The following bars and restaurants were all participants in a to-go cocktail scavenger hunt that we hosted on our Instagram page throughout the month of February. Participation in the listing was paid for and not sourced entirely by Queen City Nerve or the editorial staff.
Throughout the month of February, Queen City Nerve held a to-go cocktail scavenger hunt called The Alternative Scavenger Hunt in which we worked with local bars and restaurants to try and highlight their to-go craft cocktail programs while Gov. Roy Cooper is still allowing them. Instagram clues spurred participation, which lead to a raffle and a grand prize of a two-night stay in a King City View room at The Ivey’s Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. The contest has ended and the winners have been announced.
Cooper’s current executive order allows for restaurants and bars to sell one to-go cocktail per person in a sealed container in North Carolina through March 31.
Now, we want to help you out by sharing some of these delicious to-go cocktail programs from nine highly respected bars in Charlotte. Some restaurants and bars have different ways to go about ordering to-go cocktails so be sure to check the website or call ahead first. Wear a mask and tip your bartender. Cheers!
135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, #100; (704) 800-5680
Fin & Fino is a “Social Seafood House” tucked away on Levine Avenue of the Arts in Uptown Charlotte. The food menu draws inspiration from seafaring cultures on both sides of the Atlantic, even offering a tasting menu called The Treatment, which allows you to trust your choices to the kitchen for a tour of on-the-menu and off-the-menu specials.
Each tasting menu tour raises $5 for partnering charities. From oysters and N.C. trout to grilled octopus, lobster and shrimp rolls, they’ve got your seafood desires.
All of Fin & Fino’s cocktails are currently available to-go and are packaged in these lovely little mason jars (which leave just enough room for you to twist off the cap, add ice and indulge). The current cocktail menu theme is inspired by ’80s yearbook superlatives, with drink names such as “Best Looking in a Mullet & a Mustang” and “7 Minutes in Heaven Superstar. You can follow their bar program, Call of the Clam, exclusively at @bkandtheclams for all updates and the barkeeps’ choice.
Average cocktail price: $15
3920 Sharon Road, #160; (980) 237-1919
Bar Marcel is situated on Sharon Road in the Myers Park neighborhood of south Charlotte. With high ceilings and a mountain-scape background in the main dining area, Bar Marcel should be near the top of the list for celebratory dinners and special occasions, although we did find out that it’s a chill place to hang out for no reason at all.
The food and drink menus rotate seasonally and the to-go cocktail that was featured as part of our Alternative Scavenger Hunt on Instagram was a preview of the upcoming spring menu (yes, it is almost here).
Average cocktail price: $9-$13
1961 East 7th Street; (980) 299-2741
The Stanley is a new restaurant by James Beard-nominated chef Paul Verica and his sous chef and son Alex, located in the Elizabeth neighborhood.
This farm-to-table restaurant offers seasonal, market-driven and locally sourced ingredients on the constantly rotating menu. The bar program at The Stanley is run by Ali Adkins, who matches the philosophy of Verica’s food menu with seasonally inspired cocktails.
To-go cocktail options are plentiful and come in a wax-sealed bottle for you to take home, add ice to shake with, and indulge.
Average cocktail price: $14-$16
2729 South Boulevard, Suite D; (704) 275-5558
The Waterman Fish Bar is a two-story seafood joint and neighborhood grill in South End. The kitchen uses local, sustainable ingredients to produce menu items ranging from seaside favorites to burgers and drinks. The covered rooftop bar, Topside, offers great city views with an open, airy atmosphere.
Almost all of the cocktails at The Waterman are available to go, but the ones that travel best are the Fish House Punch, Ghost Pepper Pomm and Jack Apple Smash. They are gearing up to launch the spring cocktail menu, so there are all sorts of new options by now.
Average cocktail price: $10-$14
1115 North Brevard Street, Unit 1; (980) 960-0166
Billy Sunday is a Chicago-based concept located at the bottom of the outdoor stairs in Optimist Hall that concentrates on craft cocktails. The bar opened in February 2020 and has become a local watering hole for cocktail connoisseurs.
The shelves behind the bar are full of vintage spirits and bottles for the adventurous taster and those who are curious about rare fernet and Amaro. The cocktail menu uses a culinary approach in flavor profiles, house-made syrups and execution. This is a high priority stop for a casual kickin’ it evening or an elegant date night.
Average cocktail price: $12
3032 North Davidson Street; (704) 910-0132
Located in an old mill home in NoDa, The Goodyear House offers a variety of experiences. The food curated by locally renowned chef Chris Coleman can be found on Instagram feeds across the city on a daily basis. The cocktail program is desirable and well-rounded with a choice for every palate preference.
The entire restaurant is filled with historical images, with each room designed to make you feel like you are in a different decade of N.C. history. The patio is shaded by a 150-year-old Holly tree and a bar that resembles a backyard shed. The space recently added enclosed igloo structures on their back patio to assist in separation of parties due to COVID-19.
Average cocktail price: $13
1440 South Tryon Street, Suite 100; (980) 819-5913
A new culinary-driven and laid-back cocktail bar on the cusp of South End has grown in popularity since its opening in August 2020. The team behind Bardo put the concept together as a more relaxed version of what they were already offering in the Wilmore neighborhood, just a few blocks away.
VANA, meaning forest in Sanskrit, is designed with recycled wood in a rustic, mountain-like ambiance. The open kitchen is the centerpiece of the restaurant (props to any kitchen employee that is open to having the entire restaurant watch them work a whole shift).
The cocktail menu plays off of the culinary aspects of the kitchen. The Golden Hour is a nod to the wood-fired oven with a smoked herb garnish to finish it off. VANA will premiere their new spring menu in the first week of March with a variety of new offerings for the upcoming season.
Average cocktail price: $6-$14
1318 Pecan Avenue, Suite 101; (704) 462-7007
The bar area is eclectic with a mid-century modern feel to it that is simply pleasing to be in. The cocktail program is high-class and aligns well with the ’70s-era interior and indoor mini-golf course, making it feel more like a country-club-style speakeasy.
The course offers a level of difficulty that you can find at any outdoor mini-golf course, but with less obstacles. It still makes for a great hour-long activity that only costs $10 before going to relax in the lounge-y bar area. A round will last you a solid two drinks.
Average cocktail price: $13-$15
144 Brevard Court, Suite B; (704) 333-7160
Tucked away in an upstairs room in Brevard Court is another one of Charlotte’s favorite “secret” cocktail bars. The Cotton Room serves fresh and local ingredients in a Southern speakeasy-style atmosphere.
The Cotton Room also offers monthly whiskey tastings through their Brevard Whiskey Club, which comes with a member coin for drinking to learn. The Cotton Room has kept everything from the original floors, brick walls, skylight and exposed rafters from when the building was originally built in 1917.
Average cocktail price: Unlisted
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