05/31/2012 3:25 PM
05/31/2012 3:45 PM
When we pulled into the Sunoco gas station right off Exit 28 in Cornelius, I figured my friends were making a pit stop to fuel up or play the lottery. But then they drove past the pumps and into a small back parking lot, and there, hidden behind a fence, was Saeed’s Bar and Grill, a funky, laid-back spot that features karaoke every night, along with a host of other fun activities. Saeed Sasaie opened the unassuming joint in 1998, and over the years it’s garnered a loyal group of regulars. Since I moved to Lake Norman about a year ago it’s become one of my favorite hangouts. Aside from the regulars who start trickling in around noon, Saeed's is usually the last stop of the night for Lake Norman revelers. Things really get cranked up around 11:30 p.m., when partygoers, emboldened by a little liquid courage, take the stage and belt out everything from Journey to Hank Williams. I would never sing karaoke at an uptown Charlotte bar—I’m such a bad singer I lip synch at church—but Saeed’s has such a fun, down-to-earth crowd that it almost feels like singing in the shower. Saeed’s has one rule hanging above his bar: “No whining.” Pretty much everything else goes. I had my birthday party at Saeed’s this year and sang a Rhiannon song. It was terrible, but people don’t judge you at Saeed’s. In fact, after my performance a 7-foot drag queen who liked Adele took the stage and belted out a tune and the crowd loved it. If you like, you even show up in your pajamas. I lost a bet once and had to wear my fleece onesie pajamas there and sing a Whitney Houston song. If you’d rather stick needles in your eyes than sing in front of a crowd, there’s plenty to keep you entertained, including a sand volleyball court, pool tables, darts, horseshoes, video games and cornhole. Saeed’s also has a large beer selection, alternating draft beers weekly, including local favorites like Carolina Strawberry Blonde. Saeed’s also offers different drink specials every night, such as $2 Jell-O shots. A new menu was also introduced this year, which includes everything from cheese sticks and chicken wings to burgers, sandwiches and even chicken or beef kabobs. Owner Sasaie, who can often be found working behind the bar, says he credits Saeed’s longevity to developing friendships with his customers over the years. “I want people to feel like they're at home when they're in my bar. The goal is to just make sure every guest has a good time while they’re here." Saeed's Bar & Grill 20832 Catawba Ave., Cornelius 704-896-3633
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