Camp North End after dark is a special place.
The big picture: Even though it’s just outside of Uptown, the string lights and music give CNE an extra intimate feel in the evening.
Because the development is a haven for creatives and doesn’t subscribe to the same rules as other popular mixed-use spaces in Charlotte, you can craft a special evening experience without spending a lot of money or having to drive from place to place.
Many Camp North End businesses opened during the pandemic, so as COVID restrictions loosen, more people are starting to see the potential of the place.
- “Camp North End is all about the art,” Leah & Louise mixologist Justin Hazelton tells me. Leah & Louise opened right at the start of the pandemic in 2020. “No one is just making drinks or making food. They’re really trying to express themselves artistically. The nightlife experience is one that’s tending to all your senses a little more.”
Of note: You’ll probably want to plan for a weekend evening. CNE vendors all have different hours but many of them are closed on weeknights, especially during the pandemic.
Pro tip: Make your way to the Boileryard around sunset. You’ll get a beautiful view.
Here are our suggestions for exploring all the gems the mixed-use development has to offer its nighttime visitors.
1. Work up an appetite by exploring CNE’s murals and art galleries.
One of Camp North End’s biggest appeals is its creative spaces. The development itself is covered in art and has multiple tenants are committed to local artists.
BLKMRKT is a creative space dedicated to supporting artists and facilitating relationships between the artist and the consumer. Right now it’s open by appointment only but it’ll go back to normal hours again this summer. The shop gives platforms to talented artists of color who are often overlooked at other venues.
- “What attracted us to Camp North End was the possibility of what we could actually do here,” Will Jenkins, BLKMRKT co-owner tells me. Since opening at CNE, BLKMRKT has done everything from host pop-up shops to twerksanity classes to photography workshops.
Check out our mural guide to plan your tour of Camp North End murals.
2. Grab dinner at Leah & Louise or the Gama Goat building food stalls.
Esquire recently named Leah & Louise the second best new restaurant in America. James Beard Award semifinalist Chef Greg Collier likes to switch out menu items often, so there’s always something new to try.
Plus the playlist is always a 10/10. It’s a juke joint with great energy and a perfect date night pick.
The food stalls at the Gama Goat building are also great evening dinner option, especially if you want to sample a variety of cuisines.
- There are four food stalls: La Caseta (Latin American), Bleu Barn Bistro (farm-to-table burgers), SARU (ramen) and Plant Joy (vegan).
3. Grab a(nother) drink.
CNE has a great mix of adult beverage options from beer to specialty cocktails.
Note: If you chose to eat at Leah & Louise you should’ve already tried one of Justin Hazleton’s specials. If not, swing by the bar to try something new.
- “This is a food and beverage experience that’s slightly more elevated,” says Hazelton, who hesitated to use the word elevated when describing his celebrated cocktails in fear of sounding pretentious. “This is craft mixology. The drink list riffs on classics. … It’s not just a normal bar where you’re getting shots.”
Black Moth Bars is another option. It’s a specialty cocktail bar located in a renovated Airstream camper at the Boileryard. Offerings change often but there’s always a variety.
Free Range Brewing has a Camp North End location that has multiple beers, wines, spirits and seltzers.
- Fun fact: Free Range customers have access to a special Leah & Louise food menu.
NoDa Company Canteen serves beer and wine on Friday nights at CNE’s Boileryard. The canteen is NoDa Company Store’s sister concept.
4. Get dessert.
End the night by satisfying your sweet tooth.
Popbar sells customizable popsicles made of gelato, sorbet and yogurt. Add toppings like pistachios, waffle cone or sprinkles.
Wenthworth & Fenn is a bakery from former Fig Tree pastry chef Samantha Allen that specializes in special event cakes and pastries. The beautifully decorated desserts look too pretty to eat, so grab a picture before devouring.