The dueling pianists at Piano Man face off, vying for applause as they blaze through the biggest hits from the last hundred years. As they hit each note with perfection, audience members holler their requests and sing along with the pros, a fact the house prides itself on. When their requests hit the stage, guests can cheers with a host of tropical drinks, including the Malibu Painkiller—a euphoric combination of Malibu coconut, black, and sunshine blended with lemonade, OJ, and sprite—or the Entourage Margarita, with Avion tequila, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. To make sure they can remember the name of their favorite song, guests can soak up the cocktails with a menu of pub food classics such as burgers and wings.
The amicable staff at The Wine Dive prepares a tailored menu of bistro fare that reels in hungry passersby and warms them like the reassuring glare of a grandmother’s laughing emerald eyes. The panini club ($8–$10), part of a revolving roster of paninis, tightly enfolds savory selections such as salami, ham, turkey, and provolone in a bear hug of hearty italian bread, enabling one-handed or even hands-free munching. Diners can elegantly sip on port-wine cheese dip ($6) or nibble a plate of colby and pepper-jack cheeses and zesty olives ($6). The Wine Dive supports local artists by decorating its crimson interior with their paintings and sculptures, and live musical performances each Friday inspire passionate, beat-driven chewing and sipping solos. Outdoor patio seating presents guests with a direct view of the Lake Norman Marina and a viable escape route for those pursued by bee swarms.
With more than 20 specialty martinis and cocktails to choose from, and DJ's spinning late into the evening on the weekends, Olive Martini Bar is an ideal spot for a night out. Inside the posh, contemporary interior, patrons sit at tall, padded stools that line the shining bar, sipping on drinks and sharing tapas plates. Flat-screen TVs offer entertainment in the form of sports games, while intimate conversations and chatter abound throughout the pleasingly lit space. The chic, yet relaxed, atmosphere makes Olive welcoming to groups of coworkers, romantic dates, and old friends looking to break their 30-year-old habit of hanging out in their parent's basement.
Chefs at Joey’s Fine Food & Spirits draw inspiration from a number of regional cuisines to prepare fish in a wide variety of flavors and aromas. Here you can taste everything from sesame-encrusted ahi tuna to Cajun-style sautéed shrimp and grits, or try Red Stripe beer-battered pollock fillets. In addition to the ocean fare, the chefs also grill angus beef rib-eye steaks, hand-pattied burgers, and toss salads with candied pecans and goat cheese. Joey’s clientele especially like the chicken wings, tossed in 1 of 15 sauces, including teriyaki, honey habanero, and spicy garlic. In addition to karaoke and trivia nights, Joey’s has multiple televisions that make it an enjoyable setting for watching football, college basketball, or professional food-fight tournaments.
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.