It’s been a long workweek and you’re restless. So on Friday night, you decide that it’s time to party and have a good time.
Unfortunately, as soon as you hit the streets of Uptown, the clock begins to strike 2 a.m. — and that means it’s last call for alcohol, and your favorite playground is about to shut its doors for the evening.
The street sweeper is out spraying down the roads and pushing the trash into the storm drains. Somebody just walked out of a nightclub and vomited in the bushes. And despite the fact that you are totally grossed out by the girl who fell on the sidewalk and showed the whole town the crack of her ass, you're not ready to go home. How could you be?
After downing a few Red Bulls mixed with vodka, the last thing you and your designated driver (who is hopped up on caffeine) want to do is call it a night.
Sadly, however, after 2 a.m. most establishments close for business.
No one will ever say that the Queen City never sleeps. Sometimes it seems as if Queen Charlotte closes her boudoir curtains before the sun goes down ... and this is even on the weekend! Unless there's a huge event in Charlotte, after last call most people go home. The lucky ones go home with somebody.
But not you and not tonight; you don't want to be a part of a seedy one-night stand.
So, the question hangs in the air like dark storm clouds: What the hell is there to do after 2 a.m.?
Taking to the streets of Charlotte, I decide to explore this quandary and find out if there is life after 2 a.m. Around 12:30 a.m., I call my one and only night owl, Erica.
"Hey, want to go out?" I ask.
"It's 12:30. Everything is about to close. You do know that, don't you?" she replies.
"Yeah, but I'm sure there is something going on tonight. And I'm going to find it."
"Have you been drinking coffee all night?" she asks.
"How do you know?"
We laugh and she says, in an effort to keep me safe, she'll ride out with me.
As it turns out -- unbeknownst to Erica and I -- the weekend I decided to explore Charlotte after 2 a.m., a police officer was the victim of a hit-and-run in front of Eastland Mall ... and then there were the robberies in East Charlotte. But, ignorance is bliss; so, as my friend and I roam the street, we search for places to go and people to see.
There's one good thing about Uptown in the early morning hours -- plenty of free parking. After pulling into a space on Church Street, we walk past parking spots that are much closer to the downtown bars and clubs and in better-lit areas.
"Damn, I should move my car," I tell Erica.
"Wait," she says. "There are spots up there."
"I'm going to get my car. You stand in this spot so that no one gets it."
She shoots me a look then says, "Who? We're the only fools out here!"
Nodding, I reply, "You have a point. Too bad Starbucks isn't still open."
Uptown is bustling with a ton of drunks, I discover after parking my car under a streetlight near a residential building on Church Street.
"This is housing?" Erica asks as we head down the street.
"Have they been asleep since 9 p.m.?"
"Probably. You know these are some of the same people who didn't want Coyote Ugly to move over where Daddy's used to be. If they aren't sleeping, they're probably listening to classical music, sipping on milk and scotch."
Suddenly, a pedestrian named Ashley Harts and some of her friends who are visiting Charlotte stumble up the street. After chatting her up for a few minutes, Harts says the only after-hours place to go is Fuel Pizza. "There's nothing going on after 2 a.m. Well, HOM [the swanky Uptown nightclub], is open."
"Are you going to HOM?" I ask.
"No, I'm going home to go to sleep. Good luck finding something to do," she says and then catches up with her friends.
On the sidewalk across the street, two women and a man are walking slowly -- as if they know the location of a late-night party. I approach them.
"What is there to do in Charlotte after 2 a.m.?" I ask.
The first woman, who looks as if she's been drinking, says, "You go home and suck dick."
Her companions laugh. And of course none of them want to give their names.
The man, who most likely is going to get his dick sucked, suggests going to a liquor house on Tuckaseegee Road. But he can't give the exact address of said establishment.