It’s tough to beat a pint pulled straight from the source, but I’m here to tell you there’s a world outside of Charlotte’s breweries (or at least that’s what my wife keeps telling me).
It’s a world filled with movie theaters, bike shops, art galleries and arcades – and fortunately for us, they have beer, too. Beer flows everywhere in the Queen City, not just in bars and taprooms but in places you might never expect to even find any beer, let alone a variety of options.
While these are not exclusively beer destinations, the following places have made it a point to cater to Charlotte’s craft beer drinkers.
Carolina Cinemas Charlotte: Forgo the popcorn and jumbo soda here in favor of 26 North Carolina drafts and a menu of pizzas, salads, sandwiches and appetizers. And enjoy it all while watching first-run films in reclining leather seats. 9630 Monroe Road. 704-847-2024. www.carolinacinemas.com/charlotte/.
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10 Park Lanes: Three years ago, this iconic Charlotte bowling alley was renovated to include a full kitchen and bar. The alley boasts 32 craft beers on tap that you can enjoy alongside foods like stacked Mason jars, which are layered with barbecue and Southern sides. 1700 Montford Drive. 704-523-7633. www.rollten.com.
The Spoke Easy: The name alone should tell you this is more than just a bicycle shop. Located in Elizabeth, The Spoke Easy also features six rotating taps (plus one PBR), as well as a selection of bottles and cans. There is a rustic wood bar and cool art throughout the space, which is owned by Cluck Design Collaborative. 1523 Elizabeth Ave., Suite 120. 980-224-7681. www.thespokeeasyclt.com.
Twenty-Two: The 15 taps in this art-gallery-turned-bar are as carefully curated as the exhibits themselves, with offerings from N.C. breweries as well as more limited beers from around the nation. Models pose for figure drawings on Monday nights, and on Wednesdays drafts from tap 15 are just $2. 1500 Central Ave. 704-334-0122. www.gallerytwentytwo.com.
Abari Game Bar: OK, so this one’s not open yet, but they’re getting close. When they do open this summer, grab some quarters and head to Abari for classic pinball and arcade games, as well as eight drafts and a selection of bottles and cans. 1721 N. Davidson St. 980-430-4587. www.abarigamebar.com.
Another Round Disc Golf: Only in NoDa would you find a disc golf store with local beers on tap. Amid the brightly colored plastic discs is a chest freezer turned kegerator (known as a “keezer”) from which pour four rotating Charlotte drafts. If you want to sip a beer while grabbing a new or used disc, this is your spot. Every other Friday, the shop also serves as a studio for Final Round Radio, a disc golf podcast. 3522 N. Davidson St. 704-931-3568. www.anotherrounddiscgolf.com.
Pit Road Bar and Grill: Located inside Victory Lane Karting, this spot offers a great view of the popular indoor track. The bright red tap tower is modeled after a gas can and proclaims its 20 North Carolina taps to be “the official fuel of karters.” Also, Guy Fieri recently visited during his Charlotte trip. And if it’s good enough for Guy, it’s good enough for me. 2330 Tipton Drive, Suite 100. 980-237-0291. www.pitroadgrill.com.
Center Ice Tavern: The sports bar inside Indian Trail’s Extreme Ice Center has a balcony looking down on the center’s main rink. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after skating, as the bar offers craft beer on tap plus bottles and cans from North Carolina breweries. 4705 Indian Trail Fairview Road, Indian Trail. 704-882-1830. hwww.xicenter.com/center-ice-tavern.
Harris Teeter in Ballantyne: It’s not uncommon to visit a grocery store for beer, though usually it’s to grab something to go. Here, you can pair food from the deli with beers chilled behind a crescent-shaped bar right in the middle of the beer and wine aisle. A kegerator offers one draft option. Make sure to seek the opinion of Kit Burkholder, who manages the department and is a certified Cicerone (the beer world’s equivalent to a Sommelier). 15007 John J. Delaney Drive. 704-716-2000. www.harristeeter.com.
Sports stadiums: Once the only choice you had while watching our hometown teams was which light lager you would be drinking. Now, nearly every sporting venue in the city carries craft beer. Bank of America stadium has several options, and both Time Warner Cable Arena and BB&T Ballpark have new beer gardens.
Event of the Week: Culture Fair
WHEN: 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: The Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St.
As you might gather from the name, Culture Fair is a celebration of Charlotte’s culture. The event, presented by Culture Initiative, will feature an arts market, a pig pickin’ with five of Charlotte’s top chefs, live music, yard sale lanes, kids’ activities, a dog park and more. Salud Beer Shop will offer an “NC Craft Beer Yard” with beers from Fonta Flora Brewery, Fullsteam Brewery, Deep River Brewing Co., NoDa Brewing Co., Steel String Brewing and Wicked Weed Brewing (plus cider from Bull City Ciderworks). Entry is $3, after which you pay by the beer. Details: www.thecultureinitiative.com.