Editor’s note: This guide was first published in November 2020.
It’s cold out there, and options are few and far between for people like me who prefer dining outside during the pandemic. Here are 19 restaurants with heaters or fireplaces on their patio.
Setup: The Lower South End brewery has multiple outdoor dining areas, including a fully heated patio with wind blockers, an open-air patio with overhead heaters, and a patio without heaters. It’s designed for a winter in the South.
What to order: Cheesesteak ($13) with beer cheese sauce.
Weekly specials: $3 drafts all day on Monday; $3 tacos and $16 seltzer buckets on Tuesday; $15 steak night on Thursday.
Location: 4001-A Yancey Rd., in Lower South End.
Setup: The modern Greek restaurant has an intimate patio on top of the restaurant with lounge dining and heaters. If that’s full, try KiKi’s beloved sister restaurant Soul Gastrolounge, which also has a small outdoor dining space.
What to order: Grilled octopus ($17).
Location: 1500 A. Central Ave., in Plaza Midwood.
Setup: This brewery-cafe-restaurant combo has an expansive covered patio with heaters and two tents set up outside for warmth. Suffolk Punch is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night dining.
What to order: Flatbread and beer. Or if you’re there for breakfast, go with a chicken biscuit.
Location: 2911 Griffith St., in South End.
Set-up: The 25-year-old restaurant has overhead heaters on its patio. Plus, it’s a great spot for people watching.
What to order: As the name suggests, you should order a mimosa ($6) or an entire carafe ($24). Staples here include roasted salmon and the steak burger. For brunch, there’s steak & eggs and walnut-crusted French toast.
Location: 327 S. Tryon St. in Uptown.
Setup: Out of any restaurant during the pandemic, Seoul probably has the most signs telling you what to do and what not to do. There’s a clear system here and a safe flow of traffic whenever I’ve gone to pickup soy garlic wings. As far as heat goes, there are open-air heated tents outside.
What to order: The wings ($9+). They come in soy garlic and spicy BBQ flavors.
Location: 1400 S. Church St., in South End.
Setup: The rooftop deck has overhead heaters and wind blockers. There’s also a dog-friendly patio downstairs.
What to order: Oysters on the half shell, obviously. [Related Agenda guide: The 10 best places to eat oysters in Charlotte]
Location: 2729 South Blvd., Ste. D, in South End.
Setup: Fireplaces are scattered around the 76-acre complex, so your best bet is to take your food to-go and find a spot to post up. I recommend the teal blue fireplace on Camp Road by Leah & Louise.
- Leah & Louise — Recently named on Esquire’s list of best new restaurants in the U.S.
- Free Range Brewing — Take your beer to-go. You can also order from Leah & Louise here.
- SARU — Ramen shop.
- Plant Joy — Vegan food stall from the Nourish Charlotte team. Just opened in November.
- Bleu Barn Bistro — Farm to table food truck and stall serving burgers, tacos, and more.
- La Caseta — Food stall featuring flavors of El Salvador, Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina; inspired by the team members’ diverse family traditions.
- Popbar — Even if it’s cold, go with a gelato pop.
Location: 301 Camp Rd., in Druid Hills South.
[Related Agenda guide: User’s guide: Camp North End, the growing development near Uptown, now home to 40+ cool tenants]
Setup: The new vegan restaurant in NoDa has an outdoor tent, complete with Christmas decor and a fire pit. There’s also an outdoor bar so you never have to go inside if you don’t want to.
What to order: The “vurger.” Oh My Soul’s winter cocktail list will be out in early December so keep an eye out for that.
Location: 3046 N. Davidson St., in NoDa.
[Related Agenda guide: 18 vegan- and vegetarian-friendly spots in Charlotte]
Setup: This Myers Park taco spot has string lights and heaters on its patio.
What to order: “Clarence Beeks” – cilantro marinated skirt steak, jasmine red rice, black beans, pepper jack cheese, crema, pico, lettuce, topped with queso blanco. ($11.45)
Location: 715 Providence Rd., in Eastover.
Setup: The NoDa restaurant’s garden has fire pits, heaters, and blankets.
What to order: Bacon-wrapped dates ($11) to start, then shrimp and grits ($18.50). This winter, they’ll also have a s’mores board.
Weekend drink special: Mimosas and Bloody Marys are just $5 on weekends.
Location: 1218-A E. 36th St., in NoDa.
Set-up: This is a dreamy covered and heated patio with Southwest facing sunlight that’ll keep you warm in the evening.
What to order: The smoky Fireside Chat cocktail to fit the cozy mood.
Location: 155 New Bern St., in South End.
Setup: Just before the pandemic hit, Wooden Robot built an extension onto its outdoor space complete with an overhead heater. The brewery’s location in NoDa has fire pits.
What to order: Good Morning Vietnam blonde or Overachiever pale ale.
Locations: 1440 S. Tryon St., in South End; and 416 E. 36th St., Ste. 100, in Noda.
[Related Agenda guide: Complete list and map of Charlotte’s 30+ local breweries, plus the most popular beer at each]
Setup: Free-standing and adjustable heaters between tables outside the restaurant.
What to order: The famous elk chop over horseradish spaetzle with smoked bacon-braized purple cabbage and boursin-dijon sauce.
Location: 1601 E. 7th St., in Elizabeth.
Setup: The three-story beer garden has space to spread out and heaters and fire pits outside.
What to order: The draft list can be overwhelming, but you can take your time scanning it before you go via the Untappd app. There’s also a full food menu, including poutine, esquites corn dogs, and a beer battered pretzel.
Location: 1300 S. Tryon St., in South End.
[Full Agenda guide: Everything you need to know about Charlotte Beer Garden]
Set-up: Fahrenheit has one of the most picturesque fireplaces in the city with skyline views. Go at sunset.
What to order: The Charlotte nachos ($16) are a classic, made with fresh potato chips, pimento fondue, scallions, and bacon.
Location: 21st floor of the Skye Condos at 222 S. Caldwell St., in Uptown.
Setup: The new NoDa restaurant has a mix of a couple heated options. It has a few freestanding propane heaters, and it recently added dining igloos that cost $25 per use.
What to order: Broccoli and cheese ($9). It’s way more complex than it sounds with a spiced chili oil on top.
Location: 3032 N. Davidson St., in NoDa.
Set-up: YAFO’s Dilworth location has a heated covered patio facing East Boulevard.
What to order: BYO bowl. I always go with falafel for my protein.
Location: 1231A East Blvd., in Dilworth. Other locations are in Plaza Midwood and SouthPark.
Setup: One of our 20 best restaurants, Barrington’s is a staple in the local food scene. It recently added a small outdoor patio with heaters. Make a reservation in advance.
What to order: Pan seared scallops ($38).
Location: 7822 Fairview Rd., in SouthPark.
Set-up: DTR’s patio and garden has heaters, an outdoor bar, and a koi pond.
Weekly special: On Tuesdays, order a wine flight and receive a complimentary cheese plate.
Location: 300 E. Tremont Ave., in Dilworth.
Join the 54,700 smart Charlotteans that receive our daily newsletter. Subscribe here.