Get out of the bubble â€” the locals are waiting
If youâ€™re in town for the Democratic National Convention, odds are youâ€™ll be tempted to stay in and around your hotel and official DNC or other convention-related events. But, if you have the opportunity, be sure to check out these great local LGBT hotspots for a bite to eat, a sip of coffee or breather from the all the hubbub of the Uptown bubble. Our staff picks below are organized by neighborhood, so you can grab a bite to eat, do a little shopping or head out to the local LGBT watering hole, all within walking distance of each other.
The 2010 census showed Charlotteâ€™s eastside and, in particular, the Plaza Midwood area as one of the gayest areas in town. Packed with LGBT-friendly stores, antique shops, restaurants and bars, a walk around this grungy gay village is well worth it.
Start out with dinner at Dish (1220 Thomas Ave., 28205, 704-344-0343, eatatdish.com) with the perfect combination of down-home southern cooking and a flare of city tastes. Dish serves up a lunch and dinner youâ€™ll be bragging about weeks from now. Stop in to enjoy their chicken-and-dumplings served up with their signature biscuit and deviled egg.
Or, walk up and sit down for a relaxing bite on the balcony at SOUL Gastrolounge (1500 Central Ave., 28205, 704-348-1848, soulgastrolounger.com) with a view of the downtown skyline that shimmers and shines. Afterward, head downstairs to peruse art while sipping on the wine of your choice at TwentyTwo (1500 Central Ave., 704-334-0122), Charlotteâ€™s premier art gallery and wine bar.
For drinks and revelry later in the evening, walk around the corner to Petraâ€™s, Plaza Midwoodâ€™s funky gay piano bar. (See more on Petraâ€™s and their events during the DNC at goqnotes.com/17048/).
And, if youâ€™re in the need for LGBT-themed art, clothing, books or more, check out Plaza Midwoodâ€™s White Rabbit (920 Central Ave., 28204, 704-377-4067, facebook.com/whiterabbitstore). The only exclusively-LGBT book and novelty shop in North Carolina, you wonâ€™t miss this building with its bright, LGBT-themed rainbow mural freshly painted this summer by volunteers with The LGBT Community Center of Charlotteâ€™s arts committtee.
Quaint and historic with a burgeoning collection of modern condos and office buildings, South End and Dilworth offer an escape from Uptown that still keeps you close to the action. Stop in at 300 East, (300 East Blvd., 28203, 704-332-6507, 300east.net) for tasty southern-inspired meals. Known for their popular Sunday brunches and mimosas. After lunch, walk down just a few store fronts to Paper Skyscraper (330 East Blvd., 704-333-7130, paperskyscraper.com) for unique gifts, books and funky home dĂ©cor.
In the evenings, cool down at The Bar at 316, located in an historic Dilworth home. Stand out on the balcony with a cocktail and enjoy the evening breeze. If you feel the need to dance, be sure to check out Marigny, a New Orleans-inspired LGBT dance club with great music, a light show and hot go-go dancers. (Learn more about The Bar at 316 and Marigny at goqnotes.com/17048/).
Known for its eclectic feel, NoDa is Charlotteâ€™s historic arts district. Peruse galleries and book shops, tattoo parlors and funky eateries like Boudreauxâ€™s Louisiana Kitchen (501 E. 36th St., 28205, 704-331-9898, boudreauxs.com), serving up traditional Cajun and Creole fare including their phenomenal gumbo!
If youâ€™re in the mood for sweets or coffee, visit the nearby Amelieâ€™s French Bakery (2424 N. Davidson St., 28205, 704-376-1781, ameliesfrenchbakery.com), an eclectic coffee shop, bakery and pastry shop rolled into one extravagant, French-inspired package. Friendly staff and a comfortable and relaxing environment will give you time to stop and reflect. A smaller, second location is located at 330 S. Tryon St., 28202, in Uptown, at the corner of S. Tryon St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. : :
Want more information on Charlotteâ€™s gayest and hippest hoods, their attractions and other to-doâ€™s? Visit qnotesâ€™ partner, Visit Gay Charlotte, and their neighborhood spotlights at visitgaycharlotte.com/neighborhoods/.