Love it or hate it, EVERYONE has an opinion on the Epicentre.
You can’t deny that it’s forever changed the nightlife scene in Uptown Charlotte since it first opened almost 10 years ago.
Ever since Alive After Five moved from the Wachovia/Wells Fargo Plaza to Epicentre’s rooftop, the three-tiered restaurant and club destination always brings out emotional responses amongst friends.
For those looking for more out of their uptown experience, here are the changes I would make to help elevate these 10 Epicentre bars.
Bubble: Open up the space. No more cramped spaces.
If you’re trying to show off how many champagne bottles you are buying, then Bubble is the perfect spot for you! If you’re looking to dance, then have fun being trampled in front of the DJ booth!
An easy fix would be to move the massive four circular VIP spots to the corners of the dance floor so you’ll have more room to dance. Maybe it’s also time to update the creepy, nightmare-inducing Barbie doll photos lined up to the bathroom.
Howl at the Moon: Be less generic.
I still can’t believe that Howl at the Moon has stayed in business for so long, but someone has to give tourists and bachelorette parties that shtick piano playing they love so much.
However, it does not need a premiere location. This bar can be moved to any open spot in the Epicentre because you can enjoy those fishbowls and “Sweet Caroline” sing-a-longs anywhere.
Suite Charlotte: Expand, expand, expand.
With Howl at the Moon moved to another location, Suite can just take over the entire top East Trade Street side of the Epicentre. Suite has had one of the best club locations over the years, but you could expand the area to allow more patio room with great views of the city, another dance floor offering a different genre of music, or a higher rooftop spot to relax with chill music.
Rooftop 210: No more plastic!
Over the past year, the other rooftop spot at Epicentre has seen some great renovations, including refurbishing the concrete unfinished bar and installing TV projector screens to watch the night’s best sports game. Its outdoor concerts, featuring the likes of Brett Eldredge and Little Big Town, have been a great change of pace.
I’d only say that Rooftop 210, or any bar as a matter of fact, should NEVER use those tiny plastic cups for mixed drinks! I don’t want to pay $7 for a beverage that is filled to the brim with ice and two sips of vodka tonic.
Kandy Bar: Make it less hard to vibe to the music.
The DJ booth seems out of place in the huge room. If they moved it to the center or back of the main dance floor, then you would feel more connected to the music. But, I wasn’t complaining when I could shake hands with Snoop Dogg during his celebrity DJ night! I’m still confused about the solo bathroom stalls in the back of the bar – don’t fall for the trap of waiting in that line!
Overall, a good mix for a VIP and dance night, but are you all bringing back Tito’s to the liquor lineup? Asking for a friend…
BlackFinn Ameripub: Each floor should have its own feel.
BlackFinn was the first bar to set up shop at the Epicentre, and now there is even a second, more upscale location in the Ballantyne area. The upstairs Irish bar is impressive, but it does take up a ton of room when you want to dance to the tunes of 10 years ago coming from the DJ booth.
I’d say move the dance floor downstairs, similar to the Ballantyne location, and keep the Irish pub look upstairs with more of a low-key setting similar to Connolly’s On Fifth, so you can enjoy a Guinness and sports game in peace.
VAULT/Studio Movie Grill: Throw it back every now and then.
Both of these spots have made improvements to what once was Mez and Kazba. Studio Movie Grill gives you a blend of great food and drinks (the Blackened Chicken Pasta is so good), while watching the latest movie release, and VAULT has the hottest hip-hop music and hookahs.
These two should work together on making a Throwback Movie Night where they play a classic film, let’s say “Scarface”, on one of the movie theater screens, and then you have after parties at both spots with everyone dressed up in mobster outfits.
Whisky River: Figure out your identity.
Whisky River…what are you exactly? You’re trying to be a nightclub charging $5 to get in, but you have a mix of a NASCAR bar, half partitioned dance floor, and a riding bull in the back.
I say you either go for a full NASCAR Southern restaurant or bring the Coyote Joe’s-feel to the Epicentre, and make it a country bar offering line-dancing, live country music performances, and keep that bucking bull for the Jell-O shot takers to give it a whirl.
Strike City: Buck the Buckeyes!
With Libretto’s serving their food and bowling lanes a-plenty, Strike City has always been a good divergent from the typical bar of the Epicentre. Strike City should keep doing bowling lanes and shoe specials, such as the Monday “All You Can Bowl” nights, but end its ties as the Ohio State bar. Everyone is tired of seeing blacked-out Buckeye fans roaming the Epicentre plaza after a football game. O-H-I-NO!
Mortimer’s: Buy in to the block party.
Mortimer’s is the perfect spot for people who want to watch live cover band music, eat some great paninis, and avoid the drunk younger crowd. See if there is a way to bring one of the bands outside and turn that alleyway into a block party atmosphere.
Also, see about creating more bathroom stalls, unless you know about the secret one in the back of the bar!
What changes would you make to the Epicentre? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photos: Bubble, Rooftop 210, Blackfinn Ameripub, Whiskey River, Mortimer’s