After a much needed weekend at home with the parents, I returned to Charlotte ready to party. Even though it was a Tuesday, I was trying to go up — reference “Tuesday” by ILoveMakonnen featuring Drake if that makes no sense to you. A few people had mentioned to me a place called Hattie’s Tap & Tavern, so I looked it up on Facebook and stalked its website. It appeared to be a laid-back spot, so I figured it would be a good compromise for going out during the week. (Not that I have any problems with going out during the week, mind you.)
I invited one of my closest friends to come hang out, but she had no one to watch her 4-year-old. She asked if she could bring him, and I thought, “Well, the website says dog-friendly, isn’t that basically the same thing?”
I kid, I kid. I called Hattie’s to ask if they were kid-friendly, and they were indeed. As I’d never been out with a kid in tow before, I anticipated an interesting evening ahead.
Located off of The Plaza between Plaza Midwood and NoDa, this bar is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. It shares space with three other small businesses in a small parking lot and has a “Hatties” sign with letters outlined in string lights. The front doors are tinted, which reminded me of a skating rink — why is that? — and led to the allure of the place.
The best way to describe Hattie’s is to call it an honest dive bar. The folks there are making upgrades, such as building a stage for their Friday night shows, knocking down a wall to increase space and finishing the installation of a 24-tap system that will feature local brews. But the place still has character, with features such as a handcrafted wooden charging station for patrons to charge their phones. Say what? I can’t tell you how many times I have gone out with a dying phone and begged a bartender to use his/her charger (and got shot down most of the time).
I sat at the bar and asked manager Jody Kish if they had a sour — rejoice, dear readers, as I’ve finally found my go-to craft beer choice. We chatted about how Hattie’s opened just five months ago. The owner of the previous bar, The Boasting Hound, was closing shop, and Jackie DeLoach saw an opportunity to open her own place. Deloach named her bar after her grandmother, Hattie, who is pictured with Jackie’s grandfather in a photo on a wall amongst vintage beer posters.
After taking a sip of my Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale, I began to worry — clearly I’m a worrier — about how my friend’s active 4-year-old son would keep busy. But when he came in, he immediately discovered the TV — imagine that — and called out, “Mommy, game!” Hattie’s offers the classics: Nintendo and Nintendo 64 consoles with none other than Super Mario Bros. I felt like a kid again as I watched my friend teach him how to play — which really meant pretending she was letting him play while only one controller was connected.
Speaking of the classics, the bar also offers throwback board games like Connect Four, Sequence and Operation. Outside in the fenced-in patio are cornhole and ping pong tables in front of a huge graffiti-like mural boasting the hashtag #HattiesCLT; #Hattie’s tub (there’s even a real tub below this — you should find out what it’s for); an image of a hummingbird; and the directive to “Mind Your P’s & Q’s.”
By the way, did you know that the P and Q in that phrase refers to pints and quarts?” Me neither. And that’s exactly what you need to be doing because the craft beer at this place will get to you if you don’t watch out.
It was outside on the patio that my friend’s son almost showed us why it can be challenging to bring a kid to the bar. While the dogs hanging outside were all kid-friendly, this little one was terrified of dogs. Hence, random shrieks ensued. But at the same time, he couldn’t decide which was worse: his fear of dogs or the fear that he wouldn’t be able to play ping pong. He managed to hold it together until the sun went down — which meant bedtime. Thank goodness.
While Hattie’s has only been open for a few months, it’s already solidified itself as a neighborhood hangout in the Plaza Midwood/NoDa area: open mic night on Wednesdays, karaoke on Thursdays, live music on Fridays and live music/DJ on Saturdays.
I can’t say you’ll catch me there with a kid again, but if I see you there with a little one, I definitely won’t judge.