At an hour when many bars and restaurants are busy closing up shop, Dream Nightclub lights up as a beacon to nocturnal wanderers from across the city. Custom-designed graffiti murals, pulsing LED lights, and energetic dance beats greet patrons as soon as they enter the after-dark dancehall and performance venue. The 5,000-square-foot club features ample lounge seating for bottle service or dramatically lit staring contests, as well as two bars and a full-service kitchen that churns out plates laden with chicken wings and french fries as late as 2:30 a.m. on most nights. A QSC sound system floods the dance floor with Latin, techno, or hip-hop tunes depending on the day, although the club also hosts occasional DJ sets and regular jazz-band performances.
Hawthorne's New York Pizza & Bar's dough-slingers serve a piping-hot menu of pasta, heroes, and hand-tossed pizzas, earning a 2011 Charlotte Magazine Voters' Choice award for best pizza. Edible disks are spooned with sauce and configured for specialty deliciousness with such options as the luau pizza⎯a blend of pineapple, bacon, smoked pulled pork, and caramelized onions wrapped up in a grass skirt ($9–$18)⎯and the Sicilian's thick, square crust clad only in mozzarella ($14.50). Herbs and gorgonzola cheese roam across hills of pasta and valleys stuffed with chicken or sausage in the gorgonzola pasta ($10.50), and the philly cheesesteak hero ($8.85) laces standard white american cheese with the illicit flavors of chipotle mayo. Chefs layer eggplant rollentini ($11) with a blend of mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheeses before spackling it with pesto and oven-baking it to monumental deliciousness.
A vast array of suds, gourmet pies built with fresh ingredients, and friendly staffers populate The Pizza Peel and Tap Room's affable neighborhood confines. Each specialty pizza ($8 for an eight-inch, $20 for a 16-inch) is perched upon a delectable crust that is chewy on the inside and crunchy on its outskirts, just like Barry Bonds. The barbecue-chicken pizza surrounds its grilled poultry with red onion, roasted red peppers, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and a smattering of cilantro. Stock an empty-shelved stomach with the Sorry for Partying Supreme (add $1), which is swimming in pepperoni, ground beef, sausage, mozzarella, three kinds of peppers (green, red, and banana), onion, and mushroom. The diverse menu is also home to multiple un-pizzafied eats such as the crisp and moist peel wings ($5.25–$13.75), which come dressed in teriyaki, Buffalo, jerk, inferno, or sweet-chili sauce, or the homespun chips, spackled with a special spice blend ($4.95).
Beginning as a single restaurant in Indian Trail, Bonfire Bar & Grill has since expanded to a second location in Concord thanks to its palate-popular fare, ranging from expertly grilled burgers and steaks to Old World favorites such as pastas and pizza. Every Sunday during football season, patrons gather amid the glow of flat-screen TVs to watch grown men resolve their differences on the gridiron and to feast on crispy fish ‘n’ chips, blackened-fish tacos, or barbecue-smothered pork ribs fresh off the grill. On Wednesday nights, half-price bottles of wine supply amateur singers the liquid courage to storm the bar’s stage and belt out karaoke songs. Situated next to the Sun Valley 14 movie theater, the Indian Trail location offers dinner-and-movie packages and deals, such as 10% off food with every movie stub, or 100% off food for every Oscar you've won.
At first glance, Angry Ale’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill looks like a regular sports hangout with its walls lined with dartboards and flat-screen TVs. But the eatery takes a creative angle with its menu of burgers, wings, wraps, and other pub food. From the redneck fondue—a heaping bowl of homemade queso dip—to tot-chos–tater tots smothered in jalapeños, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and a choice of meat–appetizers kick off meals with delicious unconventionality. This culinary aesthetic carries over to entrees and favorites such as the bacon fatty melt, a bacon cheeseburger with 1000 island dressing, whisked to tables by the ghost of Alexandre Dumas. Diners can also put their appetites to the test by participating in the Button Popper, a speed-eating cheeseburger challenge that asks the age-old question, “Are you built for speed or comfort?”