Jan 9, 2024 - Food and Drink

15 Charlotte spots with alcohol-free drinks

Pinky's Westside Grill

Pinky’s Westside Grill

With more than 40 breweries and more bars than you can count, drinking is a big part of our city’s culture.

“As a nondrinker, you can’t avoid alcohol. It’s everywhere,” Counterculture founder Molly Ruggere tells Axios. It’s one of the main reasons she started Counterculture Club in 2020.

  • When she first moved to Charlotte, she struggled to meet people and find things to do that weren’t centered on alcohol. 

Why it matters: There’s a fast-growing community seeking a safe space and enjoyable alternatives to booze. Most recently, a Countercultural Festival was announced in celebration of dry January.

The bottom line: No matter what your reason is for not drinking, you can still have a social experience without alcohol.

  • Lots of places around the city have designated mocktail sections on their menus, and at many others, bartenders can usually make popular drinks without alcohol.

Here are 15 bars, breweries and restaurants in Charlotte that serve delicious and alcohol-free drinks:

Bars

Elsewhere

Elsewhere is a craft cocktail lounge in South End near Superica and Barcelona. It’s the brainchild of Wooden Robot Brewery CEO Josh Patton.

Details: Find Elsewhere at 101 W. Worthington Ave. 

  • It’s open Tuesdays 6-11pm, Wednesday-Thursday 5-11pm, Fridays 4pm-midnight, Saturdays 2pm-midnight. Closed on Sunday and Monday.

On the menu: Elsewhere has an entire NA section on their menu called “For the Pilot.” On it right now are two drinks: the “spiritless Kentucky 74” for $12 and the “agua du jour” for $10.

Photo: Brianna Crane/Axios

Pins Mechanical Company

Here you’ll find duckpin bowling, classic arcade games, and excellent drinks all under one roof. In addition to the designated mocktail section on the menu, most drinks from the main cocktail menu can be made non-alcoholic.

Details: Find Pins at 307 W. Tremont Ave.

  • It’s open Monday-Wednesday 4pm-12:30am, Thursdays 4pm-1:30am, Friday-Saturday 12pm-2:30am and Sundays 12pm-12:30am.

On the menu: There are four mocktails for $6 each that all make for a cool Insta post, including the “Juice Box Hero,” made with pineapple, orange and grenadine; the “Optimus Prime,” made with lemonade, cranberry juice and Sprite; the “Lisa Simpson,” with Sprite, grenadine and cherry; and the “Shorty Baller,” with fruit punch, lemonade and Sprite.

Go deeper: Pins Mechanical Company and 16-Bit Bar+Arcade now open in South End

Pins Mechanical Co.
Juice Box Hero mocktail is made with pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Skiptown

Sip a spirit-free beverage while your pup enjoys a dog-friendly beer.

Details: Skiptown is located at 222 Rampart St.

  • Monday-Thursday 6am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 6am-10pm and Sundays 6am-8pm.

On the menu: Fine-apple Juice (apple cider, pineapple juice, ginger ale and garnished with a dried orange) and the Berry Hibiscus Bliss (soda water, Sprite, berry tea and garnished with a mint leaf and hibiscus flower) both for $6.

skiptown mocktails
The Fine-apple Juice (left) and the Berry Hibiscus Bliss (right). Photo courtesy of Sallie Best/Skiptown

Billy Sunday

At Billy Sunday, on the ground floor of Optimist Hall, cocktails are their specialty, but they also have a selection of non-alcoholic drinks to quench your thirst.

Details: 1115 N. Brevard St.

  • Open Monday-Thursday 5-10pm, Fridays, 4pm-midnight, Saturdays noon-midnight and Sundays 12-10pm.

On the menu: In addition to a rotating seasonal mocktail for $10, Billy Sunday has four NA cocktails for $11 each: the “Spirit Free Nice Pear,” with Zero Proof gin, lemon, rosemary and pear sorbet; the “Spirit Dree B’Autumns Up,” with Zero Proof gin, blood orange, elderflower and lime; the “Spirit Free Apple-y Ever After,” with your choice of non-alcoholic spirit, mulled cider and lemon; and the “Spirit Free Later ‘Mater,” with your choice of non-alcoholic spirit, lime, Cholula, Worcestershire, smoked salt.

billysunday-nowopen-bar
Photo: Axios archives

Bonus: The Spindle Bar inside Optimist Hall has a non-alcoholic section on its menu featuring kombucha, Topo Chico and house ginger beer. Optimist Hall. 

Restaurants

Haberdish

The mocktail list at this NoDa staple is small but mighty, drawing from ingredients like Cheerwine reduction, locally grown hemp and whiskey barrel-smoked black pepper.

Details: Haberdish is located at 3106 N. Davidson St.

  • It’s open Tuesday-Thursday 11am-3pm for lunch and 5-10pm for dinner, Fridays 11am-3pm for lunch and 5-11pm for dinner, Saturdays 11am-11pm and Sundays 11am-10pm. Closed on Mondays. 

On the menu: Haberdish has a “spirit-free cocktail” section on its menu, including The Boy’s Club ($10) made with Cheerwine reduction, baking spices, whiskey barrel-smoked black pepper, orange juice, and soda, and the “California Sober ($11) made with locally grown hemp and brown rice syrup, lemon oleo, grapefruit, soda.

Haberdish Mocktail
Boy’s Club mocktail ($10). Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Bonus: Haberdish owners and local restaurateurs Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown have “spirit-free cocktail” sections at both Ever Andalo in NoDa and Supperland in Plaza Midwood.

Pinky’s Westside Grill

If “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” was an establishment it would be Pinky’s Westside Grill in Wesley Heights. Heck, even the Red Hot Chili Peppers gave them a shoutout. 

Details: Pinky’s is located at 1600 W. Morehead St.

  • It’s open Sunday-Wednesday 11am-10pm, Thursday-Saturday 11am-11pm. 
Pinky's Westside Grill mocktails
From left to right: Cherry Limeade, Limeade, and Ginger Limeade ($3.25). Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

On the menu: The Cherry Limeade ($3.25), but if you want to wake your taste buds up, go for the Ginger Limeade ($3.25) They’re both made with house-made limeade as the base with flavored syrups.

Link & Pin

With three locations across the Charlotte area, Link & Pin is a popular spot.

Details: Find Link & Pin in South End, Arboretum and Huntersville.

  • All three are open Monday-Wednesday 4-11pm, Thursday-Friday 4pm-midnight, Saturdays 10am-midnight, Sundays 10am-11pm.

On the menu: Link & Pin has three go-to mocktails for $8 each: the “Berry Lemon Drop,” with blueberries, strawberries, lemon and house-made Madagascar vanilla bean syrup; the “Pineapple Thyme Mule,” with jalapeños, thyme, ginger, pineapple and fresh lime; and the “Salted Cucumber Highball,” with cucumber, basil, club soda and fresh lime.

The Cellar at Duckworth
The blackberry lemonade mocktail (muddled blackberry, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a splash of water) at The Cellar at Duckworth’s. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Bonus: Owner and local restaurateur Rob Duckworth has spirit-free options at his other restaurants and cocktail bars including The Cellar at Duckworth’s and other Duckworth’s locations.

Artisan’s Palate

This local eatery in NoDa is known for its monthly drag brunches, during Dry January (and beyond) you can say “yas queen,” while sipping on an NA cocktail.

Details: Artisan’s Palate is located at 1218-A E. 36th St.

  • Its open Tuesday-Thursday 11am-10:30pm, Fridays 11am-11pm, Saturdays 10:30am-11pm and Sundays 10:30am-4pm. Closed on Mondays.
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

On the menu: In addition to their usual mocktail menu, they added some new options for Dry January: the “Phony Negroni,” a spirit-free negroni; the “Tequila ‘Mock’ingbird,” made with spirit-free tequila, grapefruit and ginger; the “Sober Sour,” a spirit-free whiskey sour; and the “Orange you Glad it’s Spirit Free,” their spirit-free take on the classic Junglebird.

Restaurant Constance

This farm-to-table restaurant is one of the best in the city and its thoughtful mocktail menu is one reason why.

Details: Restaurant Constance is at 2200 Thrift Road.

  • It’s open 5-10pm Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday-Monday. 
mocktails from restaurant constance
Restaurant Constance has a thoughtful mocktail menu. Photo: Bri Crane/Axios

On the menu: Because of the nature of the farm-to-table restaurant, the menu changes often. Its NA cocktail and beer menu has ten mocktails and wines, five craft brews and four seasonal brews. 

Breweries

Resident Culture

Resident Culture is Charlotte’s first brewery to launch a nonalcoholic beer — the NARC IPA, which stands for Non-Alcoholic Resident Culture.

Details: Find Resident Culture in Plaza Midwood, South End and Market on 7th in Uptown. Hours vary per location.

On the menu: NARC is available in two versions (IPA and Lager) on draft and in cans at both brewery locations. It’s also available at select Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and Lowes Foods.

  • NARC IPA is a classic West Coast IPA with a hoppy profile and flavors of grapefruit and orange zest. NARC Lager with lime and salt is “super crushable, bright and zippy,” per a press release from the brewery. 
Cümulo has concentration levels of 2.5mg THC / 5mg CBD, 5mg THC / 10mg CBD, and 10mg THC / 20mg CBD. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Bonus: Resident Culture recently released cannabis-infused sparkling waters called Cümulo. They contain a combination of THC and CBD from Delta-9. They come in two flavors — mango lime and pink lemonade. And they range between $22-$30 for a four-pack, depending on the THC concentration level.

Lenny Boy

This LoSo brewery’s kombucha is sold at retailers across the city. Kombucha is a fermented, non-alcoholic beverage that is high in Probiotics, B-vitamins, and Amino Acids. 

Details: Lenny Boy is located at 3000 S. Tryon St.

  • It’s open Tuesday-Thursday 4-9pm, Fridays 3-98pm, Saturdays 11am-9pm and Sundays 11am-7pm. Closed on Mondays.
Photo: Axios archives

On the menu: There are five staple flavors (Good ol’ Ginger, Wake-up Call, Lavenderade, Strawberry Limeade and Lost Rose) and additional rotating flavors available in cans.

Blue Blaze

Blue Blaze’s Zero Day Seltzer is probably one of the best NA seltzers in town, according to Ruggere, the Counterculture founder.

Details: Blue Blaze is located at 528 S. Turner Ave.

  • It’s open Monday-Thursday 4-9pm, Friday-Saturday 12-10pm and Sundays 12-8pm.
blue blaze brewing
Photo: Axios archives

On the menu: Its non-alcoholic Zero Day Homemade Seltzer is available on draft, in growlers and 16oz. cans.

Birdsong Brewing

Birdsong is a Charlotte OG, located in Optimist Park.

Details: Birdsong is located at 1016 N Davidson St.

  • It’s open Monday-Thursday 3-10pm, Friday-Saturday 12-11pm and Sundays 11am-8pm.

On the menu: Birdsong’s True Blue kombucha mocktail ($6) has blueberry yerba mate kombucha, combined with house-made blueberry syrup.

Kombucha mocktail
The kombucha mocktail. Photo courtesy of Birdsong Brewery
  • They also have Athletic Brewing IPAs ($6) and Golden cans on their taproom menu for $6 each. 

NoDa Brewing

This popular brewery on North Davidson released a zero calories, zero alcohol and zero sugar sparkling water in four different flavors.

Details: NoDa Brewing has two locations — The OG at 2229 N. Davidson St. and the North End location at 150 W 32nd St. Hours vary per location.

Photo: Courtesy of Cody Nations/NoDa Brewing Company

On the menu: Hop2O is available in lemon-lime, grapefruit, mango and citrus in cans and an eight-pack mix.

Wooden Robot

Wooden Robot is known for its trivia nights and surprisingly delicious food menu at its South End location. But their seltzer water is available on tap in both South End and NoDa.

Details: Wooden Robot is located in both South End and NoDa, their hours of operation vary by location.

The Robo-Chico from Wooden Robot. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

On the menu: Robot’s house-made seltzer water called “Robo Chico.” It’s their take on the popular seltzer water Topo Cico and its available on draft.

Editor’s note: This guide was last updated Jan. 9, 2024

Looking for more Charlotte food and drink guides? Here’s a complete list of Axios guides including best new restaurants, best pizza, and best cocktail bars.

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