The Dirty Dozen visits the Queen City | QC After Dark

The Dirty Dozen visits the Queen City

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Believe it or not, I kept it low-key this past weekend. The work week consisted of a schedule adjustment consisting of early mornings and late nights in order to accommodate my boyfriend who needed to borrow my car. That meant only a few after work excursions — obviously — which included a couple margaritas on Cinco de Mayo and book club, my newest “adult” activity.

By the time Friday arrived, I really didn’t feel like socializing at all. And even though I got off work early, the commute home via light rail and a lost Uber landed me on the couch a full two hours after leaving my office. No nap after a long week equals an antisocial Friday night vegging in front of the TV. Not to mention, the next morning I was leaving the Q.C. to visit my mom for Mother’s Day.

I woke up the next morning, hopped in my car and headed North on I-85 towards the family home, an hour or so away. Shortly after arriving, my mom asked, “Have you found a place the family can go after graduation?” I let out a huge sigh.

My cousin is graduating from Winston Salem State University this coming weekend and the entire family is coming to Charlotte afterwards to celebrate. Things to note: Yes, Charlotte is a celebration destination when you’re from the country. Secondly, when I say the entire family, I’m referring to more than 12 people — we even get called the “Dirty Dozen” when we travel for vacation. Since my mom tasked me with finding a place for everyone to enjoy nightlife in the city, I was — for the first time, in a very long time — in uncharted territory.

Where could 12-15 people go for after dinner for drinks and entertainment in a family-friendly setting? I was perplexed since I’m the only heavy partier in the fam. So, I decided to do what any rational Charlottean would do during this dilemma, online research. My aunt had mentioned wine and jazz so I started my search with “live jazz in Charlotte, North Carolina.” The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art came up fairly quickly and I thought, ‘This is it!’ But after clicking the link, not only did I find that live jazz shows require tickets (at $14 a pop), but the events only occur on the first Friday each month and we’re planning for the second. And another sigh.

After realizing we were eating dinner in the area, I thought I would try searching for, “jazz in Ballantyne.” I came across an event in Ballantyne Village at D’vine Wine Café and again my hopes were lifted. Nope, that event was over a year ago and they’re closed now apparently. I decided to check out event calendars on Charlotte Culture Guide and Charlotte’s Got A Lot, clicking the “Kids and Families” tabs, which felt so strange.

In any other situation, I would have let my parents fend for themselves while I partied it up at Silent Disco’s ‘Rave the Roof’ party at Rooftop 210 at EpiCentre for my friend’s birthday. But this time, I have my whole family’s entertainment to worry about. My goal was to find a lounge-like place with live music and drinks that was large enough to accommodate them all. But most of the venues I’ve been to like this, are small and intimate.

My last ditch effort was going to be Blue Restaurant & Bar located in Hearst Tower in Uptown. While I was weary about the fact that it was a restaurant, I decided to check out its website. Anxious to find out whether this was going to be the winner, I headed straight to the “Events” tab.

The first thing I saw was, “Join us for Live Jazz on Fridays with Buff Dillard (every other week) at 9 p.m.! No cover charge necessary, first come first serve. Free parking for Blue customers validated in the Hearst Tower or complimentary valet.” I scrolled down to view the dates, and what do I see? May 13th! As excitement started to build, I clicked “Contact” and saw the venue had won a “Best Place to Hear Jazz” award. Yes!

I called the Blue to see if I needed reservations for my large party. And guess who scored an 8:45 p.m. reservation for the bar-lounge area featuring couches and chairs that supposedly can accommodate up to 15 people? That’s right, yours truly. And the best daughter of the year award for planning an epic family night out goes to ...

What’s even better? I still may make it to Silent Disco after all. Tell me, where have you taken your large family in the city? I’d love to know for the next time around.

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