Rooftop bar and cigar lounge now open in Uptown’s newest tower

Rooftop bar and cigar lounge now open in Uptown’s newest tower

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

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Brace yourself for the onslaught of flower wall selfies on your Instagram with two new bars now open in Binaco Tower.

The big picture: After over a year of construction- and pandemic-related delays, the highly anticipated Novelty House Rooftop and Havana Smoke & Reserve Social Club is now open on the fourth and fifth floor of the mid-rise building.

The two concepts join the popular nightlife block of 5th Street and Tryon with neighbors like Prohibition, The Local and Sip.

  • “This block doesn’t need any help,” owner Ian Jones tells me. “We’re just the salt and pepper to the steak.”

[Related Axios guide: 15 best late night bars in Charlotte]

havana smoke cigar lounge balcony uptownhavana smoke cigar lounge balcony uptown

Owner Ian Jones in the Havana Smoke space. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

What to expect: Jones says both concepts are designed for Charlotte’s professionals to let loose after work. “I really want the happy hour crowd back,” says Jones, former general manager of Bubble and Suite at the Epicenter.

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  • The dress code is smart casual, so no athletic wear.

Novelty House Rooftop: The open-air bar is decked out with flowers on the walls and above, forming a bit of shade. Each season, Charlotte-based Nga Vu Designs will be switching out the decor to create a new theme.

  • By day, mimosas will be flowing. And by night, expect DJs to serve as a soundtrack to the skyline views.
  • NH’s signature cocktail is called “Higher Love,” a watermelon Red Bull-infused Mojito.
  • The space features an Instagram wall with the phrase “wish you were here” on it. Jones and his team have dubbed one of the most Instagrammable spots in Charlotte. Exhibit A:
novelty house rooftop bar

I never know what to do with my hands.

Havana Smoke: One floor below, on Binaco’s fourth floor, you’ll find a 2,200-square-foot upscale cigar social club, which also has a full bar and a small patio overlooking Uptown.

  • Cigars are curated by Craig Cass, owner of Tinder Box Charlotte.
  • Havana Smoke’s signature cocktail is called “Vedado,” a take on an Old Fashioned.
  • Membership to the cigar lounge will range from day passes to annual passes.

Cost: Both bars are considered private clubs under North Carolina law and require membership for entry. Prices range depending on the day and time. The cigar lounge starts with a $10 day rate, while the rooftop bar will often be open without a cover charge.

[Related Axios guide: 12 best rooftop bars in Charlotte]

Reservations: Neither concept offers reservations — it’s all first-come first-serve. But if you’re interested in hosting a private event, you can rent out either space or both.

Hours: The rooftop bar is open 3pm-2am on weekdays, 12pm-2am on Saturday and 12-8pm on Sunday. The cigar lounge is open 12pm-2am daily, except Sunday when it closes at 10pm.

  • Because Novelty House is completely open air, it will close in the event of inclement weather.

Location: 123 E. Fifth St. in Uptown near The Local, Prohibition and a slew of other bars. Plus, it’s across the street from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and next to Sea Level.

Parking: Your best bet is the Truist Tower deck. Evening parking is $6. Neither bar validates parking.

Here’s a closer look around Novelty House Rooftop:

novelty house rooftop bar

Jones tells me the installation process for all of these flowers probably took around 200 hours.

novelty house rooftop bar

novelty house rooftop bar

From the rooftop, you’ll have a great vantage point of this new mural by Charlotte-based Dunc Art.

novelty house rooftop bar

novelty house rooftop

novelty house rooftop

And a closer look around Havana Smoke:

havana smoke cigar lounge balcony uptown

Both floors were designed by Don Peadon, the architect behind Binaco Tower.

havana smoke cigar lounge balcony uptown

cigar lounge novelty house rooftop featured

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"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way