3 to See in Charlotte's South End Neighborhood
In Charlotte’s trendy South End neighborhood, innovation and history collide.
by Morgan Pike Jul 14, 2018
The history of Charlotte’s South End neighborhood dates back to the 1850s, when a brass band and a barbecue greeted the first train ever to arrive in the city. An entrepreneurial district, the neighborhood would create Charlotte’s first industrial park in the 1890s, transforming this rural Piedmont town into a burgeoning mill district. Today, evidence of this forward-focused attitude is everywhere. Now on of the Queen City’s trendiest haunts, South End invites art galleries, boutiques and breweries to bring once-abandoned cotton mills back to life. Woven together by the city’s LYNX Blue Line light rail system and a walkable urban greenway called the Rail Trail, the fast-growing neighborhood is a youthful hub with innovation on every corner.
Eat: Bang Bang Burgers
Handmade brioche buns and Black Angus beef, piled high with fresh lettuce, tomato and cheese—sounds like a typical burger, right? Now top it with sautéed kimchi, braised pork belly and Gochujang (red chili paste) mayo. This is not your average handheld. Meet the K-Pop Burger, a creation from Queen City favorite Bang Bang Burgers. Owned by chef Joe Huang, the popular specialty burger joint began serving such delicacies in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood years ago, but then expanded to South End in 2018. The second location pulls out all the stops. While the Elizabeth shop offers sliders like the K-Pop as weekly specials, the South End one, located on West Tremont Avenue, is all specialty, all the time. For the full Bang Bang experience, order your burger with a side of homemade barbecue chips, and ask to try the house Bang sauce. You won’t be disappointed.
No need to flag down a bartender here; Hoppin’ leaves the perfect pour up to the customer. Brought to Charlotte by millennial entrepreneurs Rich Moyer and Drew Nesemeir, this self-serve bar uses iPourIt dispense technology, so guests can pour and pay by the ounce. To give you an idea of how much the QC loves the concept, when Hoppin’ opened in 2017, they poured a record 35,000 ounces in their first 24 hours of operation. Here’s how it works: Check in at the front desk with an I.D. and credit card, then use your wristband to purchase one of the 60-plus craft beers, ciders, wines and kombuchas from around the country on tap. Beer and wine glasses are located on the wall next to the front register and beneath the taps, and each wristband has a 32 oz. limit. Guests can even make their own mimosas with orange and cranberry juice and self-poured prosecco. Once you have a brew in hand, plan to stay for a while. With sky-high ceilings, a sprawling outdoor patio and a number of board games, the airy space is the perfect place to sip and sample to your heart’s content.
Shop: Atherton Mill and Market
Located on South Boulevard, Atherton Mill and Market is the one-stop shopping spot for South End’s apparel, décor and cuisine needs. The 19th century cotton mill (located in the original industrial park we mentioned) has undergone countless renovations and been a home to countless vendors, but its historic beauty remains intact. Shoppers can browse big-name retail favorites as well as local loves like Savory Spice Shop, which offers more than 400 spices ground fresh weekly by owners Amy and Scott MacCabe. Or perhaps a stop into eco-friendly wine shop Vin Master, which, by design, features sips that aren’t overly processed and have fewer preservatives. Peruse eclectic home décor at Anthropolgie, find the perfect spring sundress at Free People, and score just the right pair of shades at Warby Parker, all under one roof. Come back on a Saturday morning for the Atherton Farmers Market, which showcases food and trinkets from small local farms and artisans.