I cant promise you a Super Bowl like Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil did, but I can promise you a list of super places to party before, during and after NFL games in Charlotte.
The first Panthers home game of the 2012 season was Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, although the following places are great hangouts whether the team is playing here or on the road.
Bonfire Bar and Grill: You wont miss a single play thanks to 20 HDTVs and one of the largest HD projectors in the Charlotte area. The Bonfire bombshells are like TopCats; they serve food like youd get in a Panthers suite (including Sunday brunch before all 1 p.m. games) and $3 Panther shots. Two locations: 6751 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail; and 970 Branchview Drive Northeast, Concord (the latter hosts a very popular Monday Night Football party). 704-776-4655.
Hickory Tavern: With 14 different area locations, there is almost certainly a Hickory Tavern near you regardless of where you live in or around Charlotte. The chain offers a dining menu that unlike typical sports bars doesnt come straight off the Sysco truck, making it the perfect spot to eat a meal while cheering on Cam & Co. www.thehickorytavern.com.
Rusty Rudder: If you want to avoid uptown and game-day traffic, head up to Lake Norman. The Rudder has a view of the lake, along with NFL Ticket-equipped televisions (both inside and on its outdoor tiki bar). Plus, owners Eric Paul and Brian Johnston are the most hardcore Panthers fans this side of Catman. 20210 Henderson Road, Cornelius. 704-892-9195.
Taco Mac: This sports mecca has more TVs than Best Buy: 72 hanging from the ceiling, giving you a better view than the replacement refs. Beer choices are even more plentiful: 148 on tap and 250 bottled. As for food, all the tailgating staples are in play (theyre known mostly for their wings, as opposed to tacos or macaroni as the name implies). Locations in SouthPark, University and Lake Norman. www.tacomac.com.
The WFNZ Dog House: Men actually want their wives to send them to this Dog House, which is only open on game days and comes equipped with a full bar plus televisions for watching Panthers or other NFL games. Features of this great tailgating spot include live sports radio broadcasts, a DJ, cornhole, powder puff games and even marching band performances from local schools. 401 W. Morehead St., right across from the stadium at Mint and Morehead streets. 704-570-9610.
Blackfinn: Two-level sports haven at uptowns EpiCentre. 210 E. Trade St. 704-971-4440.
Cans Recycled: The old Cans Bar and Canteen (now 5th Element) hosts uptown parties after every home game. 500 W. Fifth St. 704-335-0002.
Carolina Ale House: This television-filled uptown bar makes the best boneless wings Ive ever had. 201 S. College St. 704-940-3600.
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille: Great place to watch Panthers and college football games. 911 Morehead St. 704-377-3808.
IceHouse: The South End brewery-turned-sports-bar has a ton of beers on its menu. 2100 South Blvd. 704-375-1128.
Sutton House Sports Bar and Taphouse: Dilworths resident sports bar has televisions at the tables. 1301 East Blvd. 704-331-0133.