With summer in full swing, people are out playing on the lake by day and enjoying the area’s many entertainment options at night. While there are plenty of great destinations to choose from, Davidson and Mooresville stand out as they both offer pedestrian-friendly downtowns where you can easily stroll to various restaurants, bars, and clubs. So for your next night out, leave the car behind and explore these playful entertainment districts.
Flatiron Kitchen and TaphouseLocated in the heart of downtown at Stowe’s Corner, this neighborhood restaurant is a popular destination thanks to its delicious menu—from American Kobe beef and Kurobuta pork to salmon salad—and expansive beer list. Be sure to check out the “Tap Tower” at the bar, which dispenses a wide variety of craft brews from North Carolina and around the world. www.flatirononmain.com
Toast CaféWith its charming, laid-back ambiance and expertly crafted meals, Toast is a wonderful place to grab lunch or dinner. Entrees include mouth-watering dishes like shrimp and tilapia ceviche and petite meatloaf. If the weather is favorable, enjoy dinner and cocktails at the outside seating area around back, where the tranquil, shady setting creates the perfect atmosphere for quality time with friends and family. www.toasthousecafe.com
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Summit CoffeeAn iconic piece of the Davidson fabric, Summit Coffee opened in 1998 with the mission “to provide good beans, good people and a good environment.” It does just that by hosting book clubs, business meetings, and raising money for local charitable organizations. It’s also a cool place to hang out, with en expansive back deck, live music Thursday through Saturday, and a funky little upstairs bar that serves beer and wine. And the baristas serve some of the best coffee in town, from such faraway locales as Nicaragua and East Timor. www.summitcoffee.com
Brickhouse TavernJust a block off Main Street, Brickhouse Tavern is located in a beautifully refurbished 120-year-old cotton mill. It has an eclectic menu including St. Louis slow-cooked ribs, pasta dishes, and nearly 20 different pizzas. There’s also a lively tavern with 50 beers on draft and regular drink specials. On the weekend the Brickhouse is often standing-room only, so get there a little early and snag the comfy couches in back. www.brickhousetavern.com
Our Town CinemasSkip the long lines and overpriced snacks and tickets that await you at the typical multiplex and head to Our Town Cinemas instead. This quaint four-screen theater is located about a block from downtown and shows both indy flicks as well as first-run movies. Arrive early and grab a seat at one of the bistro tables where, while you enjoy the movie, you can nosh on pizzas, cheeseburgers, sandwiches, wraps, beer, and wine. www.ourtowncinemas.com
Epic ChophouseLocated inside a beautifully resorted mid-1800s building that over the years has been everything from a saloon to a department store, Epic Chophouse is an elegant restaurant nestled in the heart of downtown. It offers an upscale selection of steak, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, as well as a sophisticated wine menu. Try to get a table by the big front bay windows that look out onto Main Street. www.epicchophouse.com
The Bathtub GinThis funky little bar is a popular hangout among locals, with a laid-back, no-frills atmosphere, and affordable drinks. There’s pool, darts, and live music from local and regional acts nearly every night. And if the mood strikes, you and your friends can channel your inner rock gods during karaoke nights. Make sure to bring your camera to savor those memorable experiences later. www.welcometothetub.com
J.J. Wasabi’sOffering irresistibly tasty Asian cuisine with an American flair, J.J Wasabi’s provides patrons with a huge outdoor seating area to enjoy the summer weather and watch folks stroll by. Inside, the lighting is dim and the walls are adorned with funky local artwork to set the cool and casual mood. But the real highlight here is the sizeable sushi selection, including the popular Race City Rolls. www.jjwasabis.com
The Daily GrindThis hip little restaurant has a menu full of tasty, health-conscious dishes. The old wooden floors and staircase leading to the second floor give it a rustic, homey feel. The Daily Grind offers patrons an ambiance that is exactly what you would expect for a neighborhood restaurant: comfortable, convenient, and familiar. www.facebook.com/DailyGrindMooresville
202 N. MainLocated in an immaculately restored circa-1900 Victorian building with distressed wood floors and brick walls, this is an ideal spot to enjoy a laid-back get together with friends. In addition to a vast lineup of wines, 202 N. Main also features live music on the weekends and wine tastings Thursday evening at 7 p.m. during which you can indulge in vino varieties from around the world. www.202wines.com