A guy’s guide to relaxing in the Queen City

Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

Why should the fairer sex have all the options when it comes to pampering and relaxation, am I right? Sometimes, a guy needs to slow down the ticking of the clock and just take a minute to find his woosah (you’ve seen “Bad Boys II,” right?) without sacrificing his masculinity. As a dude in the Queen City, I made it a point to scout out spots that were cool, low-key and let me feel like a million bucks without actually having to spend it.

Settle in to that spot on the couch that you’ve broken in, crack open a cold craft beer and scroll on to find some of the best places for you to go get your man on.

Emerson Joseph

221S. Tryon St.

I know the very real struggle of trying to find a men’s salon that not only gives outstanding haircuts but can work magic with a straight razor on a full beard – and I am here to help you out. Emerson Joseph is the choice to make when it comes to the art of male grooming. Offering an extensive list of services, you may want to carve out a couple of hours to pamper that manly ego. Anything you can imagine that will boost your masculine aesthetic (haircuts, beard services, waxing, massages, manicures/pedicures and even access to rentable speakeasy in the back perfect for a game of poker with your buddies) are quite literally at your fingertips.

If you are like me, it’s hard to keep your beard on point while still letting it reach its max awesomeness. For $10 you can let the pros at Emerson Joseph give you a Facial Hair Trim and if you need a little more attention to the chin forest, the team offers a Beard Line-Up service starting at $24.

Let your hair do the talking. #BeLegendary #EJLegends

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Alton Lane

2000 South Blvd., #400

The era of the ill-fitting suit is over, guys. Whether you are making a first impression or just trying to amp-up the old wardrobe, Alton Lane in Atherton Mill can make your in-seam insanely cool and customized. Make an appointment, order a glass of scotch and let the associates tailor to all of your suit needs – you can even have your new jacket lined with unique fabrics and prints (mine is a superhero collage and it ROCKS). Whatever you are looking for, this men’s custom suit shop has you covered…literally.

We all know that custom anything is not cheap but at Alton Lane you can get custom-fitted blazers starting around $475. Absolutely worth it to be known as the best dressed guy in the office.

Workman’s Friend 

1531 Central Ave.

It is no secret that Workman’s Friend in Plaza Midwood is a hotspot. I go probably three to four times a month and fall into the vibe every time. As a predominantly craft beer drinker, I do not go out of my way to seek the happening cocktails but, y’all, take my advice and go try Mother’s Ruin – an elevated gin and tonic with honeydew-infused Hendricks Gin, sweet hibiscus cane syrup and just a bit of tonic. Not only does it go down easily, but it can easily make you look like “that dude” that knows what he’s doing.   

Pricing is dependent on your beverage of choice but on average you’re looking at spending between $4-$6 on drafts and all unique cocktails are $10. Seriously man, you can’t go wrong, whether it’s an intimate date night or picking a place to hang with the boys.

And on the eighth day he said, “Let there be brunch!” Serving until 2pm!

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Yoga at Triple C Brewing Co.

2900 Griffith St.

Here’s the real deal, guys – it is important to keep our minds and bodies balanced. We get caught up in the routines of life and forget that we are walking around in a big meat bag that needs care and attention. Sounds like a hassle, right? What if you can go somewhere and get your workout in, hang out with cool folks and have a craft beer when it’s over?Triple C Brewing Co. offers a yoga class every Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. led by the Yoga Dude himself, Rob. All levels are welcome and the class is a vinyasa flow.

The best part is it is only $5 – no typo, seriously just $5. You get the class with Rob, one beer ticket and a sense of accomplishment. And in case you work up an appetite, Bleu Barn food truck is on-site Thursday nights until 9 p.m. so you can replenish that temple of yours after working on that core strength.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Charlotte 

201 East Trade St.

Look, I am a guy who likes nice things. The word “pampering” has been emasculated over the years and the idea of a man giving himself some time to reconnect with his inner animal has gradually gotten lost by the wayside. Not anymore. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Charlotte is a well-kept secret Uptown for a relaxing men’s escape day.

As soon as you walk in, the atmosphere slows down the annoying humming of life and work. A total perk is the men’s offerings – massages and treatments that cater directly to your inner dude. I always recommend the Power Hour for those looking to get back to center. With a back massage, oil application and full body salt and oil exfoliation included in a 50-minute time frame (not to mention access to the pool, vitality lounge, and fitness center are all included with the treatment), I can tell you that you will feel reawakened and ready to attack life again.   

Pricing for the men’s amenities range from $130 to $200, depending on treatment and length of time. Not too shabby when you consider how great you are going to feel when it’s all said and done.  

Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

Dot Dot Dot

4237 Park Road, Unit B (Backlot)

We, as men, are social creatures – we like interactive situations, hands-on experiences and connecting with a group of like-minded individuals. It harkens back to the pack mentality of our primal cave-bros. Sometimes, we need to cut loose from daily relationships (spouses, boy/girlfriends) and have some laughs with our boys. Dot Dot Dot offers a calm, upscale vibe while creating an old-school speakeasy atmosphere. Walk in with a few of your buddies, grab a table and order one of the phenomenal whisky selections or curated cocktails.

Typically, when the guys and I head to Dot Dot Dot, we dive into the outstanding small plates to split. This awesome speakeasy focuses on local resources and offers some of the freshest food options in the Queen City. Pair up the Penicillin (Monkey Shoulder Scotch, honey, ginger, lemon, McClelland’s Islay scotch, served over ice) with the Bone Marrow (braised short rib, pickled shimeji mushroom, mustard seed, jalapeno) from the Butcher section of the menu and let the manly conversation roll. Heads up:Dot Dot Dot can get a little pricey if you are picking up the tab. I recommend sharing a few tapas and splitting the bill with the boys.


325 E. 9th St.

When you know about a great spot before the masses, it feels like you are holding on to an epic secret. And that is exactly how Subsecreto would like to keep it – if you need a place to escape for a nice, hot cup of top-notch coffee and a quiet area to read a couple of chapters in your book, this is the place to go. This unique coffee shop has cultivated an atmosphere based on “secrets, magic and caffeine” and is a place for all walks of life. Sounds a little eccentric, right? That is the most endearing quality of this standalone shop – every time I go, I feel like I am in on the secret (whatever that secret may be) and enjoy just kicking back in a comfortable chair while I get my next moves in order.

The enchanting bean potions are comparably priced with the more well-traveled coffee shops. I am a maniac who strictly likes my coffee plain and Subsecreto is easily on the list of bests – go grab a cup for $4-$6 depending on your size and flavor.  

Photo courtesy of Subsecreto

Montford Billiards

1607 Montford Dr., Suite G.

Ya know who likes caves? We do. So much so that “man cave” has easily slid into our vernacular. There is an appeal when a group of guys get together for a couple of beers and to throw darts that is hard to beat. Montford Billiards delivers that man-cave vibe that keeps me coming back. It is easy to lose track of time when you are enjoying a beer and playing pool in the premier pool room or just hanging out with the fellas at the sports and cocktail lounge. And that is all right, it is good for us to get out and hone in on our highly social nature.

The food and drink options are an awesome blend of elevated bar options and easily identifiable stomach staples – and the prices won’t break your bank account. Wiithout looking like too much of a lush, I typically have a few beers and an appetizer and can still leave with only spending about $25 (which, we know in Charlotte, can sometimes be hard to do).



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