Think of the first thing you ask or say when you meet someone new and want to get to know them.
You're sitting at your favorite counter waiting for a libation and you see someone walk in the room. You make eyes at one of your friends and they laugh knowing exactly what you're thinking. You spend the next hour or so trying to figure out what you should say and then cross the room to make your move.
Now, imagine you don't have all night, or the next encounter to figure out the best way to market yourself. Condense your timeframe to ten minutes at a speed dating event. What's your go-to pick up line? Or, even better, think about how you market yourself on social media — let's say Tinder. How quickly can you grab someone's attention?
Without getting into the ins and outs of the dating scene and social marketing, I began to wonder if it would be possible to apply the same logic of "first impressions" to nightlife.
On any given night when I walk into a bar, club or lounge, can I gather all the details I need in a short period of time? Will QC venues be able to successfully market themselves to the short attention spans of this generation?
One IG bio of an entrepreneur that sells clothing/lingerie that always resonates with me simply says: I sell my panties for money. I don't know about you, but I was sold.
I started thinking about the fact that anytime I'm going to a new restaurant I look at the menu, website and social media for insight into the atmosphere, what to wear and, of course, exactly what I want to eat. That's when I realized I do the exact same things when I go to a new nightlife spot. So last week, I decided to try this idea on for size: speed dating nightlife venues.
Given the fact that I'm not drinking this month it has become challenging to sit aimlessly in the same seat for hours on end engaging in surface-level conversation at the same venue. After about an hour, I'm ready to do something, anything else. Now, more than ever, it's important for me to be able to make an assessment on the time I'm going to have as soon as I walk in the door.
The first stop: Recess Charlotte. You may have heard the buzz about an adult playground located off of Seigle Avenue. Well, I finally decided to check it out. At first, I noticed that the space was smaller than what I expected. But after going inside I realized that, while still a more intimate setup, it wasn't as small as I thought it was.
There was ample seating space — bar stools, funky chairs and couches for lounging. There were two bar areas, one focused on liquor and one on craft beer. Seven — yes, seven — TVs shared on strategic walls in the space and games like shuffleboard, Connect 4, UNO Dare and Mancala scattered throughout.
And all of this was surrounded by colorful wall murals and décor that made it even easier to want to be a kid again. Combine that with a swing set, picnic tables, tether ball and corn hole outside, and you have yourself the makings of a place where adults can quickly get into trouble like they're kids again.
The second stop was Salud Cerveceria. I'd visited Salud Beer Shop a couple times right before construction began on Salud Cerveceria upstairs.
I'd tasted the infamous "chicken and waffle-wich" at Fud @ Salud next door (the chicken and waffles to be exact: chicken salad, candied walnuts, bacon and maple syrup squeezed between two Belgian waffles), washed it down with a multitude of sour beers in a glass I purchased that read: sour beer old school hip hop wafflewiches Nintendo salud. I mean, how much more could I ask for once I made the trip upstairs?!
Welp, there was all of six people upstairs when I climbed the newspaper lined steps to one of the most beautiful beer gardens/coworking centers/event spots/lounge spaces I've seen in the Queen City.
The laidback atmosphere combined with a "lit" playlist of old school hip hop created an environment that I could stay in for hours (especially if I had work to do). And if you haven't seen the insane artwork and old-school memorabilia that fills every corner of each of Salud's three separate-but-equally cool establishments, you haven't seen nothing yet!
What spaces have drawn you in right from the start? What do visitors say about your spot after their first impression? Share your ideas with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.