In May 2014, neighbors gathered at the Evening Muse to hear Will Puckett, a local artist, present his art history paper. That was the first NoDa Drinks & Thinks event.
NoDa Drinks & Thinks is just like the name suggests: partake in a drink while you engage in a current events topic.
The idea for Drinks & Thinks originated when several people were interested in what Eric Hoenes, a lecturer in religious studies, and Nicole Peterson, an associate professor, were doing at UNC Charlotte.
At the same time, Comedy Central’s “Drunk History” and TED talks were gaining speed. Topics that were boring in a social setting were becoming the catalyst for a lively discussion.
Hoenes and Peterson capitalized on this interest. They found sponsorship through the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association’s Back in the Day committee. An ideal location was secured at the Evening Muse. Owner Joe Khulman agreed to let them use the space for free.
With the assistance of the Back in the Day committee, they choose people from the community, local government and academia to talk about local issues that have a global impact. Neighborhood histories, adding edible plants to landscaping and Jane’s Walks are topics from past NoDa Drinks & Thinks.
Hoenes and Peterson keep the event low-key and flexible, but they do have a format they follow: Two speakers discuss a specific topic connected to a predetermined theme. The first person speaks for 15 minutes and then a Q&A discussion follows. They break for a beer, of course. Then the next person follows the same format.
“We do try to encourage people to be drinking while we have it. That is the first part of the name,” Hoenes said.
The event has grown in popularity with six events planned for 2016.
“Our core group comes out to all of them, but about half to a third of the audience is new,” Hoenes said. “That’s kind of cool. People seem to be interested. We’ve gotten a good response.”
Next NoDa Drinks & Thinks
Events are from 6–7:30 p.m. at the Evening Muse, 3227 N Davidson St. Admission is free.
Thursday, June 30
- John Cox, associate professor in Global, International, and Area Studies at UNC Charlotte. He will talk about his book, “To Kill a People:Genocide in the Twentieth Century.”
- Rachel Wingle, social worker at Market Your Mind, Not Your Body (MYM) will speak about human trafficking.
Thursday, August 25
- Steven Jedael, recent graduate of the religious studies program at UNC Charlotte, will discuss Babylonian time keeping.
NoDa Drinks & Thinks will continue on the last Thursday of the month in September and October. NoDa News lists the dates and topics.
Topics are geared toward adult learning, so probably best to leave your dogs and children at home.
Photo 1: Credit Eric Hoenes; Photo 2: Dockland Design; Photo 3: Dockland Design; Photo 4: Dockland Design