Aug 16, 2016 - Food and Drink

Partiers love City Lights for now, but Fahrenheit remains the #1 rooftop bar in Charlotte



Fahrenheit is the #1 rooftop bar in Charlotte. City Lights is #2. These two rooftop bars have distanced themselves from others, but their vibes couldn’t be more different.

If I was younger and just looking to party, I’d go to City Lights over Fahrenheit. Every freaking time.

The guy working the elevator told me, “Man, on a Friday night the line is all the way down this entire hallway.”

lobby line charlotte city lights
elevator at city lights charlotte

No doubt, City Lights is hot right now.

City Lights hands you a cocktail in a plastic glass for a reason – it’s the type of place that’s shoulder to shoulder and built for young people getting hammered. The line to the elevator feels young. The logo feels young. The lounge you walk through before you get to the stairs for the rooftop feels young. The easy access second bar where you can quickly buy a beer feels young. The weird electronic music that you’re still unsure of whether it’s actually music or not feels young.

It feels like a savvy hotel operator visited Fahrenheit and then decided – we have a rooftop, let’s put a bar there and cater to a younger, hipper crowd.

lounge at city lights
city lights bar charlotte
city lights rooftop charlotte

The food at City Lights is unapologetically bad. They delivered my $9 mozzarella sticks in a bag. The appetizer both tasted and looked like something you’d find at a Chuck E Cheese.

city lights rooftop food bag
mozzarella sticks city lights charlotte

City Lights reminds me of bowling with gutter rails – it’s built for children that just want to have fun.

And, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s winning.

Go ask a 25-year-old and they’re likely to tell you City Lights is the coolest place ever.

It’s like a fun frat party just moved to the 20th floor and became more exclusive.

city lights rooftop popsicle cocktail

Fahrenheit feels calculated, stiff and premium.

The vibe feels darker. More adult.

The fire pits is gorgeous and modern. It’s like the developer built Fahrenheit, then decided on the rest of the building.

Photo via the Fahrenheit-Charlotte Facebook page

Fahrenheit beats City Lights in every category: operations, drinks, food, atmosphere. But, City Lights currently beats Fahrenheit in one key category – all the cool kids go there. For now.

Fahrenheit charlotte views

Once the newness settles – the debate between Fahrenheit and City Lights for the #1 rooftop bar in Charlotte will obviously go to Fahrenheit. But until then, you can find all the cool kids at City Lights.


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