By Leah Hughes
The hip, urban neighborhood of South End lies just southwest of Uptown. Its modern and forward-thinking amenities, like sleek luxury housing and a booming craft beer scene, make it a hot spot for young professionals. But its deep historical roots (it once featured a factory, mill and gold mine stronghold) infuse the neighborhood with seasoned charm and character. Beyond its edgy, happening vibe, South End touts a major convenience factor: Uptown, Dilworth and other areas are easily accessible by walking or biking, or taking the LYNX Blue Line light rail.
An ideal South End morning starts at Atherton Market. It’s open Monday through Saturday, but the Saturday market is the largest. Get your juices flowing with a latte or cup of joe from Not Just Coffee. Make your way around the market sampling freshly baked bread and homemade pastries. Once you’ve had your fill, venture into the surrounding Atherton Mill shopping center. Pick out some new flavors for your kitchen at Savory Spice Shop and some new fashions for your closet at Anthropologie.
When lunchtime rolls around, grab some of the South’s finest fried chicken at Price’s Chicken Coop or hit up Mac’s Speed Shop for its famous pulled pork barbecue, ribs and beef brisket. Don’t let all the motorcycles out front of Mac’s fool you; it’s an unusual blend of family-friendly barbecue joint and biker bar. Spend the afternoon exploring the area’s art galleries, such as Lark & Key Gallery and Boutique and Elder Gallery, or the incredible selection of furniture at Abode, High Cotton Home, The Furniture Connector and LaDonna Antiques and Interiors.
If you’re bigger on adventure than strolling city blocks, release your energy solving puzzles and finding clues to unlock the door to a room in one hour at Exit Strategy. Or scale the 25-foot climbing wall, explore the lead cave or challenge yourself to one of the 50 rope stations at Inner Peaks Climbing Center.
Begin your evening with a sampling of hard cider at Red Clay Ciderworks or homegrown taps from the neighborhood’s well-appointed brewery scene. Sycamore Brewing, Lenny Boy Brewing Co., Triple C Brewing Co. and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, among others, are all located within mere blocks or miles of one another. South End’s craft beer craze blends nicely with its new craft cocktail appetite, which can be satisfied at Nan and Byron’s. Here, handcrafted creations often include housemade syrups, local spirits and fresh herbs. Once you’re seated, choose from a menu of Southern comfort food with a twist. The meatloaf comes with a kick from Sriracha ketchup, and there’s a nontraditional burger made of beets.
On the weekends, Tupelo Honey Cafe serves a big brunch. The focus is fresh ingredients creatively prepared. Try a pimento-cheese-filled omelet paired with a signature Queen Mary bloody mary.
Join Chef Alyssa Gorelick of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen as she walks you through a hands-on class of how to prepare new recipes. Each class has a different theme and is BYOB.
Order inventive fare from the city’s various food trucks, mingle with neighbors and enjoy music at South End’s famous Food Truck Friday outdoor gatherings, which now convene at Sycamore Brewing.
Groove to live music at Amos’ Southend. This local favorite is nestled right off the LYNX Blue Line.
This article ran in the April 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.
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