Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › Top 5 Cocktail Lounges in Charlotte

Dare I say move over beer, cocktails are the new craft beverages in Charlotte? In a town with 32 breweries and counting, that almost sounds like blasphemy. However, recently, a whole slew of cocktail lounges have opened up in the Queen City (including a few distilleries), giving Charlotteans plenty of choice for when they tire of beer.

Punch Room in Uptown
At the top of the cocktail lounge list is the Punch Room at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte in Uptown. The 15th floor Gatsby-inspired bar offers an ambience, and a view, that keeps the lounge’s 37 seats occupied throughout the week. Award-winning Head Mixologist Bob Peters has created a menu inspired by small-batch spirits and seasonal fruits, herbs, and vegetables, many of which are grown in the Ritz-Carlton’s onsite garden. It’s the kind of place where you can order from the menu or just tell the bartender what your tastes are. However, It’s not the kind of place for slamming shots and getting rowdy.
Recommended drink – The Daily Punch Special.

Broken Spoke in LoSo
The story of the Broken Spoke is a reminder that despite a plethora of distilleries, breweries, and cocktail lounges in Charlotte, the city is still in the Bible Belt. Thus, many archaic liquor laws are in place thanks to powerful teetotalers who still think the devil lives in a bottle. Due to North Carolina law, a distillery can’t have a tasting room. Thus, the owners of the Great Wagon Road Distillery opened The Broken Spoke right next door as their unofficial tasting room. While the Punch Room oozes everything swanky one expects from a metropolitan cocktail lounge, the Broken Spoke offers that same laid back environment in a more relaxed, neighborhood setting. Think worn, yet comfortable, brown leather couches. It’s the kind of place you want to sip a bourbon in.
Recommended drink – The Carolina Flight featuring samples of not only Great Wagon Road’s spirits but also other spirits crafted in North Carolina.

The Cellar at Duckworth’s in Uptown
The Cellar is the ying to Duckworth’s yang. While Duckworth’s offers the ultimate sport bar experience with TVs covering nearly every wall space, a beer menu that is both long and deep, and handcrafted bar food, the downstairs Cellar is a laid-back speakeasy with an impressive cocktail menu inspired by the drinks of yesteryear. Behind the sliding barn door await suspender-clad bartenders ready to serve up cocktails with so much care that even the ice is hand carved. The Cellar offers a small plates menu with dishes as intricate and delicious as the cocktails.
Recommended drink – The Sazerac for a true classic cocktail.

Haberdish in NoDa
While Haberdish may be the city’s hottest and newest cocktail haven and restaurant, its roots are anything but new. Owner Jeff Tonidandel spent months researching both food and drink recipes from Charlotte’s past and recreated them with a few modern twists. Think smoked boiled peanuts, pickled everything, and succulent fried chicken. The intimate atmosphere makes it the perfect spot before or after a concert at one of NoDa’s two theatres. It’s the grown up establishment neighborhood hipsters didn’t know they needed!
Recommended drink – The Mint Julep, regular or smoked for a fun twist.

No list of top Charlotte cocktail lounges is complete without at least one spot located in a historic mansion. Stagioni might be known for their upscale Italian fare, but the bar shouldn’t be overlooked as only a spot to grab a drink before dinner. The seasonal drinks and roaring fireplace make it the perfect place for a quiet cocktail just because. Of course, the aromas from the kitchen just may convince you to order an appetizer with that drink!
Recommend drink – The Alternative pairs great with the fireplace on a cold winter night.


Let’s drink, #Charlotte! How many of these top 5 craft cocktails have you tried?


Sometimes, the best cocktail lounge is in the family room of your own apartment. Try one of these great cocktail recipes the next time you want to recreate a cocktail lounge experience in the confines of your home.

About :

Bryan M. Richards is a beer, food, and travel writer based in Charlotte. His work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Beer Advocate, and just about anything with the word Charlotte in it. Follow his food and drink adventures on Instagram.

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