Entertainment

Early or late, café can fill your glass or plate

It's small and intimate and owners Paula and Don Baker are hoping you make it your new after-work destination.

PJ's Coffee & Lounge opened Oct. 17 in the EpiCentre. Their motto? “Wake up. Chill out. Wine down.”

In short, it's a one-stop shop for all your food and drink needs.

The Scene: Part coffee shop, part café, and part martini bar, PJ's is open as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 2 a.m. It's a nice addition to the EpiCentre, and offers something different – a low-key alternative to the raucous crowds at Howl at the Moon, Suite and Whisky River.

It's part of EpiCentre developer Afshin Ghazi's vision to offer something for everybody at the entertainment complex, he says.

During the day, PJ's serves up coffee, pastries and breakfast sandwiches. After work, the coffee bar goes dark and the signature martinis are served, along with a few small plates like quesadillas, hummus and assorted cheeses ($2.50-$6.95).

All of the signature martinis and signature mixed drinks are served with fresh fruit. The night I stopped in, I sampled a watermelon martini ($12) and raspberry mojito ($15) and both had so much fruit in them, it felt like I was sipping on a smoothie (with a kick). Wines by the glass are more reasonably priced: $6-$12. Tuesdays are half-price martini night.

The Crowd: The Bakers are hoping to attract a young professional crowd in their mid-20s to 30s. I saw a diverse crowd – it was full of new (but young) faces I don't normally see out uptown.

The Music: Early in the night, subtle loungey house music. Later on, live music from singer-guitarists who played Dave Matthews and the like. The lounge will have live music Thursday-Saturday, including singers like Judson, who has a Jack Johnson sound.

If you go: It's a little hard to find in the maze of scaffolding. Look for a small, cobblestone side street next to Fleming's. Ghazi says it is modeled after his favorite street in Split, Croatia.

The Details: PJ's is open until midnight Sunday-Wednesday, and 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. 210 E. Trade St. 704-688-0366. www.pjscharlotte.com.

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