Cold beer, vintage clothes, loose lugnuts

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In these times of recession, there appears to be a consistent message coming from you, the fearless reader. "It costs too much to see live music, and when I do go, it costs WAY too much for beer." That'ss why I'm here to let you in on a recession-proof opportunity. A way to enjoy the fun of live music, with an ice cold beverage in your hand, all for the low, low price of – FREE!

Tucked away in the mystical land of NoDa, is a small establishment known as the Rat’s Nest. For almost five years, the brothers (and sister) Wilson, have been offering a service you won’t find anywhere else. Vintage clothes are officially the draw, but once you walk in, you’ll quickly see that The Nest offers much more. Within 10 seconds of your arrival, you’ll be asked if you’d like a beer. If you so choose, one will be delivered from the fridge – located in the bathroom. That’s right, so far we have free beer.

On most weekends, you’ll also have the opportunity to get your live music fix, for the same price. On any Gallery Crawl Friday (every other Friday in NoDa) The Nest has live music. The owners have even been known to take the stage with their own band known as the Loose Lugnuts. Covering mostly outlaw country (your Willie, Wayland, Haggard, Hank and, of course, Cash), the band has no real set list. That’s up to you, the customer. Says Brian Wilson, part owner, "You wanna hear it; they’ll play it (as long as they know it)."

So let’s recap:

Free Beer – check

Free Live music – check (and YOU get to pick the tunes)

Cool, cheap vintage clothes – check

The Lugnuts are also known to bring their unique blend of free music to The Thirsty Beaver (on Central Ave.). Also owned by the Wilson Brothers, The Beaver was just named Best Dive Bar by both Critics and Readers in Creative Loafing’s Best of Charlotte 2009 edition (on newsstands now!). The beer, though not free, is still cheap.

This Friday (Aug. 7) during the Gallery Crawl, the Rat’s Nest will be celebrating five big years of bringing the people what they want most — cheap entertainment. The Loose Lugnuts will be in full effect and ready to bring the house down as only they can.

And remember, if you need a refill, the beer’s in the bathroom.

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