While there’s only one type of place to be on the evening before Christmas (gathered ’round a tree, or a hearth, or a table with playing cards and finger food), one week later we face an altogether different beast of a holiday.
We thrust ourselves out into the biting cold of the year’s last evening, all for the purpose of finding somewhere warm to welcome the next year’s first day. New Year’s Eve is arguably the most community-oriented holiday of the season. It can be spent with family, but, as with a massive sports event, practically everyone is out and about celebrating the same thing. The night can honestly be spent with anyone. That’s fitting: The end of a year and the start of a new one make an ideal setting for discovering new friends or—if you’re as social as we tend to be—rediscovering old ones. In other words, there is only one place to be on the evening before the new year: out. The following are a bunch of likely haunts in Charlotte, but don’t worry if you can’t hit them all in a single night. There’s always next year.
While a hotel may not be the first place you think of when trying to find New Year’s Plans, the Ritz-Carlton is the absolute exception. With award-winning dining and popular bars, this hotel houses enough entertainment to last the rest of the year.
End the year with dessert first and enjoy the delectable, hand-crafted chocolates Bar Cocoa has to offer. Head pastry chef Crystal Broadbent blends Southern charm into her innovative seasonal treats and ensures there’s something to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Come back a little after New Year’s and take Bar Cocoa’s New Year Resolution cooking class where you can learn how to make delicious, healthy desserts for yourself.
The Hidden Wine
Pair some award-winning wine with Bar Cocoa’s chocolate and head to The Hidden Wine for a hand-curated experience. Choose from a selection of American and European wines, or pick out the perfect champagne to toast as the ball drops.
Take your wine directly to your table and grab a seat at Bistro Laurent Tourondel, or BLT Steak for dinner. Experience the fulfilling dining of a steakhouse with the classic air of a French bistro and enjoy their prime beef, fresh seafood, and classic desserts.
The Punch Room
Enjoy an exclusive night at Charlotte’s premiere speakeasy bar without the crowds and claustrophobia by heading to The Punch Room. Bringing an upscale flair to their 19th century space, The Punch Room allows only 37 guests at a time, promising an intimate experience you’re unlikely to find at other bars—not to mention some time-halting cocktails.
The K Lounge
Located in the Ritz-Carlton lobby, the K Lounge provides a quick, accessible escape from the rest of downtown Charlotte’s hectic New Year’s scene. Relax with some quiet conversation and interactive cocktails, then dive back into the party refreshed and ready for the New Year.
Head to 5Church to sample some of the best American fare in Charlotte. With a full bar, extensive drink menu, and mouthwatering desserts, this steakhouse has something for everyone. Order tickets in advance and head there New Year’s Eve night to enjoy their live DJ, open bar, and buffet as you watch the countdown.
Take in the breathtaking view of the city skyline at Chef Rocco Whalen’s American cuisine restaurant. His innovative, experimental takes on classic fare guarantee a one-of-a-kind dining experience for anyone who walks through the door.
Craft beer, live music, and great food—all things that Sycamore’s beer garden has to offer. Sample some of Charlotte’s best local brews and enjoy a casual night of fun with the crowd.
Beef ’n Bottle
Serving steaks to Charlotte’s residents since 1958, Beef ’n Bottle knows a thing or two about how to cook a great cut of beef. Visit this local favorite for a great atmosphere and a prime steak that won’t break the bank.
The Cellar at Duckworth’s
The Cellar at Duckworth’s embraced the prohibition-era feel of the original cellar (built in 1912) and created an enjoyable speakeasy experience. The classy den’s signature cocktails and extensive selection of rare beer make this a great bar to visit if you’re looking for an atmospheric evening—and don’t forget to try their incredible small plates while you’re there.
Dot Dot Dot
Adding an elegant air to the speakeasy-style bar, Dot Dot Dot is the place to go outside of Uptown for an upscale experience of quality cuisine and classic cocktails. With its unique atmosphere and award-winning mixologists, Dot Dot Dot will make sure you end the year just right.
Head to the rooftop of Charlotte’s epicentre for one of the city’s largest New Year’s Eve parties. Dance the year away with live music, multiple drink vendors, and a great social scene.
Stop in at this farm-to-table restaurant and enjoy beautifully cooked food in a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Top your year off with Stoke’s famous one-pound donut dessert—a made-from-scratch pastry topped with sweet cream and a toffee crumble. Just be sure to share with your table.
Merchant & Trade
Nineteen floors up on the rooftop of the new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel sits Merchant & Trade. This Uptown cocktail lounge offers both indoor and outdoor seating with a clear view of the Charlotte skyline from either area. Take your date to a quiet corner of the lounge to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks, or bring a group of friends and take advantage of their tableside mixology as the music energizes the crowd.
Live the life of luxury at the Duke Mansion. Enjoy meals of Southern flair from the Duke Mansion’s Executive Chef Harrison Booth, then escape from the sounds of the city while you wander the mansion’s four and a half acres of beautiful gardens and grounds. Complete your getaway by staying overnight in one of the Duke Mansion’s 20 individually decorated, luxurious guest rooms, topping the night off with a kiss, a drink, and a great night’s sleep.
Le Meridien – City Lights
Let the sparkle of Charlotte’s twinkling lights reflect off your glass as you ring in the new year at La Méridien Hotel’s City Lights Rooftop Bar. Eat, drink, socialize, and then stay the night in this sleek, upscale bar atmosphere. While you’re sipping on City Lights’ signature cocktails—such as the Full Moon cocktail with lemon, blackberries, and Bulleit Bourbon—don’t forget to soak in the only 360-degree skyline view in Charlotte.
Not a fan of the traditional New Year’s Eve Champagne? Join the wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts of Corkbuzz restaurant and wine bar. Excite your palate with the bursting flavors of Corkbuzz’s dinner menu, such as the ricotta gnocchi or the duck confit empanadas, and top off your meal with the vast selections of wine, cocktails, and beers that Corkbuzz has to offer. Corkbuzz is definitely the place to come for the wine, stay for the friends, and leave all of your worries behind in the past year.
Got places to be this New Year’s Eve? Make it a point to squeeze in a visit to Gin Mill Bar in South End. Dive in to play a game of darts, slide your game piece down a shuffleboard, and enjoy the live acoustic music in the fun, casual atmosphere that Gin Mill provides. Before you go, make sure to grab a drink, and enjoy the rest of your night out.
Love food more than drinks? Rooster’s Wood-fired Kitchen understands. Enjoy a night of fine dining, and get in any last-minute cravings before your New Year’s resolutions kick in. Soak in the savory flavors of dishes such as duck breast, mushroom campo de Montalba pizza, butter wilted spinach, or fried oysters. At Rooster’s Wood-fired Kitchen, each excitingly simple dish is prepared to perfection, and will certainly be the well-deserved ending to a fulfilling year.
Experience the European luxury that embodies the namesake of our city in Sophia’s Lounge. Named for Queen Charlotte, the lounge is the perfect place to experience the European vintage atmosphere that embodies the essence of our city’s namesake. Travel back in time and experience the artwork, furniture, and atmosphere of vintage high-society Europe while you sip unique cocktails such as Melon ’dramatic—a zesty mix of lavender-infused gin, Drambuie, melon syrup, citrus juices, and lime zest—or nibble on shareable plates such as smoked shrimp or Maine lobster sliders. Dine like a king (or a queen), and toast to the high life when the clock strikes twelve.
Drop by Whiskey Warehouse for drinks full of flavor, and a night full of fun. Eat from the Whiskey Warehouse’s crafty menu of dishes, and enjoy the refreshing taste of cold beer on the back of your throat. Don’t forget to raise your glasses when the ball drops!
Dine in style at Soul Gastrolounge. Begin a new tradition of tasting the global dishes that Soul Gastrolounge has to offer. Let the diverse flavors of lamb-rack lollipops, sticky veal shortribs, and sashimi tuna tacos expose your palate to a whole new world of tasty goodness. Top off your night with a selection from one of Charlotte’s most inventive cocktail menus, and toast to the great food and the good life.