By Lauren Levine
1. Sip a local brew somewhere new
Hyde Brewing is headed to South End in 2017, bringing a new take on an already booming craft beer scene. The space will operate as part-brewery, part-coffee shop and feature a rotating food menu. Because partners Lindsay Pitman (former owner of The Daily Press in Noda) and Dan Hyde believe in the importance of water quality when it comes to producing the best beer and coffee, a focus on this essential element will remain at the heart of what Hyde is all about. In fact, the brewery will feature an on-site water tower.
It’s one thing to salute women who have changed the course of history with a page in a textbook or a special on PBS, but in 2017 you can also toast their monumental moves at Bold Missy Brewery. The NoDa brew haven aims to honor the courageous achievements of women like Harriet Tubman and Sally Ride. The first brew is called Rocket Ride IPA, branded as a tribute to Ride’s triumphant venture to space. Bold Missy will also offer a menu of light snacks to munch on as you sample suds.
Rounding out the list of newbies on the Queen City’s brew circuit, Catawba Brewing expects to open its doors in Plaza Midwood in early spring 2017. But this “newbie” to Charlotte is actually an oldie; Catawba runs three other locations—one in Morganton, North Carolina, and two in Asheville, North Carolina. In Charlotte, beer lovers can avail themselves of the brewery’s full bottling line to order fan favorites like White Zombie white ale and Mother Trucker pale ale. A 6,000-square-foot tap room and ample views of the Charlotte skyline add major bonus points to the new spot’s offerings.
2. Savor fresh bites and beverages
Carnivores craving juicy cuts to sink their teeth into will rejoice at the arrival of Oak Steakhouse in the spring of 2017. The Queen City joins the restaurant’s roster of popular locations in Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina. Look for Oak Steakhouse in South Park, right near HomeGoods and Whole Foods.
If you wistfully watched HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” you’ll soon get a shot at living out your Prohibition-era dreams. The “…” speakeasy (yes, that’s the name) comes to the Park Road Shopping Center. Targeted for a March 2017 opening, the throwback venue will offer specialty cocktails and an extensive collection of bourbon and scotch.
The booming section of Charlotte known as LoSo (lower South End) is quickly becoming one of the city’s most desirable spots to spend a Saturday afternoon—thanks to The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Sugar Creek Brewing Company, Broken Spoke and other laid-back, crowd-drawing venues. The list lengthens with the early 2017 debut of Queen Park Social. The entertainment destination will feature a bar and restaurant, life-size board games, shuffleboard, bowling and a stage for live music.
3. Get a dose of retail therapy at the redesigned Concord Mills
As consumers become increasingly dependent on their computers when it comes time to make a purchase, Concord Mills is pulling a power move in order to remain competitive. The mall’s substantial renovations will be revealed in spring 2017 and will include a new dining area, additional lounge space, valet parking, and enhanced lighting and signage throughout. One most-coveted tenant to join the cache of retailers is popular men’s and women’s apparel gem H&M. Along with the new design, shoppers can also enjoy boosted Wi-Fi and charger availability for optimal phone use when a little downtime between stores is necessary.
4. Relish new rides and revelries at Carowinds
This spring, award-winning Carowinds—known for hair-raising roller coasters that take riders down towering tracks—will also pack patrons’ days with a hearty a dose of Carolina nostalgia. The park will unveil a new County Fair attraction that features classic fair fare, family-friendly fun and four new vintage, carnival-style rides. And while it’s known for delivering thrills year-round, Carowinds will also add both joy and cheer to its repertoire in the fall/winter of 2017. A fresh, festive event, WinterFest, will bring seasonal offerings that include Christmas crafts, ice skating, cookie and ornament decorating, and a spectacular 70-foot-tall Christmas tree.
5. Tee off at Topgolf
Whether you’re playing 18 holes every weekend or have never held a 9 iron in your life, Charlotte’s Topgolf complex, which opens in early 2017, will be worth a visit. The massive recreational facility, which has enticed us with locations in Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., boasts golf-centered games that are perfect for all ability levels. Improve your distance and accuracy and challenge your friends at the same time. Loser buys beers and appetizers, which are served to you as you tee off in climate-controlled bays.
6. Rekindle your inner-kid at Gov Porch
Thanks to a grant from KaBOOM! Play Everywhere, in 2017 the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza will introduce Gov Porch. It’s a playful space where kids and their families can run, play and spend time together. Features include a colorful playground, a library complete with rocking chairs perfect for enjoying a book, and plenty of inviting seating and kid-friendly decorations.
7. Drool over vintage cars at The National Mustang Museum
Cars and racing lie at the heart of Charlotte’s culture, so serving as the home for a tribute to one of our country’s most classic rides makes sense. The National Mustang Museum is set to open in Concord, North Carolina, in the summer of 2017 near Charlotte Motor Speedway. The interactive museum isn’t directly affiliated with the iconic Ford brand; it’s the brainchild of longtime Mustang enthusiasts Steve Hall and Ron Bramlett. The space will feature a rotating exhibit of shiny cars, striking memorabilia, and interactive exhibits and will also host events for Mustang die-hards.
8. Navigate to NoDa and University City with ease
The highly anticipated 9-mile LYNX Blue Line light rail extension will run through NoDa and wind its way through the city, ending up in the University area. With an estimated August 2017 completion date, the expanded public transportation system will make it easier for Charlotteans to navigate from neighborhood to neighborhood without idling in traffic. Beyond the practicality of it, light rail riders will also enjoy a burst of beauty as they wait to grab a train, thanks to the Art-in-Transit program, which integrates vibrant public art into civic projects. You’ll notice an infusion of art specifically, the surrounding areas of stations and park-and-ride lots.
9. Be your own paparazzo at the PGA Championship
The pristine Quail Hollow Club has hosted some of the biggest names in golf today as part of the annual Wells Fargo Championship. In August 2017, the course will take the national stage once again when the PGA Championship comes to town. Grab your camera and prepare to snap shots (but not during competition rounds) of golf legends like Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and other giants of the game.
10. Hail history through hip-hop
Theater fans, rejoice! The national tour of Broadway sensation “Hamilton” will electrify the stage during the PNC Broadway Lights 2017-18 series. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center will host this hit, which is the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury. With a soundtrack that boasts a catchy blend of hip-hop, jazz, blues and rap, “Hamilton” has taken the world by storm and nabbed 11 most-deserved Tony awards.
This article ran in the Winter 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings magazine.