2009 had a lot of movers and shakers in the nightlife. Many things changed. Old bars closed, new bars opened, and the EpiCentre sparked it all. We saw bars like Cans, Brick & Barrel, and Ri~Ra Irish Pub all close their doors in 2009. I was sad to see them go, especially Ri~Ra. Out with the old and in with the new. Bars I am looking forward to opening in 2010 are Butter, Bubble Lounge, Wet Willies, and Crobar. What will 2010 have in store for our nightlife scene?
With the diversity of new shoppes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, the EpiCentre will continue its run as the champion of entertainment venues for Uptown Charlotte. Sorry NC Music Factory, let me know when all the proposed bars actually open (trust me, I am excited and waiting).
Here are some things you can expect from the EpiCentre in 2010:
- Bubble Lounge, a new ultra upscale lounge, will open.
- Alive After 5 will return to the EpiCentre.
- Many more national live music events will be performed at the Pavilion.
- Parking will continue to be a nightmare on the weekends.
- Smokers will have to go outside to smoke (finally).
- Remaining lease space will continue to be snatched up.
Now for a few predictions at the EpiCentre for 2010:
- Someone will come out with an EpiCentre VIP card where customers can pay a monthly fee and gain access to all the venues for free (on regular nights) with this card. Im not saying it will work, but someone will try.
- XYZ Bar at the A Loft Hotel will start to promote events. They have one of, if not the best, view of Uptown from the EpiCentre. No one really knows that because they never promote their bar. Few people even know its up there.
- Kazba will become the new A-listers hang out instead of Suite.
- EpiCentres website will install a live web-cam feed.
- More street vendors will emerge in the interior of the EpiCentre. Possibly like the Green Market.
- Indochine Grill will probably go out of business.
- Revolution will start to have after-work events with live music from time to time.
NC Music Factory:
This will be the year for NC Music Factory. We have heard news releases about it for years. I expect this will be the year things will really start to get exciting, I hope! Their website has been announcing the openings of a few new venues in 2010. Will that happen? I think so, for most of them.
Here is what you can expect from NC Music Factory in 2010:
- The Fillmore will start to gain much more regional attention and bigger acts will be booked.
- Butter will open in early 2010. They will take a lot of Mez and Suites loyal customers.
- HALO will gain more ground with their Wednesday Night College Night.
- More signage will be posted on streets leading over to NC Music Factory. There is not much now. I think they need something grandiose like the Carowinds entrance sign.
- A few more venues will be announced to eventually open. They have space for a few more nightlife/restaurant type venues.
Now for a few predictions for NC Music Factory for 2010:
- The Fillmore will bring in a huge concert festival. Something similar to Warp Tour.
- A comedy club will announce their opening in NC Music Factory.
- All and all, the NC Music Factory will continue to gain traction with the music enthusiast but will continue to struggle early on in 2010 with the nightlife crowd.
In Charlottes nightlife, location is everything. Well, aside from being the new spot. In 2010, bars that are not in the EpiCentre will continue to have a hard time in Uptown. Small nightlife districts like the bars near the corner of 5th & Tryon, the bars down near Johnson & Wales, and the alley way bars on 300 N. College St will need to pair up with their neighbors and work on specials and collaborative events that will draw customers to their doors. In the past the 5th & Tryon area bars have seen some success doing just that.
2010 should be an exciting year for Charlotte. The nightlife will grow and become a much more visible industry in the city. Most importantly, Charlotte news media will start to cover events and other nightlife happenings more frequently than ever before.
What does Charlotte need to see in 2010 as a whole? In my opinion, the city planners and most (certainly not all) Uptown residents have been wanting to keep all the nightlife into what they call the nightlife corridor. I feel just the opposite. Let it grow and expand! If the nightlife can grow across the city and throughout the Uptown area, we will see other businesses interested in coming to Charlotte as well.
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Hunter is the Owner of CarolinaNightlife.com and very involved in the nightlife and entertainment industry in North and South Carolina. He has been working with venues of all sizes, different brands and products, and countless events across the Carolinas