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.
Jocks & Jills sates sports-lovers with a menu of classic American cuisine served in an athletics-championing atmosphere. Rev your hunger engine with a 10-piece set of original buffalo wings ($7.99), available in nine different sauce styles, or make room on the mantelpiece of your stomach for a bowl of made-from-scratch Trophy chili ($4.29). Bread bookended bites include the Hall of Fame burger ($6.99), a half-pound of beef and overly emotional speeches, and the Philly Fanatic, topped with rib-eye steak, onions, peppers, and cheese ($7.99). Jill's Berry Walnut salad culls together fresh strawberries and raspberry vinaigrette ($6.49), and a full-rack of the Back-to-Back baby-back ribs slathers the meat-marimba in hickory barbecue sauce ($18.99). Desserts include the quadruple chocolate-mousse torte ($4.99), which satisfies sweet teeth via a quartet of cocoa elements—one for each half in a football game.
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.
Cylindrical lights cast artful shadows on golden walls while amber drapes evoke waterfalls of pure honey. Patrons just entering The Wine Loft's warm, glowing lounge find seats on a wall-length leather sofa and begin eyeing neighboring feasts of small plates. Shareable boards are scattered with Italian antipasto, charcuterie, and Mediterranean accouterments, all begging companionship from more than 40 wines by the glass. "I also have 100 wines by the bottle," the waitress says, seeing the customers scanning the bar. She drops two menus and cocktail napkins onto the black-lacquered table. Each item's description flickers against lit tea candles. Jazz music gives the room a velvety pulse. "We'll have the Japanese pumpkin ravioli and shrimp and blue-cheese pastries,” says one of the diners. “And as for all these wines, I think we'll need a few more minutes."
Like a genie vanishing into a puff of orange-flavored smoke, Hookahlife Charlotte has the ability to go almost anywhere. Their attendants, affectionately known as "Hookah Masters", travel onsite to clubs, restaurants, homes, and other venues, transforming each location into a full-service hookah bar. Working outdoors or inside, the attendants mix and match shisha flavors that incorporate various ingredients, such as fruit, light or mild molasses, and tobacco. They also take care of assembling and dissembling hookahs, which might incorporate chilly freeze hoses. The familiar smell of Hookahlife Charlotte's flavored smokes can also be found at regular venues in the Charlotte area, such as Empire on Sunday nights and inside the clouds above seven days a week, a magical place where all smoke rings fly to after being exhaled.