There's a difference between a bar that has to serve food in order to have a liquor license, and a gourmet restaurant that serves alcohol to cleanse the pallet. Bars serve a plethora of fried delicacies, whereas the pallet-cleansing places are those that have a martini or wine menu longer than that of the food menu (doesn't that make it a bar by default?) And as for the food portion of the menu, it's like you need someone to translate it for you. Meanwhile, the main ingredient in these places is the ambiance.
There's a lengthy menu of bar-a-rants serving up a nightlife dispersed throughout Charlotte. There's Sullivan's, Luce, Bonterra, Mimosa, Capital Grille, Lavecchia's, Taverna 100, Carpe Diem, Zink, Ruth's Chris, Blue, Table, Creation and there's even more economical options such as Alexander Michael's, Boudreaux's, NoFo, City Tavern, Brixx, Cantina 1511 and ... I could use up my entire column just listing them.
As it turns out, SouthPark and Phillips Place aren't just for retail recreation anymore; you can shop for nightlife there as well. And despite the location, there aren't just high rollers and sexy soccer moms frequenting that nightlife. But don't get me wrong, there are plenty of them too.
CASON POINT: P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory, McCormick & Schmick's and M5.
My friends who live in N.Y.C. get to visit the set of the Sex and the City movie currently in production, but my friends here had our own scene from Sex and the City sitting at a patio table at M5. It's actually more like Mmmmmm 5. The avocado hummus was an orgy in my mouth. I'm confused though ... is it a gourmet restaurant or an upscale lounge?
Couches on the patio -- lounge. A Jetsons style ultra modern dining room -- restaurant. Two interior bars -- lounge. A waiter that puts your napkin on your lap for you -- restaurant. A DJ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights -- lounge. Bob Johnson eating at the adjacent table -- an indicator that whatever it is, it's upscale. Meanwhile The Grape is opening up next door.
The next night we went to a happening P.F. Changs. The tables were full of couples, families and co-horts, and there was a buffet of men being served at the bar (note to the single ladies). Plus, I think our waiter was a male model. Furthermore, there's Upstream and Dean & DeLuca around the corner to prolong the palette cleansing.
I'm going to "Sip with Skirt!" at McCormick & Schmick's and coming out with pink hair extensions for the magazine's fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness month. And we have the opening of Woods on South to look forward to!