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.
A wraparound wall mural features a moose lounging among the trees at The Friendly Moose, where staff serve a warm, friendly experience along with plates of hearty American cuisine. Diners can try a Carolina burger topped with chili and slaw for lunch, a 12-ounce rib eye, or poutine slathered in gravy and cheese for dinner, or coconut-cream pie for dessert.
Standing before a mural of the nighttime Charlotte skyline with "The Comedy Zone" imposed over a massive moon, nationally touring comics present finely honed humor. Within the NC Music Factory's sprawling entertainment complex, The Comedy Zone keeps punch lines rolling with its regularly stuffed calendar of established and up-and-coming jokesters. From table seats, visitors can wet their whistles with a bounty of domestic and imported beers, bottles of wine, four-straw margaritas, and savory cocktails and feast upon a menu of classic pub fare. Monthly open-mic nights test rookies' mettle, and armchair comics can sign up for classes where industry professionals ramp up joke-writing skills, obliterate stage fright, and share the secret noise that makes hecklers cry.
Within a two-story residential building lives Kennedy?s Premium Bar & Grill, where past a large outer deck, patrons will find three bars, 17 televisions, and a menu that sports American and Irish classics. Entrees include shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and chicken pasta, alongside hefty half-pound burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fried pickles. Meanwhile, a drink menu includes and a sprawling list of scotches, cordials, wines, and bottled and draft beers.
Savory small plates, including mac ?n? cheese and sliders made with locally farmed and organic Angus beef, pave the way to Crave Dessert Bar's main attraction?decadent desserts. The bar's sweet treats, which earned it Charlotte's best location for To Die For Desserts in 2012 by Elevate Lifestyle Magazine, include carrot and walnut cupcakes and chocolate fondue with seasonal fruits and marshmallows. Chocolate-swirled cheesecake rests atop a fudge-brown crust, and the red velvet cake, cream-cheese frosting, and toasted pecans of the Scarlet Letter layer cake pay homage to the only foods Nathaniel Hawthorne ate while writing The Scarlett Letter.
To complement the tapas and desserts? flavors, diners can puff on hookahs in more than 16 fruit varieties, including peach and watermelon. Bartenders craft more than 40 signature cocktails, which make the bar?s photographs and canvases by local artists more and more appealing as evenings progress. The loft's hardwood floors, exposed brick, and comfy chairs and couches accommodate guests until 2 a.m. Tuesday?Sunday, and after 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the bar transforms into a 21+ hot spot.
A new zombie horde rises, hungry for the packs of humans that flee in a desperate fight to see another day. This isn't a vision of a postapocalyptic future—it happens every fall at the Zombie Run Challenge, an event in which participants dressed as zombies chase down human competitors in a race for both survival and top prizes. After registering, competitors separate into the two factions, each with separate goals. In the course of up to two hours, zombies attempt to turn humans by capturing the flags attached to their belts. The living, in turn, try to complete challenges at four–five checkpoints, taking momentary refuge or healing at outposts scattered throughout the woods. All the while, a group of volunteer mercenaries armed with foam darts hunts down the undead attackers. Before the race begins, the special-effects gurus at Gregory F/X will provide zombie makeup to participants in exchange for a donation—100% of which goes to charity and won't be used to buy the zombies fresh brains at the local deli.