Looking for a spot to dine al-fresco in South End?
Hop on your scooter, and head to one of these 11 spots — or make it a day outing and do a patio crawl.
This sprawling three-story bar with a whopping 436 beers on tap, opened in South End right before the start of the pandemic. The facility, comparable in size to Pins Mechanical, is the first sister site to the original Raleigh Beer Garden.
Patio set-up: There’s outdoor seating available on all three levels.
- The ground level has two bars — including the all-N.C. craft beer bar — and a dog-friendly patio with fire pits and heaters.
- The second floor has a balcony that overlooks South Tryon.
- On the third floor, the greenhouse-style, partially covered rooftop bar offers picnic-table seating.
Food: CBG has a full kitchen. The menu is divided into six parts — appetizers, poutines, pizzas, salads, burgers/sandwiches and entrees. Dishes range from tuna wontons to fried shrimp to filet medallions.
Location: 1300 S Tryon St.
Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 11am to 2am (next day), and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2am (next day).
(2) Common Market
The industrial playground
This market, deli and bar hybrid has plenty of patio space where guests can sit out and do work during the day or enjoy a live music performance by night.
Dogs?: Yes. Doggos are allowed on the patio only.
Location: 235 W. Tremont Ave.
Hours: Open daily from 8am to 10pm.
(3) The Waterman
The seafood lover’s spot
Topside: Sit at sea level on the lower level patio or take in views of Uptown from the rooftop bar Topside.
Oyster Happy Hour: Score $1 oysters on weekdays from 2-7pm.
(4) 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 point: It’s located on the light rail at New Bern Station, giving it the feel of an unexpected urban park.
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.
The Gamer’s Paradise
The sprawling 23,000-square-foot facility has two indoor bars with 36 taps each, 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 features 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.
Food: There’s a food truck posted up outside most days from 5-10pm at Pins. If you’re lucky, it might be the Chili Man cart.
This sister concept from the owners of Craft Tasting Room & Growler Shop has three seating zones — the main dining room and bar, a rooftop patio with Uptown views and a ground floor patio fronting Lincoln Street.
Rooftop patio: Stairs from the Craft parking lot lead up to a rooftop patio with views of Uptown. A live Ligustrum tree is planted right in the middle with a banquette and high-top seating surrounding it.
Booze: The bar menu has a dozen signature craft cocktails (all $13), house-infused liquors, shrubs, and natural sodas. On Tuesdays, bottles of wine are half off.
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, 5 citrus gin, vanilla orange bourbon, spiced date rum, sage rye, and dark chocolate chili tequila.
The maker’s space where you can also have a meal
The 10,000-square-foot entertainment venue consists of the restaurant Alchemy, Gallery C3 and the Gathering Common. Enjoy a drink while exploring the gallery then, hang out on the 2,000-square foot outdoor deck.
Specials: $2 beers every Wednesday and half-price glasses of wine on Thursdays.
Location: 2517 Distribution St.
Hours: Wednesday through Thursday 5-9pm, Friday 5-11, Saturday 10am to 3pm & 5pm to 11pm, and Sunday from 10am to 3pm & 5pm to 9pm.
(8) SouthBound / Mac’s / The Music Yard
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.
- Start with appetizers at SouthBound, then barbecue at Mac’s for your main course and finish off with a show at The Music Yard.
(9) 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.
Hours: Open daily from 11am to 9pm.
The European Courtyard
DTR is on the edge between Dilworth and South End, but its back patio is enchanting so we’re including it here. Watch fish in the koi pond while you sip on a glass of rosé. 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.
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 4-10pm, Friday from 4-11pm and Saturday 1-11pm.
[Related guide: Coolest wine bars in Charlotte]
(11) 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 will open a massive second location on North Davidson Street later this year behind the under-construction Lintmen’s complex, which will be home to another food hall called Urban District Market.
[Related guide: The 24 most anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2021]