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    One of Crave Dessert Bar's many tempting treats.
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    Be sure to get a taste of Charlotte's thriving beer scene.

Happy Hours

Posted: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013

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Brewery Hop

It’s no secret that Charlotte’s beer scene is hopping. Toast your relationship with a pint and check out the scene on a Saturday afternoon. To keep it safe—and more fun—hire a town car and driver for the day at SilverFox Limos (prices start at $77 an hour) and pick your favorite spots for sipping local brews. If it’s a nice day, stop first at Old Mecklenburg Brewery for a cold glass of Copper in their sunny biergarten. After tasting in tap rooms around town, head to Heist Brewery, the city’s new brewpub where beers are served alongside innovative dishes like pork belly corndogs or lobster bisque in test tubes. Then end your evening just down the road at NoDa Brewing Company with a glass of their award-winning Coco Loco, a porter featuring the sweet flavors of chocolate and roasted coconut.

Take a Sip

Tucked away from the street-level crowds, on the 15th floor of uptown’s Ritz-Carlton, Urban Sip offers the ultimate spot for lingering over drinks while you soak up the views. A pianist often plays on the baby grand in the corner while couples and groups gather for premium wines or single-malt Scotches on the small sofas and chairs beneath soft lighting. And this month, for Valentine’s weekend the setting gets even more romantic as they feature live jazz on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, as well as a new “First Date” selection featuring a decadent all-dessert menu paired with sparkling wines.

Best Cellars

At Whole Foods, SouthPark’s newest organic grocery, you can do more than just bring home the goods. Sit and sip at The Queen’s Corner with its second-floor enomatic machine. Purchase a reusable card on the lower level—don’t fret, the funds don’t expire—and use the self-serve machine to sample one, or several, of the 24 wines they have on tap in the cozy, couch-lined loft. With a handy filing system to keep notes on your samplings, you and your honey can add to your list again and again.

Sake to Me!

Sure, the sushi may be the star of the show at Chef Cy Santos’ latest creation. Sushi Guru, but sampling the sake selection offers the chance for an exotic evening. Inside the simple restaurant you’ll find an intimate sushi bar, perfect for pulling up a stool and indulging in the flavors of the favorite Japanese brew. The varied sake menu includes options ranging from the house (hot or chilled, $7) to Chokaisan sake made with pure mountain water ($90). For those who prefer a hint of extra flavor, the fuji apple, lychee, and plum versions are smooth and sweet—providing the perfect end to an evening out.

Sweet Finish

Satisfy your sweetie’s sweet tooth with a dessert and cocktail at the cosmopolitan Crave Dessert Bar. The cupcakes here are served in pairs, so mix-and-match flavors like ginger lemon and cocoa cocoa, or branch out with a specialty dessert like The American (Smoky Mountain Moonshine apple pie with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream). And don’t forget a luscious libation as the perfect nightcap for a perfect evening. With seductive cocktail names like Fatal Attraction or Third Base, setting the mood won’t be hard.

More date ideas? Up next: Hit the Road.

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