The 21 best patios in Charlotte, right now

The 21 best patios in Charlotte, right now
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No doubt – it’s been a long winter. But it looks like the weather is finally warming up and we’re ready to be outside.

Here’s our roundup of the 21 best patios in Charlotte, just in time for warmer weather. Listed in alphabetical order.

Honorable mentions — al fresco dining: Reid’s SouthPark, Para, Kid Cashew and Toscana.

Honorable mentions — bars and breweries: Angry Ale’s, Thomas Street Tavern,  Resident Culture, NoDa Brewing Brazwell’s, Sycamore and Craft Tasting Room. Need outdoor views from the top floor? Here’s a list of the best rooftop bars in Charlotte.

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(1) Charlotte Beer Garden

The Castle

This sprawling three-story bar has a whopping 436 beers taps – making it the world’s largest selection of draft beers under one roof. The facility is the first sister site to the original Raleigh Beer Garden.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Charlotte Beer Garden

Charlotte Beer Garden

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Charlotte Beer Garden

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios


(2) Dilworth Tasting Room

The European Courtyard

This popular wine bar has an enchanting back patio complete with a koi pond. Lush greenery and the warm glow of string lights make it feel like a hidden escape from the city less than two miles from Uptown.

Related guide: Coolest wine bars in Charlotte

patio-at-dilworth-tasting-room-in-charlotte


(3) El Thrifty

The Urban Desert Garden

Find this Mexican-inspired restaurant, bar and gaming venue from the team behind Queen Park Social (Reid Olsen and Joe Lariscy) on the ground level of Optimist Hall.

Layout: The 6,931-square-foot space includes an 85-seat restaurant, a gaming room with 50 lounge seats and a 30-seat patio with lounge areas for game-watching.

Drinks: Expect agave-based spirits, mezcal, tequila, local craft beer, and wine. They have 12 signature cocktails that range from $10 to $14.

patio outside of el thrifty at optimist hall


(4) Flower Child

The Urban Lunch Spot

Located on the light rail in South End, this fast-casual chain has bowls, salads and wraps made with responsibly sourced health foods — including sustainable salmon, grass-fed beef and organic non-GMO tofu.

flower child patio in south end charlotte

patio seating at flower child in south end


(5) Hopfly Brewing

The New Kid on the Block

Located in the former Unknown Brewing space, Hopfly is South End’s newest production facility and taproom.

Layout: If you knew the brewery when it was occupied by Unknown, you almost won’t recognize it. The main difference is there’s more open space and seating area in the taproom.

  • Downstairs: The main room is a completely open space with tables and high tops, with the central feature being the bar on the back wall. “We increased square footage by almost two and a half times,” Schulz said. 
  • Upstairs: The space has a balcony with a view of Charlotte’s skyline and Bank of America stadium. Its indoor bar space offers the same 20 taps that the downstairs bar does.
  • The Biergarten: One of the major renovations was expanding and improving the outdoor patio space. It’ll have picnic tables, and it’ll look like a traditional German Biergarten.  The parking lot did downsize, but there are still 32 open parking lots.

Go deeper: Look inside: HopFly Brewing debuts in former Unknown space this weekend

Hopfly Brewing

Hopfly’s rooftop patio. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios


(6) Hello, Sailor

The Lakeside Tiki Getaway

Located about 25 minutes from Charlotte, Hello, Sailor is the ideal venue for a lakeside date — test out tiki cocktails, share popcorn shrimp and enjoy the sunset over Lake Norman.

What we’re drinking: The Yacht Club (Mezcal, elderflower, citrus, jalapeno) and the Cherry Lemon Sundrop Negroni (Gin, Campari, cherry lemon Sun Drop).

Related guide: 16 things to eat, drink and do in Cornelius, including pontoon rentals and brewery hopping

Hello, Sailor Cornelius

Hello, Sailor’s tiered patio. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios


(7) Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails

The Treehouse

This sister concept from the owners of Craft Tasting Room & Growler Shop has three seating zones — the main dining room and bar, a ground floor patio fronting Lincoln Street and a rooftop patio with views of Uptown.

House infusions: These house-infused liquors are used in some of the signature cocktails but can also be ordered on the rocks ($11). Flavors include toasted pecan vodka, vanilla orange bourbon and spiced date rum among others.

lincoln-street rooftop patio


(8) Noble Smoke

The Barbecue Beer Garden

This flagship barbecue spot by Jim Noble (owner of Rooster’s) serves up pork, brisket, ribs, chicken, and fish on Freedom Drive. The 200-person patio and biergarten out back has its own pavilion with about a dozen Suffolk Punch beers on draft.

Space: It’s big. The building is a 10,797-square-foot former tractor-trailer garage.

Barbecue: The pork is cooked both Carolina and Texas-style in a 1,800-square-foot smokehouse. Noble Smoke has eight wood-fired smokers — six made of steel (Texas-style) and two traditional North Carolina masonry barbecue pits (which consist of 20,000 bricks).

ribs brisket turkey pork noble smoke barbecue charlotte

massive patio at noble smoke charlotte


(9) NoDa Company Store

The Neighborhood Hangout

From the front, the neighborhood beer and wine shop looks unassuming. But in the back, there’s a vibrant patio with tiki umbrellas and porch swings that beg you to drop everything and linger over a little signature house-made sangria.

Sunday Funday: Later this month, Sunday Fundays will return and if you’re in the neighborhood you can swing by on Sundays for free lunch from the grill. For real. In the past, they’ve done hot dogs, burgers, and even tacos.

noda company store new patio

noda company store new patio


(10) Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

The Family-Friendly Communal Backyard

Charlotte’s oldest brewery is home to a sprawling beer garden that’s popular among everyone from toddlers to grandparents on any given good-weather weekend. Grab a seat at one of the dozens of picnic tables.

What we’re drinking: Copper, a Düsseldorf-style Altbier beer that’s known as the brewery’s flagship (4.9% ABV).

Go deeper: Complete list and map of Charlotte’s local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each

OMB-layout-charlotte


(11) Pins Mechanical

The Gamer’s Paradise

The sprawling 23,000-square-foot facility has two indoor bars – each with 36 taps, a rooftop bar with 24 taps and skyline views, four fire pits and a stacked lineup of patio games, retro arcades and duckpin bowling.

Drinks: The drink menu includes a playful lineup of boozy Slush Puppies, candy-laced cocktails, large-format punch bowls, and novelty souvenir glassware. All specialty cocktails are $10 and drinks in souvenir glasses are $14-$16.

Game inventory: 12 duckpin bowling lanes, 20 pinball machines, 30-plus arcade cabinets, two pong consoles, two Jenga sets, two patio pings, two giant connect 4s, two foosball tables, bocce ball, ping pong table, and a giant lite-bright. A console wall on the 16-Bit side has a lineup of classic Nintendo and Sega games. Pins also has a private event space.

beer pong at pins mechanical south end patio

Anyone up for a game of GIANT beer pong? (Minus the beer, of course) Photo: Ted Williams/Axios


(12) Pinhouse

The Getaway Lounge

This two-story, self-serve bar from the owners of Hoppin’ offers duckpin bowling and 72 taps. The 6,023-square-foot space formerly occupied by Midwood Cleaners is located a couple of blocks down the road from Resident Culture Plaza Midwood.

Vibe: The taproom has a distinct Gatsby-inspired design with lots of gold, navy, and burgundy, marquee-style lights and luxe textures like leather and velvet.

Layout: The two-story space features self-serve taps, a mix of lounge, high-top, and table seating, along with roll-up garage doors and outdoor patios overlooking Veterans Park on both levels. The duckpin bowling lanes are in the basement, which opens out to a spacious lawn and fireplace. The view from out back makes you feel far away from Charlotte.

Two-story back patio at pinhouse


(13) RuRu’s Tacos + Tequila

The Historic Villa Courtyard

This isn’t just any old taco bar. It’s a taco bar located inside the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House, a historic Mediterranean-style Myers Park mansion built in 1926 and beautifully maintained today as a dual-restaurant “villa.” RuRu’s is located on the backside of the property with a gorgeous outdoor bar and patio in the old courtyard.

Related guide: Best Mexican restaurants in Charlotte

ruru-taco-tequila-restaurant-bar-patio-in-charlotte


(14) Selwyn Avenue Pub

The Charlotte classic and home of the Transfusion

This family-owned bar in a repurposed house has been holding it down in Myers Park since 1990. The front patio has a bar, flat-screen TVs, fire pits and a retractable awning to keep it accessible when the weather won’t cooperate.

What we’re drinking: $5 Transfusions. The dead-simple mixed drink — vodka, ginger ale, and a splash of grape juice — has been the same since the bar opened in 1990. They’re also available to go.

food-at-selwyn-pub-sports-bar


(15) Seoul Food Meat Co.

The Adult Playground

The popular Korean-inspired barbecue restaurant delivers all the backyard day party essentials on its South End back patio. They have a huge U-shaped bar, beer pong tables, lawn games (including cornhole and human-sized billiards) and even a fenced dog park. Owner Timothy Chun, who grew up in Charlotte, opened Seoul Food Meat Co. in early 2016.

What’s next: Seoul NoDa is slated to open a massive second location this summer behind the former Lintmen’s complex, soon-to-be Urban District Market.

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

fries-at-seoul-food-meat-co

Seoul’s Kimchi Fries. Photo: Ted Williams/Axios


(16) SouthBound / The Music Yard / Mac’s

The Patio Row

Neighbors Mac’s Speed Shop (a southern smokehouse) and SouthBound (a SoCal-inspired taco bar) are linked by The Music Yard, an outdoor performance venue. The curb appeal of those three places next to one another creates an alluring “patio row” of sorts along the busy South Boulevard corridor.

patio-at-southbound-charlotte


(17) Suffolk Punch

The Trailside Park

The combo coffee shop, restaurant, brewery, and fermentation lab has an expansive trailside patio with rows of picnic tables and retractable awnings to keep the space usable in hot weather and rain.

Bonus: It’s located on the light rail at New Bern Station, giving it the feel of an unexpected urban park.

What we’re drinking: A Patchwork Orange, a super tasty American IPA (5.7% abv).

Deal: All beers are $3 on Thursdays and Sundays. In North Carolina, you can’t do “happy hour” specials, so restaurants and bars have to keep the same price for the entire day. So yes, it’s $3 beers all day on Thursdays and Sundays at Suffolk Punch.

suffolk punch interior coronavirus reopening


(18) The Crunkleton

The Elizabeth patio with all the bells and whistles

The Crunkleton’s covered patio has sun shades, fans, planters and heaters — perfect for the sunny 70-degree days we’ll be seeing soon.

What we’re drinking: The Painkiller ($15). “It’s almost like you’re actually in the tropics enjoying it,” says general manager Hannah Smith.

crunkleton patio

The Crunkleton’s patio. Photo: Courtesy The Crunkleton

crunkleton-painkiller

Painkiller at The Crunkleton


(19) The Goodyear House

The Mill House Courtyard

This “elevated comfort food” spot is located in an early 1900s mill home.

Patio details: Out back, a 150-year-old Holly tree offers shade for the patio and bar, which resembles a backyard shed with tools hanging on the wooden frame. Chef Chris Coleman calls it the “working man’s bar” with $2 PBR for sale among other beer on draft and in cans.

Bread: Every meal starts with free pull-apart sour cream and onion brioche. Also don’t sleep on the classic burger, which will always be on the menu (called the “goopy burger,” $12).

patio at goodyear house in noda


(20) The Royal Tot

The Urban Oasis

Two-story tropical-themed bar has four distinct areas: an interior bar, a first-floor patio, a private event space and rooftop deck with skyline views.

What we’re enjoying: The Dole Whip.

Go deeper: Tropical themed bar now open in Belmont neighborhood

The Royal Tot

Views from The Royal Tot’s rooftop patio called “The Bird’s Nest.” Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios


(21) VBGB / 8.2.0

The Sandbox 

Recess is always in session at this monster back patio (covered and heated in the winter), filled with games like giant Connect Four, cornhole and giant Jenga. Looking for something more physical? It’s also home to The Sandbox, a five-court, lighted sand volleyball facility.

What we’re eating: Totchos — tater tots topped with VBGB’s homemade beer cheese, fire sauce, roasted red peppers, corn, black beans, jalapeños, and sour cream ($7.75).

vbgb-patio-volleyball-court-charlotte

totchos-vbgb-charlotte

“Totchos.” Photo: Ted Williams/Axios


Looking for more Charlotte food and drink guides? Here’s a complete list of  Axios Food + Drink guides including best burgers, best bars, best new restaurants, best weekly specials, best sushi, best pizza, best cocktail bars, top restaurants, and best brunch.

Editor’s note: This guide was first published in 2018 and was last updated on March 2, 2022.

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