Apr 11, 2022 - Food and Drink

10 best new bars and breweries in Charlotte

Royal Tot's downstairs bar. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Looking for a new brewery or bar to try out? Here are the 10 best new breweries and bars that have debuted in Charlotte within the past year.

Here at Axios, we’ve been tracking 100+ openings in the past 12 months. That’s a lot to keep up with — and it’s our job. For you, we imagine all the opening coverage is bleeding together so we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 best.

Plus: Keep reading to see what cool bars are coming to Charlotte next.

(1) HopFly Brewing

Beer production facility and taproom in the old Unknown Brewing space.

Opened: February 2022

Space: The 25,000 square-foot space has gone through extensive renovations since it was Unknown Brewery.

  • “We ripped everything down to the studs and started from scratch,” owner and founder Cameron Schulz tells Axios. 
  • If you knew the brewery before, you’ll barely recognize it. The main difference is there’s more open space and a larger seating area in the taproom. 

Background: HopFly got its start in the brewery incubator program at Rocky Mount Mills in eastern North Carolina. HopFly opened its taproom at the mill in March 2020. The world shut down due to COVID-19 soon after it opened. And still, the brewery survived and thrived.

Menu highlights: The brewery doesn’t have an in-house kitchen but it will have an in-house food truck called Katsu Kart. It’s known for its Japanese-style katsu sandwiches.

Location: 1327 South Mint St.

Hours: The brewery is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4pm to 10pm, Fridays from 1pm through midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon until 7pm.

Read more: Look inside: HopFly Brewing debuts in former Unknown space this weekend

(2) Trolley Barn Fermentory & Food Hall

Hopfly Brewing
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Latest brewery and restaurant concept from Legion Brewing.

Opened: August 2021

Space: The 11,400-square-foot space has indoor and outdoor seating, a second-floor mezzanine and patio with unobstructed views of Uptown, and three food stalls.

Background: Phil Buchy, who also owns Legion Brewing, wasn’t looking for a new project when he originally toured the Atherton site in 2019. But when he learned more about developer’s vision for Atherton — with its shops, restaurants and preservation of the mill — he only had two words: “Hell, yeah.”

Menu highlights: Trolley Barn has three food stations within the food hall.

  • Green Works: A salad and grain bowl concept.
  • Daily Shift Food Co.: Handheld favorites like sandwiches, tacos and wings.
  • Brand & Steel: Wood-grilled meats and fish.

Location and hours: 332 West Bland St.

Read more: Two-story brewery and restaurant opening soon at Atherton Mill

(3) Resident Culture South End

trolley barn atherton interior
Photo: Axios archives

The Plaza Midwood brewery expanded into a 17,000-square-foot space in South End with tacos, coffee, cocktails and more.

Opened: January 2022

Space: The taproom has two main spaces, The Lightning Drops Bar and the Lagerfest dining area. Both use murals and design elements created by staff designer Maryssa Pickett to immerse guests into the artwork found on Resident Culture’s beer can labels.

Background: The popular brewery quickly turned heads when it first opened in 2017 in Plaza Midwood, with its space and hazy beers, now it brought its talents to South End.

Menu highlights: El Toro Bruto’s popular “all day” tacos ($3.50) and its namesake “Taco Bruto” ($6.50+) with crispy griddled cheese inside the tortilla with beans and your choice of protein.

Location: 332 West Bland St. sandwiched in between Slingshot and Ruby Sunshine.

Hours: It’s open Monday through Thursday from 3-10pm, Fridays from 3pm-11pm, Saturday from noon to 11pm, and Sunday from noon to 8pm.

Read more: Sneak Peek: Resident Culture’s new South End taproom opens Friday

(4) The Royal Tot

Resident Culture Brewing South End
This is R.C.’s main taproom inspired by their Lightning Drop beer. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Tropical-themed bar serving frozen rum-based cocktails and the cult-favorite Dole whip.

Opened: January 2022

Space: Skyline views, bright colors and vintage furniture rounds out the bar’s “urban oasis” vibe. There’s an interior bar, patio, rooftop deck, and private event space, too.

Background: The concept, from the ETA Group (Stroke, The Ice Trade), aims to transport guests to paradise, serving classic tiki drinks and frozen rum-based cocktails.

Location: 933 Louise Ave., Ste. 350 on the edge of Plaza Midwood and Belmont.

Hours: It’s open Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm to 11pm, Fridays and Saturdays form 5pm to 1am, and Sundays from 5pm to 11pm.

Read more: Tropical themed bar now open in Belmont neighborhood

(5) Starlight on 22nd

The Royal Tot
Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Artsy and underrated dive bar near NoDa.

Opened: December 2021

Space: The owners either thrifted, repurposed, or created every piece of art, furniture, light fixture, and table centerpiece in the bar. Starlight on 22nd is meant to be a place where you go to have a drink and an experience. 

  • Outside the 1,500-square-foot space, you’ll find wooden picnic tables and outdoor games like cornhole.

Background: It’s the brainchild of Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires, NoDa legends and the former owners of one of the neighborhood’s most notable, now-closed art galleries.

What to order: Supernova cocktail ($12). It’s made with rum, coconut rum, blue curacao and pineapple juice.

Location: 422 E. 22nd St. between Optimist Hall and NoDa off of North Davidson Street.

Hours: It’s open Tuesday-Friday from 4pm-10pm, Fridays from 4pm-midnight, Saturdays from 12pm-midnight, and Sundays from 12pm-7pm.

Read more: Follow your star to the new bar in NoDa: Starlight on 22nd is now open

(6) Babe Cave

A trendy bar designed for women.

Starlight indoors
Each table has a trophy centerpiece. “We like to say that all of our patrons deserve a trophy,” says co-owner Paul Sires. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Opened: January 2022

Space: An Instagrammable, floral bar is located in the upper-level loft of Good Life, an event planning company in Enderly Park. The space has three unique photo zones plus one rotating photo zone that changes seasonally.

Background: It’s the latest concept from the events business, which opened in 2019.

Menu highlights: The menu consists of light bites, shareable plates and seasonally inspired cocktails.

  • A few popular brunch items include the lobster dip and dessert tower complete with macarons, cookies and other sweets.

Location: 2122 Freedom Drive, Ste. D.

Hours: Babe Cave is open Wednesday through Friday from 10am to 6pm and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.

Read more: Newly opened cocktail bar and brunch spot calls itself the “pretty girl playground”

(7) Supperland Speakeasy

A speakeasy beneath the popular Southern steakhouse, Supperland.

Babe Cave Bar at Good Life
Charlotte’s new Babe Cave Bar at Good Life. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Opened: September 2021

Space: The speakeasy, located one floor below Supperland’s cocktail bar space, is reservation only.

Background: The owners are Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown, also known for Ever Andalo (formerly Crepe Cellar), Haberdish, Growlers Pourhouse and Reigning Doughnuts.

Menu highlights: The menu and theme rotate. The theme through June 11, 2022 is a “Gin and Garden Spirit Experience.” Each ticket ($169 per person) is valid for a two-hour cocktail experience (cocktails and small bite pairings).

Getting there: The speakeasy is located below Supperland at 1212 The Plaza in Plaza Midwood. If you’re facing the bar of the cocktail lounge space, turn right toward the bathroom and then walk down a narrow set of stairs to a dimly lit room.

Read more: A speakeasy with a $115 tasting menu will open beneath Supperland

(8) Broken Promises

Swanky cocktail bar with a 25+ age limit. 

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Opened: March 2022

Space: It has a dark, moody aesthetic with pops of color and light from neon signs and hologram installations. This concept doesn’t have a dance floor but there are rotating deep house DJs on Thursdays through Sundays.

Background: Owner Orlando Botero describes Broken Promises as the exact opposite of Lost & Found, his other South End bar, with New York and Tokyo influences.

Menu highlights: Cocktails range in price from $12-$18 and the menu consists of 12 specialty cocktails, 10 classic cocktails and six mocktails.

Location: 214 West Tremont Avenue, about a mile from Lost & Found.

Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 5pm to 2am and Saturday and Sunday from 3pm to 2am (weekend hours will adjust to noon to 2am during football season).

Read more: Broken Promises is now open in South End

(9) Hideaway

Sports bar and CBD lounge in West Charlotte

Broken Promises
Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Opened: June 2021

Space: It’s a Baltimore Ravens bar. The real excitement is outside, though. The outdoor patio has its own bar and tables, and a flat-screen for games.

Background: Located at 2710 Tuckaseegee Road in a historically Black neighborhood, Hideaway is in an area facing significant gentrification. Its owner Jay Davis, known for Lulu’s Maryland Style Chicken and Seafood, tells Axios he hopes Hideaway will help maintain a legacy of Black-owned business on the west side.

Menu highlights: Expect classic bar food from burgers to wings. The bar serves creative cocktails, hookah and CBD products. 

Hours: The restaurant is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm-midnight, Friday and Saturday from 2pm to 2am, and Sundays from 11am to 11pm.

Read more: New sports bar called Hideaway is now open in west Charlotte

(10) Gilde

German brewery Gilde (pronounced gill-duh) has been around for 475 years, but just opened in Charlotte. 

Hideaway patio, Lulu's, bar, Charlotte, west Charlotte, Jay and Miketa
Hideaway’s back patio. Paige Hopkins/Axios Charlotte

Opened: February 2022

Space: Gilde has an interior bier haus and outdoor Biergarten, all with a capacity for 350 customers. Expect authentic German beer and cuisine, including sausages and pretzels.

Background: The fact that one of Germany’s oldest brewers has expanded into Charlotte is a nod of confidence in the local beer industry, which has been growing at a breakneck pace ever since the city’s first brewery, Olde Mecklenburg, opened in 2009.

Menu highlights: Two-star Michelin chef Stefan Hermann leads Gilde’s culinary program. Expect traditional German food such as sausages, pretzels and spätzle (a German pasta).

Location: 530 Dewitt Lane.

Hours: Gilde is open from 3-10pm Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday and from 3-11pm on Friday and Saturday.

Read more: Long-awaited German brewery Gilde opens this weekend in LoSo

What’s next: These anticipated spots just missed the cut-off, but keep an eye on ’em.

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios
  • Super Abari Game Bar: The return of the vintage game bar concept with a full bar and small food menu with novelties like homemade Hot Pockets from local bakery Dukes Bread.
  • Sycamore Brewing: Sycamore has plans to relocate from its current location at 2161 Hawkins St., to a new 16-story development called The Line next door. Targeting a summer 2022 opening in South End.
  • The Abyss: Speakeasy led by Chef Gregory “Greg” and Subrina Collier, founders of the BayHaven Restaurant Group. Leah & Louise mixologist Justin Hazelton is the brains behind the operation. Targeting a summer 2022 opening in Camp North End.
  • Hippin Hops Brewery: Georgia’s first Black-owned brewery is expanding to Charlotte. Targeting a summer 2022 opening in NoDa.
  • Bar à Vins: Longtime friends and sommeliers Natalie Stewart (currently of Fin & Fino) and Jeff Kellogg will bring their expertise to an approachable wine list with retail pricing. The beverage menu will feature a rotating list of affordable wines you can’t find anywhere else in the neighborhood.

Go deeper: The 30 most-anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2022


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