Every two weeks, we’ll feature an audience question and have all four of our editorial team members provide their answer. Want to submit a question? Send an email to [email protected]
“I want to try something new, what’s your favorite new restaurant or bar that opened in 2017?” – George (32), an Agenda reader since 2015
Thanks for the question, George. First let me point you to Katie’s story: Charlotte’s 17 best new restaurants and bars of 2017. This story doesn’t rank the concepts, but it’ll give you a great overview of hot new concept that debuted last year.
Okay, here are answers from our Agenda editorial team.
#3: Merchant & Trade. I’m for anything that adds a high-rise to the skyline that’s not just a bank or a private residence. The Kimpton property did just that with a sophisticated rooftop lounge as the cherry on top.
#2: Lincoln’s Haberdashery. Three cheers for repurposing a historic space. The urban grocery in an old Lance cracker factory on South Boulevard fills a gaping hole in South End’s eclectic/casual hangout scene since the old Common Market closed. (Ok so Lincoln’s had barely soft opened in the final days of 2017 but I’m counting it. PS – Common Market will be back later this year.)
#1: The Suffolk Punch / Hyde Brewing. I love the creative all-day use of a brewery space that functions as a coffee shop, restaurant and bar. I love the commuter friendliness of the light rail-adjacent location and walk-up patio coffee bar. And I love the industrial design dripping in plants. A+.
#3: Catawba Brewing. I’m a beer person, yes, but I’m picky. I don’t like IPAs, a lot of hoppy-ness or anything heavy but also think the beer game in Charlotte is average. Enter Catawba, whose huge menu I somehow can’t get enough of. Not to mention, the vibe is exactly what I want – it feels like Sycamore’s patio has come to my side of town.
#2: Suffolk Punch/Hyde Brewing. The transformation of the building is one for the books (it’s beautiful, and exactly what I want to my house to look like, but I can’t keep a plant alive), the patio is grade A and the food is delicious.
#1: Hoppin’. Maybe it’s the novelty of serving yourself using a wristband, but it took one visit for this place to cement itself in my number one spot and I just can’t quit it. Yes, it can get a little crazy late-night, as made apparent by the glass I pulled out of my jacket pocket the morning after I stayed until last call on a weeknight, but stay.
#3: Merchant & Trade. Makes me feel like I’m trendy. I heard it gets clubby late night, which isn’t for me, but taking in the sunset here is awesome. Don’t forget there is a dress code — they’re oddly strict, which is kind of annoying.
#2: Topgolf. It’s amazing. It’s huge. Waits can be long during peak hours, so be prepared. Order the nachos. It’s above average bar food, so don’t be scared to eat there. I recently took my wife here on a date and we had a blast.
#1: Hoppin’. I can’t get enough of this place. It’s chill. Wristbands are fun, self-pour means I can try a variety of weird beers and the space is gorgeous. I heard it gets a little crazy late night. Yes, and you’re going to get foam serving yourself with their system, but whatever. Don’t forget that Hoppin’ also has wine and another 15 or so taps on the 2nd floor.
#3: Hoppin’. This place opened with a ton of hype, and Hoppin’ lives up to it. It’s so much fun to walk around and sample all the different beers without feeling like an idiot and holding up lines at a bar. It’s flexible enough where you feel comfortable going alone or in a huge group. Parking is tough, but it’s worth a walk.
#2: The Packhouse. I’m a sucker for an ambiance full of North Carolina history, and this place delivers. Wow. Solid chicken and burgers. Plus parking is simple in the attached deck.
#1: Suffolk Punch. The attention to detail in designing this restaurant/bar is amazing — it’s one of those places that truly breaks the mold. The seasonal shrub coffee is a top 5 must-try beverage in Charlotte. While the food menu is small, there are still plenty of good options. Good for date night or for getting a little work done earlier in the day.