Food and Drink

Going to see Elton John? Here are our favorite spots for dinner before you go

Elton John's Farewell tour stops at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Nov. 6.
Elton John's Farewell tour stops at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Nov. 6. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

Heading to a concert or play soon? Nothing is worse than getting to the venue, getting comfortable and then having to get up for snacks and drinks. You may just miss the best part of the show, and no one wants that.

As you plan for your outing, leave a little earlier to give yourself time to squeeze in a pre-show spot close to your venue. Stopping by one of these local establishments beforehand can turn your experience from good to great:

Bojangles Coliseum/ Ovens Auditorium

2700 E. Independence Blvd.

Where to pre-game

  • Soul Gastrolounge: Make your way to Plaza Midwood before spending the evening at your event. Located at 1500-B Central Ave., this eclectic bar and lounge serves some of the best Asian-glazed pork belly tacos in the city.

  • Legion Brewing: Just a short drive away at 1906 Commonwealth Ave., stop by this local brewery for the sun-dried tomato artichoke dip paired with your favorite beer on tap.

  • Bean Vegan Cuisine: Just across the road at 3001 E. Independence Blvd., this all-vegan eatery is the perfect place to grab some queso dip or fried tofu fingers.

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The Charlotte Checkers faces the Springfield Thunderbirds in a two-game stretch on Nov. 8-9. Charlotte Observer file photo

Upcoming shows to check out: The Charlotte Checkers will take on the Springfield Thunderbirds on Nov. 8-9. Over at Ovens, The Jersey Boys will be live Dec. 6-8.

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The Jersey Boys play at Ovens Auditorium from Dec. 6-8. Courtesy of Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

Fun fact: Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium have given themselves a nickname, The Charlotte Ledger has reported. Try this one on for size: “The BOplex.”

Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

Where to pre-game

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Courtesy of Bocao Sushi


  • Bocao sushi: This newcomer is a great place to grab a quick cocktail or appetizer before the show. Whether it’s a glass of red sangria or Chef El Ninja’s ceviche, you won’t be disappointed. Address: 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., Suite C1.

  • La Revolucion: This Mexican eatery is within a short walk from the venue’s gate. An order of nachos or the fajita fries (french fries with queso, fajita steak, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo) are the perfect pre-show snack. Address: 900 NC Music Factory Blvd.

  • 8.2.0 Pizza: Grab a slice of pizza or fried ravioli before you head to the venue for your concert. Find this spot at 820 Hamilton St., Suite A3.

Photo by: Alex Cason Photography (www.alexcasonphotography.com)
David Gray is playing at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre on Aug. 13, 2020. Alex Cason

Upcoming shows to check out: While most shows for next year’s season haven’t been announced, you can plan to check out artist David Gray on Aug. 13, 2020.

Neighborhood Theatre

511 E. 36th St.

Where to pre-game

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Haberdish is close to Neighborhood Theatre if you're looking for somewhere to stop for a cocktail. Courtesy of Haberdish


  • Haberdish: Stop by this Southern-inspired eatery before your concert. Whether you snack on the restaurant’s smoked deviled eggs or sip on one of its craft cocktails, your night will start off perfectly. It’s located just down the road at 3106 N. Davidson St.

  • Cabo Fish Taco: Nothing says snack like chips and guac or queso dip. Pair it with the Queen City margarita, featuring El Jimador Silver tequila, triple sec, blood orange purée and house mix with a splash of Sprite. Address: 3201 N. Davidson St.

  • Sabor Latin Street Grill: If your show happens to be on a Tuesday, you’ll definitely want to pop in for $1 tacos. Looking for a pre-show cocktail only? Sabor has drink specials nearly every night. Address: 3205 N. Davidson St.

Upcoming shows to check out:, On Nov. 9, Intrepid Artists International will host its 25th anniversary party.

Fun fact: Did you know Sabor has a secret menu?

PNC Music Pavilion

707 Pavilion Blvd.

Where to pre-game

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Boardwalk Billy’s is close to PNC Music Pavilion and makes an easy stop for a burger before a show. Melissa Oyler


  • BurgerIM: Stop by this burger spot for a quick bite before rocking out to your favorite artist. Address: 9601 N. Tryon St., Suite. F.

  • Que Onda Tacos + Tequila: This University City taco place has plenty of options to fuel you for a night of fun. Try the three dip trio featuring queso, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Address: 9601 N. Tryon St., Ste. K.

  • Boardwalk Billy’s Raw Bar and Ribs: Just a short drive from PNC, pop into this eatery on the lake. Grab an order of fried pickles or a watermelon margarita featuring Cazadores Reposado Tequila, watermelon puree, triple sec, simple syrup and fresh lime.

Upcoming shows to check out: Popular group The Lumineers will be in Charlotte on May 29, 2020.

Spectrum Center

333 E. Trade St.

Note: These spots also work well if you’re heading to Belk Theater or Blumenthal.

Where to pre-game

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Nuvole 22's rooftop bar is a convenient stop for cocktails and snacks close to the Spectrum Center. Courtesy of McKibbon Hospitality


  • Nuvole 22: This rooftop bar just across the road at 220 E. Trade St., Suite. 2200, is the perfect place to take in a view of the city while sipping on the Golden Hour cocktail (Patron Tequila, Mezcal, Lime Juice, Sour, Agave Nectar, Jalapeño).

  • Fahrenheit: Another great spot for taking in the views and grabbing a drink before your show. Snack on an order of the Charlotte nachos with fresh fried potato chips, pimento fondue, scallions and applewood smoked bacon. Address: 222 S. Caldwell St.

  • Fitzgerald’s: Just a few steps away, you’ll find this small bar and pub. Grab one of its locally sourced North Carolina beers or a Celtic martini.

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Elton John is playing at Spectrum Center on Nov. 6 as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. Alex Cason

Upcoming shows to check out: On Nov. 6, icon Elton John will play his Farewell show in Charlotte. MacBeth opens Nov. 7 at Belk Theater.

Uptown Parking News: The Hornets have announced a new partnership with ParkMobile. You can now get parking reservations for Spectrum Center events. Find and reserve a space at one of seven lots around the arena. You can make reservations now — just in time for Elton John’s appearance on Wednesday and to watch the Hornets take on the Celtics on Thursday.

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