Y’all, it’s hot outside and there’s no denying it. On days like this, and in the months ahead, I’ll be wishing we lived a little closer to the mountains where, according to the Weather app, the temperature is consistently about ten degrees cooler during the day. But, despite the heat, it’s hard to not love Charlotte and its surrounding communities.
Whether you’re the type to venture up to Lake Norman, or sneak south to Lake Wylie, there’s a host of amazing rooftop bars, restaurants, and lush patios where you can create your own breeze (and maybe a slice of shade) to endure the hot summer. To get you started, here are a few places I recommend.
Charlotte Restaurants We’re Loving
Located on the fifth floor of the JW Marriott Charlotte, the bar features a floral aesthetic, serves views of Center City, Bank of America Stadium, and the neighboring Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. The drink menu features cocktails and non-alcoholic options inspired by some of Queen Charlotte’s favorite things. And the small plates? They can only be described as *chef’s kiss*. Definitely order the brisket sliders, the chicken satay, and enjoy the best playlist I’ve heard in more than two years.
Likely one of the most chill venues for summer, Ice Vibes brings the best of food trucks and kickbacks to your backyard in west Charlotte—literally. Diners can order food to-go from the truck parked in front of the house-turned-restaurant, choose private dining inside, or enjoy seating under dazzling lights on the expansive patio in the huge backyard. Grab a slushie, a turkey burger with fries, cue up the bean bag toss (or cornhole depending on where you’re from), and enjoy the sounds of music—and summer. What I love most: the bottles of mosquito repellent on tables keep bites at bay.
Sure, it’s hot outside, but executive chef Justin Loo is turning up the heat in the kitchen at Fahrenheit. With vegetarian options, Asian-inspired small plates, and a fresh take on existing new American and seafood classics, Loo ensures there is something on the menu for everyone. Located in Skye Condominiums, it’s where diners can enjoy delectable, reimagined dishes, and enviable views of the Uptown skyline. It’s a win-win.
These are just a few options to help make the transition from spring to summer easier. Whatever you do, and wherever you go, be sure to keep hydrated.
Make Dining an Activity
Cool off and feed your sweet tooth with a visit to Urban Sweets. This pushcart started as an ice cream service and later expanded offerings to include gourmet chocolates, candies, baked goods, pastries, and more. Urban Sweets sources products from fifteen small businesses and their ice cream is just wicked-good.
The most darling coffee and wine stop in the Belmont/Optimist Park neighborhoods, Rosie’s, is situated on the grounds of the popular, lush, and damn near magical McGill Rose Garden. The garden hits peak bloom in the spring and is full of charm, art, hidden treasures, and more.
Afternoon Tea at the Ballantyne Hotel
Tea fit for the Queen? You bet! No, seriously—the Ballantyne Hotel’s afternoon tea experience is the only place you can find tea from the Rare Tea Company. The company, based in London, sources the best tea and herbal infusions associated with Queen Elizabeth herself. Enjoy tea Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. Add a glass of bubbly to make it royal!