17 of the best places to eat and drink before a Carolina Panthers game

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Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a good tailgate. However, there are also a number of establishments where you can eat, drink and be merry within walking distance of Bank of America Stadium.

To help narrow down your choices, here are seventeen places that you can visit prior to kickoff. If we failed to mention your favorite eatery, let us know in the comments below.

BRUNCH 

204 North Kitchen & Cocktails

204 N. Tryon St.

Think of this place as your “home away from home.” I often come here when I want a home-cooked meal, but I don’t feel like cooking. This cozy, stylish saloon serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and offers Panthers themed food and drink items on game day. Make sure to grab a craft cocktail with your meal, because they taste just as good as they look.

Brunch Cocktails via @sliceofjess

Famous Toastery Uptown

330 S. Tryon St.

When you’re looking for something familiar and comfortable, look no further than this traditional breakfast joint. Since they open bright and early at 7am on both Saturday and Sunday, you can arrive in Uptown early and sightsee after a leisurely breakfast.

Eggs Benedict via @sliceofjess

La Belle Helene

300 S. Tryon St.

If you’re looking for delicious French fare in a glamorous setting, this is your spot. Brunch is served on Sunday only from 10:00am-3:00pm and I highly recommend the Avocado Toast, Onion Soup and Golden Mary.

Avocado Toast via @sliceofjess

Loft & Cellar

305 West 4th St.

Enjoy a three-course brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 3pm for $25 per person. Hungry fans can look forward to an eclectic menu that includes crab beignets, short rib hash and cornmeal pound cake (just to name a few).

Mimosa Grill

327 S. Tryon St.

If you’re looking for a brunch buffet, head here. Mimosa Grill serves up Southern classics with a modern twist. Patrons can expect an all-you-can-eat spread including iron skillet eggs, prime rib, smoked salmon with capers, a salad bar and various desserts. Brunch is served both Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. It serves the regular menu as well, and I suggest getting one of the decadent burgers or sandwiches.

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich via @sliceofjess

Ri Ra Irish Pub

208 N. Tryon St.

This dual-level eatery serves brunch every Sunday starting at 10 a.m. with live jazz music. If you’re looking to sit down to some authentic Irish pub prior to the game, this place has got you covered. It even has a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. To read more about their brunch menu, check out my brunch visit here.

Irish Benedict via @sliceofjess

Stoke

100 W. Trade St.

Located inside the elegantly designed Marriott City Center hotel is a restaurant that sources its ingredients from local farmers, shakes up some adventurous cocktails and houses 24 rotating craft brews on tap. Traditional brunch fare is served all week until 4pm. I highly recommend the Avocado Toast and Garbage Fries.

[Related: Stoke houses a speakeasy that’s available for large parties and gatherings. Read all about it here.]

Avocado Toast via @sliceofjess

BARS

The Belfast Mill

144 Brevard Ct.

Tucked away behind historic Latta Arcade is an authentic Irish pub with no frills or fancy décor. The reason you come here is for their vast supply of whiskey, cold beer and dart boards for entertainment. They don’t serve any food here, but there is a large selection of quick bites within a 30-second walking distance.

Courtyard Hooligans

140 Brevard Ct.

Located next door to the Belfast Mill is another bar that’s great for watching the game if you’re not headed to the stadium. It has 24 beers on tap and the bartenders are extremely friendly. It’s a hole-in-the-wall sort of place with several TV’s, so don’t expect something fancy. It’s small and cozy with an ambiance that is unapologetically geared towards soccer, but it’ll play the Panthers game as well.

Draught

601 S. Cedar St.

Located in the backyard of Bank of America Stadium, Draught is a convenient place for a pregame drink. It has drink specials and giveaways on Panthers game days along with 40 beers on tap.

Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse

330 N. Tryon St. 

This restaurant is overflowing with televisions and has more than 100 beers on tap, so it’s a great spot to watch the game if you don’t have a ticket. It will often have specials on game day and offers an extensive menu that will appeal to just about everyone.

Loaded Chicken Nachos via @sliceofjess

Fitzgerald’s

201 E 5th St.

A no-frills Irish pub with 37 TVs, game sound for select games, daily drink specials and American-Irish fare. Whether you’re in the mood for buffalo wings, shepherds pie, or a classic reuben, this eatery has got you covered.

GRAB & GO 

Avenue Market

210 N. Church St.

There’s a small counter inside this mini market that offers a tasty menu of traditional Korean fare. The Bulgogi sub is my go-to item, but make sure to bring your appetite because it delivers some gigantic flavors smothered in mayo and melted cheese. Insider tip: I like to add jalapeños and kimchi into the mix.

Bulgogi Sub via @sliceofjess

B.Good 

400 S. Tryon St.

This fast-casual joint is family friendly and serves meals made in collaboration with local farmers and ingredients (they list the farms right there on the wall). I recommend the West Side Burger with sweet potato fries. If you would rather dine-in, they have tables where you can eat inside are open from 11am – 8pm on Sunday.

West Side Burger via @sliceofjess

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

320 S. Tryon St.

When you’re in the mood for a toasted sandwich, Potbelly’s has a collection of tasty options to choose from with a number of inventive concoctions.

[Related: Here’s what to order from Potbelly’s secret menu.]

Chicken and Cheddar Sandwich via @sliceofjess

Queen City Beer and Chili

135 Brevard Court

This is a laid-back spot that serves hearty burgers, beer by the pint (or growler — hello tailgate party!), and some great chili (the white chicken chili is my favorite). You are more than welcome to eat here, but I also like to order it to-go and eat across the street at Romere Bearden Park.

Rhino Market

420 Church St.

There’s a small section of tables to dine-in, however, those fill up fast. The line to order your sandwich may sometimes look long but I promise it goes by fast. They are open from 9am – 9pm on Sunday and I highly recommend the Raw Rhino, Hot Roast Beef and Reuben sandwiches.

Reuben Sandwich via @sliceofjess

Photos: Jessica Bentley

6 COMMENTS

  1. Murphy’s Kitchen & Tap is a glaring omission from this list. Proximity to the stadium, excellent food, great drink specials. If you haven’t tried Murphy’s you’re missing out.

  2. Julie and Dan’s Tailgate at 1000 W. Morehead St is always a blast. It’s a great place to meet other panther fans and grab a cold beer. If your tailgate is lacking come join us.

  3. Thanks Charlotte Five for the mention about Mimosa Grill’s Sunday Brunch! We SO appreciate it. On home game days, we open at 10am for our southern brunch buffet and patio specials. Come see us!

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