Spend 24 Hours Supporting LGBTQ-Owned Businesses in Charlotte
Charlotte’s gay community brings life and vibrancy to locally owned businesses all across the city.
by Dean McCain
One key force in Charlotte’s constant reinvention is the creativity expressed by the city’s locals. Small businesses, opened by members of the community, help areas thrive and flourish. Whether you’re a Charlotte local or just visiting, check out this 24-hour guide spotlighting LGBTQ-owned businesses and the unique vibes they bring to the city.
If you’re going to spend 24 hours exploring Charlotte, you’ll need a little caffeine boost. Make your first stop Detour Coffee Bar, a mobile espresso and coffee truck. Proprietor and barista Mike Hargett offers a selection of locally roasted hot and cold coffee drinks, a variety of teas, crafty lattes, and pastry and breakfast options. Find Detour’s daily location on the business’ website.
Want an early morning workout? Grab your racket and check out the Queen City Tennis Club. Or, join the welcoming running and walking group, The Charlotte Front Runners, and see some great views of the city along the way.
When it’s time for lunch or brunch, 300 East in Dilworth should be on your list for its generous menu featuring local, fresh produce and meats. 300 East has been serving Dilworth for over 30 years and is a local favorite. The comfortable home-turned-restaurant dishes out sandwiches for lunch, such as shrimp BLTs, salmon burgers and chicken salad, along with brunch favorites like biscuit sandwiches, custard-filled French toast and eggs benedict.
Feeling more adventurous? Head over to White Rabbit in Plaza Midwood, one of the city’s top LGBTQ gift shops offering a variety of pride-themed wear. For stylish and modern furniture shopping, High Cotton Home Company, in the Park Road Shopping Center, will give you a glimpse of the Carolinas’ textile roots in full bloom. If fashion is more your speed, the inimitable House of LeMond is a must visit. Local clothier LeMond Crayton-Hart always has something new and exciting up his sleeve to help you #StayDapper.
After finishing your shopping, it’s time for some action. Go find the Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Club at a game or at practice. This fun and welcoming group knows how to bring the energy. All levels are welcome to play, though you might enjoy the views from the sidelines too.
When the evening starts to creep in, order a cold drink at NoDa Company Store and find a seat on the beautiful patio. At Camp North End, you’ll find their satellite location, NoDa Canteen, with tiki drinks and lots of space for roaming this historic campus.
For something quick and flavorful, check out the Tacos Rick-O taco truck. Ricky Ortiz’s menu of bold Mexican street food offers choices on choices, including tacos, surf and turf, birria pizza, wings and even a mighty fried cheesecake burrito.
If you’re feeling philanthropic, Charlotte has numerous LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations to support. Spend an afternoon volunteering at Transcend Charlotte, Campus Pride and Time Out Youth. These organizations aim, in various ways, to help the advancement of LGBTQ+ people in the Queen City.
When you’re done exploring and are ready to wind down, an evening in the beautiful, Fourth Ward Victorian home of Poplar Tapas Wine and Spirits is sure to help you decompress. Executive chef Bruno Macchiavello brings authentic European tapas to the heart of Uptown.
For a vegan dining experience, try Bean Vegan Cuisine on East Independence Boulevard. Owned by Roy Parkhurst and Charlie Foesch, Bean Vegan Cuisine offers a delicious selection of original vegan dishes including jackfruit carnitas tacos, pimento cheese-ish dip and the restaurant’s famous meatless chili.
If you're looking for a more adventurous and unique dining experience, make a reservation at Counter-. Chef Sam Hart keeps diners on their toes by constantly updating the menu and nightly themes. Guests will be treated to artful plating and music soundtracks tailored to create a truly one-of-a-kind and immersive dinner. Fine dining enthusiasts can indulge in a reverse wine-pairing dinner at Hart's other restaurant, Biblio. Choose a bottle of wine from the expansive cellar then enjoy specially curated plates that complement the vintage.
The Wine Vault in the University area is a cozy spot, featuring luscious reds and crisp whites, for a slower paced evening.
For a night out on the town, Charlotte has your scene covered. The Scorpio is an iconic nightclub with spectacular drag shows and high-energy dancing. Shoot some pool at Sideline Sports Bar and Billiards, or venture over to its next-door neighbor, Bar Argon, where DJs and VJs have the place jumping all night long. Settle in for a mixed drink at Chasers before hitting the dance floor.
Article originally written by Dean McCain. Updates by Arielle Patterson in May 2023.