Ballantyne, Pineville: It's more than a mall

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Seeing as how I am on a "maternity leave" I've hired a "nanny"... Actually, I got an intern from UNCC to cover nightlife while I'm off getting my Masters in funny at Second City. So, I'd like to introduce you to Sarah Coombes who brings you Ballantyne After Dark...

By Sarah Coombes

When I first moved to the Pineville and Ballantyne area, my eyes grew wide at the sight of Carolina Place Mall. I was now five minutes from the wonders of Forever 21 and Express, what could be better than that? But then I realized Ballantyne and Pineville are filled with bars that offer entertainment throughout the week — from restaurants to bars, there is always something to do down there in the dirty, or rather not so dirty, South Charlotte.

One such place is Vesuvio. The bar is located in Ballantyne Village, a location hard to miss because of its circle of flashing lights — I always catch myself swerving, just a little, due to the changing blues, reds and greens.

Vesuvio is located directly underneath the lit up centerpiece and the Ballantyne Theatre. I was instantly drawn in by Vesuvio’s activities — music and dancing on Saturday nights (11 p.m. - 2 a.m.) and live entertainment on Thursday and Friday (8 - 11 p.m.). The orangey, comfortably lit room made me feel like I was at the sight of Mt. Vesuvius itself, but the entertainment reminded me I was somewhere much hotter.

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In addition to Vesuvio there is Ballantyne’s famous restaurant Villa Antonio. Villa Antonio hosts a cocktail hour throughout the week offering different deals on drinks each day. Also, on the upcoming week of Jan. 24 - 30, Villa Antonio will be offering a 3 course meal for only $30. If you can’t make it this January, reserve your seat for Valentines Day as the restaurant will offer live music and a special menu.

Pineville also has its amazing nightlife locations such as Baileys Sports Grille, The Graduate and Fifty 1.

Baileys is located on Pineville-Matthews road, in the same complex as Nakatos. I have been to Baileys several times and I keep going back because there is always something happening. Wednesdays and Sundays there’s karaoke and trivia, where you can slip back a couple of drinks and sing “Hit Me Baby One More Time” to a crowd of strangers. If karaoke and trivia is not your thing, there are also themed events every other Sunday. This past Sunday, the theme was Doctor’s and Nurses and in the past, Baileys has been known to throw Sexy Santas, White Trash and Toga Parties too.

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Not even five minutes down the street is one of the many Graduates in Charlotte. The bar hosts a DJ on Monday nights at ten, trivia night on Wednesday, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays there is poker starting at 7pm. Like every good bar, Baileys and The Graduate also have pool tables for anyone who needs to go shoot a couple rounds of pool.

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Recently added to the Pineville area is Fifty-1. On Monday nights, DJ Red makes his appearance, on Wednesday the bar hosts an IPOD DJ, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday, there is a live band. With a wide variety of music offerings the music lover need look no further.

So, why not get out of the Uptown routine for a night and migrate South? We may not be that dirty, but we have a nightlife fit for making dirty little secrets.

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