Presenting the 2016 CharlotteFive Award winners

OrthoCarolina congratulates the winners of the first C5 Awards! Thanks for making our city such a great place to live right now--and for making us especially proud to be a part of it.


The wait is over. C5ers have spoken. After 12 weeks of voting and the tallying of thousands of votes, we’re proud to present the 2016 CharlotteFive Award winners.

The list below represents the best of the best in Charlotte, according to C5 readers. You’ll see a lot of Charlotte favorites on this list, and a few surprises. Some of these votes were really close — we’re talking about handfuls of votes out of hundreds cast. If you’re looking for something to do in Charlotte, you can’t go wrong with anything listed below — think of it as the ultimate guide to all things Charlotte.

And you can come celebrate the winners at the C5 Awards Party March 2 at Flight. Four of the winners will be sharing the secrets to their success. Details and tickets available here.

Without further ado, the winners:


Best brewery for babies and dogs: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Best beer name: Gordgeous — NoDa Brewing.

Best taproom (including outdoor area): The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Best brewery snack: Soft German Pretzel at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Brewery with the best alternative (i.e. non-beer) beverage selection: Lenny Boy Brewing.

Best seasonal beer: Mecktoberfest — The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Best brewery to take your parents to: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Best brewery fitness event: NoDa Run Club.

Best in Show (Considering all factors, the best brewery in Charlotte): The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.



Best use of cheese: The Pig Mac (pulled pork, bourbon onions, and mac and cheese) at Papi Queso Food Truck.

Best food truck/cart: The TIN Kitchen.

Best place to get food at 1 a.m.: Midnight Diner.

Best restaurant/bar patio/deck: Fahrenheit.

Best place to get food in your sweatpants: Sabor.

Best place to take your parents to impress them: Kindred.

Best restaurant for a date: Soul Gastrolounge.

Best restaurant for burgers: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar.

Hottest veggie spot (aka Best place to get vegetarian fare): Living Kitchen.

Best coffee shop: Not Just Coffee.

Best in Show restaurant: Soul Gastrolounge.

The DJ booth at Soul Gastrolounge.
The DJ booth at Soul Gastrolounge.

After dark

Best wine bar: Foxcroft Wine Co.

Best cocktail bar: The Punch Room.

Best craft beer bar/bottle shop: Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop.

Best place to get your groove on: Dandelion Market.

Best neighborhood for going out on the town: Plaza Midwood.

Best pub: Workman’s Friend.

Best nighttime cultural event: Science on the Rocks at Discovery Place.

Best place to hang out after work: NoDa Company Store.

Most frat-tastic bar (Or: Bar that reminds you most of a college frat): Selwyn Pub.

Best dive bar: Thirsty Beaver.



Best cycling studio: Flywheel Sports Charlotte.

The coolest YMCA: Dowd.

Best yoga studio: Y2 Yoga.

Workout with the biggest cult following: CROSSFIT!!

Best group fitness studio (not including crossfit or yoga or cycling): Pure Barre.

Best (non-brewery) free fitness classes: STAX Bootcamp.

STAX Bootcamp

Best CrossFit gym: STAX CrossFit.

Best post-workout snack: Rico’s Acai bowl.

Best group bike ride: Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride.

Best Charlotte race: Charlotte Marathon.

Most ridiculous amenity at a Charlotte gym: Ice pops after your workout at Arrichion.

The best gym in Charlotte: 9Round (various locations).


Best greenway/trail: Little Sugar Creek Greenway.

Best outdoor spot for dogs: Freedom Park.

Best place for a picnic: Freedom Park.

Best public place to go swimming: The Quarry at Carrigan Farms.

Best nearby hike: King’s Pinnacle at Crowders Mountain.

Crowder's MountainNG -
Crowders Mountain

Best disc golf course: Renaissance Park – Gold.

Best U.S. National Whitewater Center activity: Drinking beer and watching other people do stuff.

Best place for kayaking/stand-up paddle-boarding: Catawba River.

Best intramural adult sports league: Sportslink.

Best place for indoor recreation activities: Inner Peaks Climbing Center.

Sports and entertainment

Favorite Charlotte pro sports team: Carolina Panthers.

OK, favorite sports team that’s not the Panthers or the Hornets: Charlotte Knights.

Most beloved retired pro athlete who still lives here: Michael Jordan.

Best movie/TV show filmed in the Charlotte area: “Homeland.”

“Homeland” filming in the old Charlotte Observer newsroom.

Biggest Charlotte celebrity: Michael Jordan.

Best music venue: The Fillmore.

Best local theater group: Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Best arts event to take your parents to: Symphony in the Park by Charlotte Symphony.

Best movie theater: Studio Movie Grill – EpiCentre 5.

Best alternative entertainment option: 10 Park Lanes.


Best place to get a Charlotte-y gift: Paper Skyscraper.

Best Charlotte clothing brand: 704 Shop.

Best place to get men’s clothes: Ole Mason Jar.

Best local women’s boutique: Boris+Natasha.

Best thrift shop: GW (the fancy Goodwill).


Best place to buy used stuff that’s not clothing: Sleepy Poet Antique Mall.

Best pop-up market: Girl Tribe Pop Up.

Best outdoorsy store: REI.

SouthPark-iest SouthPark Mall amenity: Arthur’s Restaurant & Wine Shop/Dilworth Coffee in Belk.

Best shopping center: Park Road Shopping Center.

Chain store that we wish would come to Charlotte: Zara.

Fanciest Charlotte grocery store: Whole Foods.

Best new Charlotte additions

Best new brewery: Legion Brewing.

Best new chain store: Anthropologie.

Best new restaurant: Kid Cashew.

Best new bar: NoDa Company Store.

Best new location for an old favorite: Amelie‘s uptown.

Best new (ish) face on the Charlotte scene: N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson.

Best new recreational additions: First Ward Park.

Best new public art piece: The mural on NoDa Company Store’s exterior.

Outdoor Seating

Best new use for an old building: Google Fiber, housed in a historic warehouse.

Best new sweet spot: Golden Cow Creamery.

Best new thing in Charlotte overall (other than what’s already been named): Thirsty Nomad Brewing.

City life

Best regular or monthly event: #instabeerupCLT.

Best YP organization: Young Affiliates of the Mint.

Best charity: Second Harvest Food Bank.

Best summer series: River Jam.

Best movie series: Movies Under the Stars at Symphony Park.

Best festival: A tie! Festival in the Park and Yiasou Greek Festival.

Best boozy festival: South End Wine Fest.

Best farmers market: Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.

FarmersMarket 080115-5

Best home tour: Friends of Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour.

Only in Charlotte

Favorite road that changes names: Providence Road to Queens Road to Morehead Road.

Worst commute into uptown: I-77 from the lake.

Best classic Charlotte restaurant: Price’s Chicken Coop.


Best thing that got canceled because of HB2: 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

Greatest misconception about Charlotte: We love NASCAR.

Most common mispronunciation in the area: Appalachian.

Best skyline angle: From the Hawthorne Lane bridge over Independence.

Best “touristy” option in Charlotte: Rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Best CLT abbrev: NoDa.

The name that needs to catch on now: The Biscuit for Bojangles’ Coliseum.

The Charlotte thing that other cities wish they had: Our awesome brewery scene.

Editors’ picks

Corey Inscoe’s pick: Most awesome thing in MoRA (his neighborhood on Monroe Road): Cinemark Movie Bistro.

Sarah Crosland’s pick: Charlotte’s best hotel dining: The Asbury (at The Dunhill).

Katie Toussaint’s pick: Best place to curl up with a book: In one of the nooks and crannies at Amelie’s in NoDa.

Sallie Funderburk’s pick: Best Donuts: Duck Donuts.

Katie Coleman’s pick: Best Lake Norman night out: Posting up with cocktails and bites at Kindred‘s bar.

Tyler Blackshaw’s pick: Best mascot: Sir Purr.


Everything else

Best dessert: Salted Caramel Brownie at Amelie’s.

Best place when you just need a snack (and maybe a drink): The Common Market.

Best place with free WiFi that’s not a coffee shop: Earl’s Grocery.

Best regular food truck rally: Food Truck Friday – South End.

Most stressful parking deck/lot: The deck at the Metropolitan by Trader Joe’s.

Best coworking space: A tie! Advent Coworking and Industry Coworking.

Best weird historical Charlotte story: Outrunning the police bringing moonshine down the mountain is how NASCAR began.

Best Charlotte-area writer (not including Observer writers): Tommy Tomlinson.

Best Charlotte-based podcast (not including the CharlotteFive Podcast, of course): The Margarita Confessionals.

Best fallback career for Cam Newton: Fashion stylist.

Carolina Panthers

Coolest recent Charlotte startup idea: BREWPUBLIK.

Photos: Mark Hames; Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer; Courtesy of Balthazar Photo; Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer; Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer; Katie Toussaint; Vanessa Infanzon; Rémy Thurston; Charlotte Observer file; David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer; John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer.


  1. This list honestly sucks. I’m guessing it’s made of people who’s been in Charlotte for maybe a total of 5 years tops.

  2. LLC is trying to contact Charlotte Five. We are a unique, educational and animal interaction farm in Gastonia. Lots going on ….Check out our Calendar of Events at the Farm Page…Cow Milking, Horsing Around with Horses for ALL ages, Homesteading Classes on The Art of Making Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese out of our cow milk, and The Art of Making Milk Soap plus others, Weddings and Events in our Barn Pavilion, Parties at the Farm or we bring the Farm to you. Just this year alone our clientele has been PGA Golf Tournament, NASCAR, Town of Weddington, Charlotte Country Club, among many others. We have also been on TV several times this year. If you would like to do a story on animals or anything else we do at the farm give us a call 704.674.8911. Thank you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here