Lake Norman Magazine

Norman Nights

Captain Lou Johnson sings rock songs from the 1970's in the bar at Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson.
Captain Lou Johnson sings rock songs from the 1970's in the bar at Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson. ROBERT LAHSER

Davidson is one of those small towns that offers a perfect stroll down Main Street on a Saturday afternoon. Davidson College students and town residents alike enjoy such classic haunts as The Soda Shop and The Village Store, or the many public events or picnics on The Green. But did you know that when the sun goes down the town is still very alive with places that fit the bill for a great night out? Whether it’s date night, ladies night, or couples enjoying an evening together, don’t overlook this small town that has big fun possibilities.

Catch a show Davidson Community Players: If you want to grab dinner and a show, you can choose between the stage or the big screen. Davidson Community Players has been producing stage entertainment for over 45 years.

Many are familiar with The Connie Company, a collaborative program with the Davidson College Department of Theatre that provides children’s performances and workshops. The Main Stage series produces plays and musicals for adults. The season offers five performances from January to December. This month, “The Christmas Story” debuts.

Performance venues vary, from the 600-seat Duke Family Performance Hall on Davidson College’s campus to the intimate 120-seat Armour Theatre, a converted church that the Davidson Community Players call home. Ticket prices between $15 and $22 allow for an affordable evening. But don’t wait to purchase tickets at the door – many productions sell out in advance.

Our Town Cinemas: Located in the Sadler Square Shopping Center on Griffith Street, Our Town Cinemas is not your typical movie theater. Hollywood blockbusters are enjoyed in style, including an auditorium with individual seats and bistros, and a concession stand serving beer, wine, and food ranging from Brickhouse Tavern pizzas to Nathan’s Hot Dogs.

It’s not just the food that makes Our Town Cinemas unique. Movie aficionados will enjoy the film series ranging from art to independent to foreign films. From Dec. 10-16, the cinema is screening the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with $1 from each $7 ticket going toward Toys for Tots and the Ada Jenkins Center. In addition, people can rent an auditorium for special occasions.

Enjoy music on or off campus

Brickhouse Tavern: Lake Norman residents consistently list the Brickhouse Tavern as one of their favorite restaurants. But this Davidson staple is a great destination when happy or dinner hours end. Located on Delburg Street in the renovated 120-year-old Davidson Cotton Mill, the tavern hosts local bands Fridays and Saturdays. “We’ve got a variety of people here every weekend who want to enjoy music without the club scene,” says general manager Kerry Fitzgerald. “People enjoying drinks while listening to everything from blues to rock to jazz.”

The Brickhouse taps pour over 50 beers, all of which are craft beers with distinct tastes. “We offer the usual domestic beers in bottles, but we like to feature unique draft beers,” says Fitzgerald. Weekly drink specials include martinis on Tuesdays and margaritas on Wednesdays.

Plans are underway to feature beer and wine dinners, alternating monthly and paired with a four-course meal. Fitzgerald says Brickhouse staff is excited about the venture. “Vineyard or brewery representatives will be attending the dinners and talking about the different wines and beers. It’s going to be fun because we’ll be working with breweries featuring limited beers that you can’t regularly buy at the supermarket.”

Summit Café: If you like live music but prefer an intimate setting over the bar scene, Summit Coffee on Main Street fits the bill. In addition to the regular coffees and desserts, the coffee shop serves beer and wine and features acoustic music Thursday through Saturday nights. “It’s very relaxed,” says Assistant Manager John Lauer. “You can enjoy music and conversation at the same time.” The outside stage behind the café hosts most bands. But if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the stage moves to the second floor.

Davidson College: The Davidson College Music Department features four performing ensembles: The Chorale, Concert Choir, Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. Each group gives concerts throughout the year for the campus and community. The college also offers a Concert Series featuring acclaimed artists from the Charlotte region and beyond.

Charlotte has the clubs, the bars and the big arenas. But when you’re making plans next Saturday night, consider a big night out on the small town.

Want to go:Davidson Community Players:, 704-892-7953Our Town Cinemas:, 704-237-3226, 227 Griffith St.Brickhouse Tavern:, 704-987-2022, 209 Delburg St.Summit Coffee:, 704-895-9090, 128 S. Main St.Davidson College Music Department:

Related: See Kelli Robinson's blog entry about her visit to Our Town Cinemas.