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A Last-Minute Guide to Valentine’s Day in Charlotte

From dating on a budget to elegant dining


A portrait of an upscale restaurant in Charlotte, NC.
Customshop’s dining room (Courtesy of Black Wednesday)

February 14 is approaching quickly, and if you don’t have plans yet but are feeling some side-eye from your partner, we’ve highlighted a few spots below that could be helpful. As of the time of this writing, they all had space remaining for the big date night, but we can’t make any guarantees by the time this story makes it to you. Best of luck.

Five Romantic Spots to Have a Valentine’s Day Dinner in Charlotte


1601 Elizabeth Ave.

Customshop screams intimacy with its mood lighting, candle-lit tables and delicious cocktails. The chef-driven restaurant showcases local farms to support local businesses and cultivate community. They make weekly menu changes to accommodate the seasonality of food from North Carolina and grab inspiration stylistically from Spain, Italy and France. Indulge in pasta dishes like the blue crab ravioli and saffron canestri and incredible grilled prime NY strip.

The Fig Tree Restaurant

1601 E. 7th St.

Also located in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood, The Fig Tree is located inside a 1913, pre-WWI home. Known for its decadence and charm, The Fig Tree has five dining rooms, expansive seating on the veranda and patio, as well as grand fireplaces and a full-service bar. Even when it’s packed, the intimate space can make it feel like it’s just you and your partner. You both can enjoy escargot, an artisan cheese plate, and elk chop paired with their exceptional wine choices. 

Sophia’s Lounge

127 N. Tryon St., Suite D

On the ground floor of The Ivey’s Hotel, Sophia’s Lounge is a mix between a modern cocktail lounge and an old-timey speakeasy. While one room has a sparkling chandelier, another features industrial lights. The couches are pillowy and the vibe is inviting. With its relaxed atmosphere, there is no need to yell at the person right across from you, so intimate conversation is welcome. The lounge is known to have some of the best-tasting cocktails in Uptown, accompanied by their delicious shareables. 

The Crunkleton

1957 E. 7th St.

This spot is hailed as one of Charlotte’s finest cocktail bars thanks to their unrivaled collection of curated spirits and talented mixologists. And yet there’s no judgment from the bartenders if you decide on a Miller High Life for your drink of choice, but you can also pick the brains of the incredibly knowledgeable bartenders on staff about how to make the perfect old fashioned. With only two locations in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, the restaurant’s reputation stems from word-of-mouth. Their dinner menu is expansive with mouth-watering dishes and is the perfect spot for foodie couples alike.

A photo of delicious oysters from a local, premier cocktail bar in Charlotte, NC.
Calabash Oysters from The Crunkleton (Courtesy of The Crunkleton)

The Hobbyist

2100 N. Davidson St.

For you non-alocholic drinkers out there, The Hobbyist is the perfect place to sip on a warm cup of coffee and tea. Located in the Villa Heights neighborhood right outside of NoDa, the unassuming cafe is cozy with warm lights and plenty of seating for a low-key date night. You can play card games or read a book whilst enjoying the company of a loved one right by your side. For those who love coffee and wine, the café doubles as a wine bar at night with a vast selection of reds and whites. They also recently implemented a cocktail program, offering up espresso martinis, margaritas and more.

Exclusive Valentine’s Day Menus

Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen Take-Home Meals

Feb. 9, 10, 13, & 14 | times vary | online ordering available | prices vary

Celebrate Valentine’s Day within the comfort of your own home while still experiencing a classy dinner by ordering a Valentine’s take-home meal from Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. Revel in grass-fed beef tenderloin with red wine sauce or lemon thyme-braised half chicken with sides of maple glazed sweet potatoes. Top the night off with a chocolate strawberry gâteau, and an intimate night with your partner.

Gallentine’s Wine & Chocolate Pairing

Feb. 13 | 6:30-7:30 p.m. | USVI Wine Company | 167 Union Street South | Concord | $20

Who’s to say your relationships with your best friends aren’t as important as the ones with a significant other? That’s why USVI Wine Co. is hosting a Gallentine’s Wine & Chocolate Pairing to celebrate the love you share with your closest gal pals. Sip on five fine wines paired with five decadent chocolates, as you unwind. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Mariposa at The Mint

Feb. 13-15 | 5-10 p.m. | Mariposa | 500 S. Tryon St. | prices vary

Experience one of the most romantic nights of the year with an intimate dinner followed by a free walk through the adjoining Mint Museum for free from 5-9 p.m. Mariposa offers a duo of roasted oysters small plate, large plates of whole roasted fish, and petit Wagyu tenderloin topped off with their curated cocktails like Cupid’s Forbidden Love Elixir, a rice-infused Oaklore gin base with raspberry liqueur and raspberry hibiscus foam.

A photo of a couple on a date night while drinking cocktails in Charlotte, NC.
Enjoy Valentine’s date night with cocktails at Mariposa. (Courtesy of Mariposa)

Table and Twine’s Valentine’s Day Special

Feb. 13-16 | times vary | 2600 Youngblood St. | $11.99-$149.99

For the introverts and homebodies out there who would rather stay in to watch a movie while not giving up on the extra sprinkle of romance, order a Valentine’s Day dinner from Table and Twine. Choose from a filet mignon dinner, a lobster carbonara dinner, a four-course dinner for two bundles, a DIY cookie decorating kit, and Cupid’s Arrow Cocktail mix. Menus are available for delivery/pickup Feb. 13-16 while supplies last.

Valentine’s Day Dinner at El Thrifty

Feb. 14 | 6-10:30 p.m. | El Thrifty Social | 1115 North Brevard St., #100 | $100-$140

Residing in Optimist Hall, El Thrifty Social focuses on fresh ingredients and traditional techniques for their tacos, platas, especials and sides. The cantina/event space will host a romantic evening with a specially curated menu for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy delicious food, drinks and a cozy atmosphere with fun arcade games on the side to celebrate the day of love with your partner and/or loved ones. 

Cheap Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Free Valentine’s Day Comedy Show

Feb. 14 | 7-8:30 p.m. | Pilot Brewing | 1331 Central Ave Suite 104

We can all agree that one characteristic we look for in a partner is their sense of humor. Being able to laugh through uncomfortable situations or have friendly banter is an important part of any relationship. Whether you’re looking to scope someone out on a first date or enjoy your time with a loved one, Pilot Brewing has a free comedy show. Grab a drink from the bar, and take a seat to watch four comedians, Max Summers, Chris Diorio, Eulalio Magana, and Paul Snyder and laugh the night away.

CLT’s Airport Overlook

If you’re looking to add a little extra to your date night without any added expense, drive over to the Charlotte International Airport to watch planes take off at sunset. As a disclaimer, the overlook is currently under renovation and is expected to open late summer/early fall of this year. Plans for the new overlook include a playground, picnic benches, and plenty of parking. Unfortunately, there aren’t any picnic tables at the moment, but there is a temporary lot where you can park your car and feel the rumbling of the planes when they take off. while stargazing through the sunroof.

Charlotte Skyline Selfie

Speaking of stargazing, though a little difficult with the city’s light pollution, some of the best spots to see the stars and Charlotte’s skyline are from Uptown’s parking decks. We recommend The Market at Seventh Street as one of the more accessible rooftops in the vicinity of a lot of date spots. Who knows, you might have the whole parking deck to yourselves. We also recommend going at night. The city lights is an incredible sight to see, and it can make for quite a romantic adventure. If you’re around the Music Factory, the Hamilton Street bridge over I-277 is also a good look. 

Duke Energy, Charlotte Comprehensive Plan
Charlotte’s skyline (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

Sticking with the theme of being outdoors, smell the flowers and walk around the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. Admission is always free, and the area is open to the public. The gardens were created to serve as a hands-on learning experience for biology students as well as a horticultural and botanical resource for the campus. The entire garden could be covered in about 30-45 minutes, but you can stay for hours looking at all the different areas and plants.

Local Museums

There’s no better excuse to hold your partner’s hand than to lead one another throughout the halls of Charlotte’s museums. You both can learn about Charlotte’s rich history at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, or ponder what a painting’s true meaning is at the Bechler Museum of Modern Art. Luckily for us, the two museums and the Mint are free on Wednesdays from 5-9 p.m. The Levine Museum of the New South is also free, just to add the cherry on top, with all four in close proximity to Levine Avenue for the Arts. 

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