Same-night parties have a lot in common

There's a new competition going on uptown, and it's not between the banks.

No, this duel is between the old establishment – Alive After Five – and the new establishment – EpiCentre at 5.

Organizers of both events downplayed the competition in a recent interview with Observer reporter Dan Tierney, but the question many keep asking is: Why do it on the same night, EpiCentre?

I decided to check it out for myself last week, paying a visit to both Thursday after-work parties.

My conclusion? If the EpiCentre isn't trying to compete with Alive After Five, it's odd that the organizers are following the same business model.

From the sponsor tents and beer tubs to the live band and day/time, these two events are virtually identical – except for the construction that surrounds the EpiCentre.

I think what will end up happening is people will start early at Alive After Five, now in its eighth year, before moving over to the EpiCentre later to take advantage of the complex's new bars as they continue to party into the night.

I also think people will gravitate toward one or the other depending on what band is playing. EpiCentre landed the popular Pat McGee band for its first event, which drew a bigger crowd than Alive After Five. The second week, more people braved the heat to see the Journey cover band at Alive After Five rather than Drivin N Cryin at the EpiCentre.

Hooters coming uptown

Shortly after Friends of the Fourth Ward and Charlotte Center City Partners successfully managed to prevent Coyote Ugly from moving into new digs on Church Street, another controversial establishment announced plans to move into the center city.

Hooters plans to open a location on Trade Street, in the spot formerly known as The Graduate.

The restaurant known for its wings (and buxom waitresses) will open by July 1.