Aug 27, 2020 - Food and Drink

32 things to do, eat, and drink in South End

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The bustling rail-adjacent district just south of Uptown is packed with craft breweries, restaurants and more apartments than we ever thought one stretch of road could reasonably accommodate.

Here’s what to explore right now in South End (we left out Lower South End, which includes hot spots like OMB, Queen Park Social, and Brewers at 4001 Yancey).

South End quick facts:

Where to live: 13 best apartments in South End

(1) Pick up some doughnuts from Pepperbox Doughnuts.

If you’ve ever walked through Nebel’s Alley in South End, chances are you’ve probably smelled the sweet smells coming from Pepperbox Doughnuts. Their Cinnamon maple bourbon doughnut is a crowd-favorite.

Location/hours: 101 West Worthington Ave., Suite 150. Open Monday through Thursday from 7am to 4pm, and Friday through Sunday from 7am to 9pm.

(2) Do a casual brunch at Eight+Sand.

pepperbox donuts

You can’t go wrong with any of their egg sandwiches. They come with two scrambled eggs, Ashe County cheddar, smokey aioli, all on a warm brioche bun. Plus, you can add bacon, sausage or soy chorizo.

Location/hours: 135 New Bern St., Ste. A. Open daily for brunch from 7am to 3pm, and open for dinner Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5-9pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5-10pm.

(3) Grab a scooter and hit the Rail Trail.

The 3.5-mile paved urban trail runs along the Blue Line light rail track into Uptown and is filled with joggers, dog walkers, and cyclists. The “magic carpet” murals by Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn are prime photo ops.

(4) Split the fajita parilla mixta at Superica.


It’s marinated and grilled steak and chicken and is served with charro beans, Mexican butter, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo and homemade flour tortillas.

Pro tip: If there’s a wait, put your name on the online waitlist and stop at Elsewhere for drinks beforehand.

Location/hours: 101 West Worthington Ave., Ste. 100. Open Monday through Thursday from 5-10pm, Friday from 5-11pm, Saturday for brunch from 10am to 3pm and for dinner from 5-11pm, and Sunday for brunch from 10am to 3pm and for dinner from 5-10pm.

(5) Snap a photo in front of Evelyn Henson’s famous Confetti Hearts wall.

Superica’s fajita parilla mixta.

If you haven’t taken a photo in front of this Insta-famous mural, do you really live in Charlotte? Find it in Nebel’s alley behind Jeni’s if you’re coming from Camden.

(6) Order wings and sit on the patio at Seoul Food Meat Co.

confetti hearts wall in south end

The popular Korean-inspired barbecue restaurant is like a backyard day party destination that has a huge U-shaped bar, beer pong tables, lawn games, and even a fenced dog park outback. If you’re looking for a table-side grilling set up, head to Seoul’s sister concept Let’s Meat located next door.

Location/hours: 1400 South Church St., Ste. A. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 11:30am to 2:30am (next day).

(7) Order one of everything at Hawkers.

Wing flavors include plain, soy garlic, sweet & mild, and spicy bbq.

Everything on the menu at this Asian street food-inspired spot is less than $15, so it’s a great place to order several dishes to split with the table. If you’re looking for a fun double date night spot, this is it.

Location/hours: 1930 Camden Rd., Ste. 260. Open Sunday through Wednesday from 11am to 10pm, and Thursday through Saturday from 11am to midnight.

(8) Cool off with a scoop of ice cream from Jeni’s Ice Creams.

Pad Thai at Hawkers.

There’s usually a line at this place. But with flavors like salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks and brambleberry crisp, it makes sense why.

Also, check out Two Scoops Creamery down the street.

Location/hours: 1920 Camden Rd. Open Monday through Wednesday from 11am to 11pm.

(9) Order a sandwich and hang out at Common Market.

Jeni’s Brambleberry Crisp.

The quirky market/bodega is great if you need a grab-n-go breakfast or lunch. I’m a fan of their Mother Clucker Sandwich — it’s pulled chicken salad on a house-baked croissant topped with lettuce, tomato, white American cheese and bacon.

Pro tip: If you go upstairs, you’ll see board games that you can play.

Location/hours: 235 West Tremont Ave. Open 24 hours Sunday and Monday, Tuesday through Thursday from 8am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 8am to 11pm.

(10) Brewery hop from Sycamore to Suffolk to Hoppin’.

common market sandwich

South End is a craft beer hub. Soak up the sun on the patio at The Suffolk Punch, eat Bosshog mac & cheese egg rolls from Twisted Eats at Wooden Robot, hit up Food Truck Friday at Sycamore, and be your own bartender at Hoppin’.

But, the brews don’t stop there:

  • Unknown Brewing (Soon-to-be Rocky Mount Brewery) – 1327 South Mint St.
  • Lenny Boy Brewing – 3000 South Tryon St.
  • Triple C Brewing – 2900 Griffith St.
  • Trolley Barn Fermentory – 2104 South Blvd.
  • Salty Parrot – 1200 South Graham St.
  • Protagonist Brewing – 227 Southside Drive, Unit A
  • Charlotte Beer Garden – 1300 South Tryon St.

[Related guide: Complete list and map of Charlotte’s 30 local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each]

(11) Support South End’s small businesses.

Check out local boutiques like Girl Tribe, 704 Shop, Fit Atelier, and Magnolia Emporium for Charlotte-centric clothing and gifts.

trolley barn atherton interior
Sights from the mezzanine of the newly opened Trolley Barn Fermentory.

(12) Share small plates and sip a glass of wine or craft cocktail.

Do tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar, charcuterie at Dilworth Tasting Room, or inventive small plates at Bardo.

704 shop charlotte shopping
704 Shop

[Related guide: Best wine bars in Charlotte, right now]

(13) Visit both of Michael Shortino’s restaurants, Futo Buta and Lincoln’s Haberdashery.

Futo Buta is a tiny ramen house along the Rail Trail, and Lincoln’s Haberdashery is a bakery and urban grocery with unique gifts and provisions. Both are must-try spots.


(14) Scale the walls at Inner Peaks.

The indoor climbing facility has tracks for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Unless you already have a membership, start with a day pass for $20, harnesses and shoes are an additional $5 each.

rice cripsy squares and futo buta
Rice Crispy Squares at Futo Buta

Pro tip: Members can bring a first-time climber for free on Fridays.

(15) Live your best life at South End Station.

It’s home to game-day and drag brunch destination All American Pub, late-night club Oak Room, party pool hall Slate, and Hot Taco, a casual Mexican restaurant with great drink specials.


(16) Check out the shops and restaurants at Centro Railyard.

You really could spend an entire afternoon here, between getting your hair done at Outlaw Hair Co., picking out a plant from The Cactus Club, and showing your Charlotte pride at Glory Days Apparel. Finish off the day by having dinner at North Italia or Stir.

Location: 1425 Winnifred St.

[Related guide: Shopping guide: Micro-retail storefronts now open at Centro Railyard in South End]

(17) Take in skyline views from Topside, The Waterman’s rooftop bar.

The seafood restaurant’s 80-seat rooftop bar is an unexpected hangout in a grocery store strip mall. Stop by for boat cocktails, frozen drinks, and draft cocktails. The rooftop is open during regular dining hours, weather permitting.

North Italia at the Railyard

Location/hours: 2729 South Blvd., Ste. D. Open daily from 11am to 10pm.

(18) Enjoy a meal on the patio at BOCADO.

Order the “Southend Burger.” It’s a house-made bun with bib lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and topped with boss sauce and fries on the side.

Pina Colada Float at The Waterman.

Location/hours: 2000 South Blvd., Ste. 530. Open Monday through Thursday from 3:30-10pm, Friday from 3:30pm to midnight, Saturday from 10:30am to midnight and Sunday from 10:30am to 10pm.

[Related story: Atlanta-favorite Bocado is now open in South End]

(19) Try one of the neighborhood chicken spots.

There’s Leroy Fox, The Eagle, and the Shell gas station on South Boulevard. We still haven’t gotten over Prices — you will be missed.

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

(20) Customize your own candle at Paddywax Candle Bar.

If you’re into hands-on DIY projects, this place is for you. Their candle pouring workshop makes for a fun outing for a group of friends, plus you can bring your own bottle.

The Eagle
The Eagle’s fried chicken served with spicy hot honey.

Pricing: $30 per person

Location: 1930 Camden Rd., Ste. 130

(22) Eat a burger at Bang Bang Burgers.

Home to one of the most underrated burgers in Charlotte. If it’s your first time, go with their namesake burger. It comes as a single or a double patty and is topped with American cheese, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion, homemade pickles, and Bang sauce.

candle bar south end charlotte

Location/hours: 235 West Tremont Ave., Ste. 101. Open Sunday through Wednesday from 11am to 9pm, and Thursday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm.

[Related guide: Best burgers in Charlotte, ranked]

(23) Take your Hinge date to a game bar.

Pins Mechanical Co. and Slingshot are two popular spots because there’s a lot to do under one roof including duckpin bowling, arcade games, and of course drinks.


(24) Try our No. 1 sushi spot, O-Ku.

We rank this sushi spot the best in Charlotte for its Red Dragon Roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy crab mix, eel sauce and crunch, $14) and unbeatable gorgeous interior. The Salmon & Lemon Roll and Rainbow Roll are also super popular.

Location/hours: 2000 South Blvd., Ste. 510. Open Sunday, Monday and Wednesday from 4-10pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 5-10, and Friday and Saturday from 5-11pm.

(25) Spend the day shopping and dining at Atherton.

Atherton is a hub of some of the best chains (plus a few local spots) in Charlotte. Find gifts for the hostess in your life at Society Social; get your sweat on at Barry’s and reward yourself with something from Lululemon after; order an iced vanilla oat milk latte from Not Just Coffee; treat yourself to some jewelry from Golden Carrot, and enjoy a lovely dinner at Indaco.

Red Dragon Roll at O-Ku

(26) Do a $6 cheese board at Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop.

Every Wednesday, Craft has $6 cheese boards. And don’t forget Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails next door — you’re going to want to snag a spot on the rooftop.

golden carrot jewelry in charlotte
Inside Golden Carrot

Location/hours: 1320 South Church St., Ste. 100. Open Monday from 11am to 10pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11am to 11pm, and Thursday through Sunday from 11am to midnight.

(27) Watch a game at QC Pour House.

With tons of seating options and 13 signature cocktails priced at $10 or less, this place is the casual middle ground between breweries and high-end cocktail bars (aka a good game-day destination).


Location/hours: 200 West Tremont Ave., Ste. 101. Open daily from 11am to midnight.

(28) Explore South End’s art scene.

Visit art galleries like Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hodges Taylor, or Gallery C3 at Alchemy. You can also go the South End Interactive self-guided tour.

sports bar qc pour house charlotte

(29) Have a night out at Lost and Found.

If you’re going on a weekend, you’ll probably want to get there before 10:30 to avoid waiting in a line.

Location: 332 West Bland St., Ste E.

(30) Leave it all on the dance floor at The Gin Mill.

Then head to the rooftop when you inevitably need to take a breather  — and order another drink.

Location: 1423 South Tryon St.

(31) Cap off a long night with chicken and waffles from Midnight Diner.

The retro diner is open 24 hours a day, and its proximity to Uptown, South End, and landmark strip club Uptown Cabaret makes it a popular draw for the inebriated seeking late-night sustenance.

gin mill south end bar

Location: 115 East Carson Blvd. Open 24 hours.

(32) Cure your hangover at Snooze A.M. Eatery.

Order the pancake flight with a side of hockey puck-sized hash browns. Or, if you prefer something a bit more savory, try the Everything Bacon Sensation (everything spice brioche bun with green goddess cream cheese topped with an over a medium cage-free egg, bacon, and citronette dressed arugula).

Other breakfast options include Ruby Sunshine for a nice sit-down meal and Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for grab-n-go biscuits.

Location/hours: 2041 South Blvd., Ste. 106. Open Monday through Friday from 6:30am to 2:30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 6:30am to 4pm.

pancakes snooze

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