A Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights develop budding professional ballplayers and earn devout Knights fans in their home—the 10,002-seat Knights Stadium. The Knights have a storied history and an impressive list of orb-striking alumni, including Cal Ripken Jr., Manny Ramirez, and Jon Garland. Visitors take home free giveaways during Friday-night promotions, and mascot Homer the Dragon roams the stadium on his four-wheeler, tossing T-shirts, bopping people with his tail, and advocating for anthropomorphized-dragon civil liberties.
International flavors and 17 vibrant cocktails color 9 Promenade's creative menu of gourmet tapas, pizzas, and salads. Chefs dexterously craft bite-size plates under high-powered microscopes, braising chorizo in red wine ($8) and coupling slivers of blackened ahi tuna with a made-to-order version of tartare drizzled in cilantro-soy sauce ($12). The Rock Lobster ($9), a martini blended from whiskey, black-raspberry liqueur, and cranberry juice, blushes against the bar's gray walls like an embarrassed bride, and listless stomachs perk up with the Breakfast salad ($9), a bed of spinach piled to the leafy heavens with bacon, garlic toast, and an over-easy egg. The restaurant's doughsmiths also engineer a selection of gourmet pizzas ($12–$15) mounded with eclectic toppings such as tequila-marinated tomatoes, crab, and shaved steak.
Heralded by the staff of the Charleston City Paper for its "cozy, candle-lit atmosphere" and selection of more than 100 wines, Uncorked Wine Bar caters to oenophiles with bottled and by-the-glass varietals from around the world. Artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and gourmet chocolates complement the sundry reds, whites, and a selection of craft beers.
Within the kitchen of Clemson Sushi Bar, chefs prepare the same creative sushi rolls and Asian cuisine offered at sister restaurant Calamari’s Sushi & More. They sear filets of oh-so-fresh tuna, simmer miso soup, and fry sizzling calamari. They also fashion specialty rolls such as the Monster roll, a medley of shrimp tempura, bacon, tuna, salmon, and shrimp—all served by a waiter wearing a Frankenstein mask. Vegetarians can also nosh on meat-free snacks such as rolls filled with marinated carrot and asparagus.