PM in Charlotte, and wind down by 3AM.

Ri Ra Irish Pub

Neighborhood: Uptown

What’s a city’s nightlife with a visit to an Irish pub? Translated into “good fun,” Rí Rá is a typical Irish pub, with hearty dishes such as fish and chips. Our favorite is the shepherd's pie. The cool bar offers a fun ambiance and décor. The pub survived a big fire in 2009, so they've had a facelift and opened up some new areas. Rí Rá is quaint and compact, as you might find at a pub in Ireland itself. Weekends can get rowdy here, with live music from local folk musicians and all the Irish beer you could want. On St. Patrick's Day, the place is so busy that you can barely get in the door. Rí Rá is great for a relaxing, low-key evening.

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The Evening Muse

Neighborhood: NoDa

At the Evening Muse, you never know what could happen or who will show up. One of NoDa’s great nightlife spots, The Evening Muse draws an eclectic crowd, from bankers to beatniks. A popular draw with artists and music lovers, The Evening Muse features everything from slam poetry to funk or blue grass music. In the spirit of the NoDa district, this low-key spot features local and regional music acts, including Brett Randell, Christy Snow and Drew Dixon. Being in NoDa, there is a heavy folk influence. Tickets for the shows can be ordered online or at the venue, although only cash is accepted at the box office.

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Wine Up

Neighborhood: NoDa

Wine Up is a favorite local lounge, and while it offers some of the usual bar fare, its best features are live poetry and jazz, as well as an extensive wine selection. Come of Thursdays for the poetry show (which can have some political tones), or read your own poems at open mic nights during the week. Some shows have a cover charge. You can kick back with your friends at the billiard tables, or enjoy featured live jazz. DJ Flemingo spins R&B and hip hop music a couple times a month. We come here to chill out with friends, drinks and good music.

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Buckhead Saloon

Neighborhood: Uptown

If you want to dance, drink and party, Buckhead Saloon is the place to go. This popular bar is known for cheap beer, live music and a 20s crowd. The scene here can get pretty rowdy. The dance floor is big and bulging with bumping, drinking and dancing forms. The coverage charge ($8) is higher than at most other locals clubs. Buckheads has extensive beer and cocktail selection as well as nightly drink specials. Local bands entertain on the weekend.

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Press Wine Bar

Neighborhood: Uptown

Press Wine Bar is just plain fun, and it's quickly become one of the most popular lounges in downtown Charlotte. The crowd here is local young professionals, and the scene is pretty lively. The wine selection is extensive, featuring wines from around the world that can’t be found at most other bars in Charlotte. Go on Tuesday and Friday when they sell $5 glasses of wine. Wine prices are generally pretty good at Press; you can find full bottles for $10. The setting and décor is chic, yet intimate, just perfect for a nightcap on date night. We also like their outdoor seating when the weather is nice. Press offers a light menu with sandwiches, appetizers and even a fantastic sushi selection. Try some of their sharable small plates, like the tasty gruyere fondue.

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