I'm Amped! Amped for a Cure that is.
And so is Lil' Kim. The self proclaimed Queen Bee of rap will be in the Queen City this weekend for the grand opening of Salon Se Swa and the "Purple Reign" official after party for Charlotte NC Fashion Week at 5th Element nightclub (you know, the place where Cans used to be).
And I'm giving away VIP access for two to get down and amped up with Lil' Kim, as well as Katrise Jones this Saturday, Sept. 25 for both the grand opening celebration and after party.
Want them? Well the first person to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org gets them.
And you can also join Katrise Jones and Lil Kim again at the 5th Element for a gourmet charity dinner specially prepared by Chef Jay Jones, Executive Chef of Chateau Noir benefiting Amped 4-A-Cure, Inc. (supporting cancer research through music) and Yéle Haiti Foundation (to support the Haitian rebuilding efforts)
Find out more about Lil' Kim's big weekend plans in Charlotte here
Hook-her: I didn't think fish and naked women typically went together.
Call me a freak, but I have found myself working more in bars than I do in an office. And not just because Im a nightlife reporter, or because the Creative Loafing offices are nestled between BUTTER, Wet Willie's, and Black Bear. Perhaps I really am a freak, but its just a better working environment than an office.
For starters, the bar ambiance is more fun to be in than a cubicle. And bar stools dont hurt your back the way computer chairs do. And theres a bartender on hand to make you coffee so you dont have to do so yourself or a cocktail. Pick your poison.
Sure, people always look at me funny when I pull out a laptop and legal pad on a bar. But most bars have free WiFi for a reason. And the annoying people who interrupt you to ask, Are you working at a bar? are the alternative for the annoying co-worker who asks Does someone have a case of the Mondays?
Employers should have company Happy Hours, the morale would be high. Though I am spoiled, and slightly jaded, from my days working at MAXIM Magazine back in 2003-2004. On Friday, the interns would turn the office into a bar and serve us drinks to our cubicles. Fresh out of undergrad, I hadnt yet mastered the art of drinking functionally, so Id always have to redo everything on Monday, completely defeating the purpose.
Some of the places Ive set my office up at locally include Macs Speed Shop at Lake Norman, Yn2 Cafe, Pillars Pub, Rusty Rudder, Ed's Tavern, Loco Lime, the new Growlers PourHouse in NoDa, and M5 (which is actually closing and transforming into Zink, which closed Uptown).
Nightlife is fun ... and you can utilize it to make work a little bit more fun too. But I don't suggest getting a drink from Wet Willie's when trying to do so. I went to go work on their patio and ordered a "Naked Willy" (their low-sugar daquari-slurpee selection), so that I could pretend I was at the beach rather than just across from the CL office. And a few sips later, I was too tipsy to get much accomplished.
Paco's Tacos and Tequila opened Monday, south of the Uptown border in SouthPark.
And unlike Taco Macs, which also recently opened in SouthPark, the place actually serve tacos ... along with 60 different kinds of tequila 100 percent agave tequila at that. There is no "other" as you'll see in a lot of bar brand tequilas, and "other" is mixtos that's the stuff that makes your clothes come off and gives you a hangover.
The place has tequila-marinated in mango, prickly pear, and jalepeno, and its specialty drink is this little diddy ...
The Blackberry Pomegrante frozen margarita. It's like a margarita popsicle. Then there's the Durango Mango, that has the Cock and Bull Ginger Beer with Mango tequila, fresh squeezed OJ, and a splash of lime. (Leave it to me to accidentally type "Ball" instead of "Bull" on my first draft of this blog.) Anyway, this Cock and Bull non-alcoholic ginger beer concoction (pun intended) plays a role in the invention of vodka, and is randomly manufactured in West Jefferson, North Carolina at the Dr. Pepper plant. And is now served at Paco's Tacos in SouthPark.
They have a build your own margarita menu, which was somewhat overwhelming, like a chemistry lab project.
1. Pick your tequila. You choose between Blanco (white, for lightweights like myself), Reposado (golden and aged in wood for two to 11 months), and Anejo (aged a minimum of one year).
2. Chose your mixer between fresh-squeezed juices and low-sugar-house made sour mix
3. Select your seasoning as in form of liquor. Since I like Amaretto Sours. I used their sour mix and seasoned mine with Amaretto.
So many decisions ...
You then decide whether you want to rim it with salt, sugar, chili powder, or naked. And last but not least, on the rocks or frozen.
Meanwhile their skinny margarita is basically just tequila and lime juice, definitely no sour mix or Amaretto like I had.
Speaking of which, Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina is opening grandly Sept. 30, but they're having a private unveiling of their signature skinny margarita this Saturday, Sept. 18 at their VIP First Look party. And I'm inviting two people to go as my personal guests.
All you have to do is be a guest to my new personal website, BrittneyCason.com and drop me a line via the contact form. I'm easy like that ... but not like that.
More pics of Paco's Tacos ...
I am giving away five pairs of these ...
Tickets to the inaugural Lake Norman Beer Festival at the Galway Hooker this weekend, Sept. 18-19.
With tickets being $25 a piece, and including an all you can drink beer buffet from 1 p.m.- 8 p.m washed down with music, I'm not just giving you a ticket to kick-it, but I'm essentially giving you $50.
It's the least I can do for you for sitting down and taking your precious time to read Creative Loafing and Brittney After Dark. Time is money after all, and my readers are priceless.
All you have to do is
a) Be able to pick up your tickets at the CL offices in the N.C. Music Factory between 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. before the end of day Friday.
b) E-mail me at email@example.com and tell me who I performed a comedic improv freestyle session with a blog ago.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I prefer watching games I actually want to pay attention to in low key sports bars vs. bars as busy as the actual stadium for which the game is being played. So, I went to Kylie's Sports Bar and Grill at the lake to watch the 1st real football game of the season ... but it wasn't about the game this time.
Kylie's was also hosting the viewing party for my friend Shana Prevette's recent birthday party, which played amongst the wallpaper of TVs broadcasting the NFL and NCAA games.
And no one seemed to mind (at least I hope not) because the video was more epic than any game especially the one where my hometown team JMU upset my alma mater Virginia Tech because it took place in an enchanted land in West Virginia that was like a Neverland Ranch for adults (that was really just her friend's house). There was blobbing, go-karting, human bowling, paint balling ... and Vanilla Ice.
I guess you know it's a party when Vanilla Ice shows up. And to make matters even more random, I somehow ended up being his opening act. While he was rapping "Ice Ice Baby too cold, too cold," I was freestyling in the form of comedic improv: "Icy Hot Baby you're old, you're old" and "Hater Hater Masterbator."
But back to Kylie's ... it is rather enchanted itself, for a dive-sports bar.
Don't be fooled by its exterior it looks like a Cracker Barrel with its front porch swings. I didn't know if I was going in to get a beer, or some chicken and dumplings.
Kylie's has a pool room, a game room equipped with computer chairs to sit in, and is home of the $5 Jager bomb. And the servers were all like Hooters girls in cuter outfits they wear football jerseys, shorts like the ones NFL cheerleaders wear, tube socks, and sneakers.
Meanwhile, Lake Norman's Sunny Ledfurd's lead singer Dugi brought his guitar and we had a sing-along session on the patio, which I'm sure annoyed the game watchers even more than we already had by bogarting one of their televisions.
And the best thing about Kylie's Sports Bar and Grille is that I was still able to watch and pay attention to the game.
The inaugural Lake Norman Beer Festival is next weekend, Saturday and Sunday Sept 18-19 from 1 p.m.- 8 p.m. at the Galway Hooker ... and surrounding parking lot.
It's going to require a lot of space to host 16 different breweries, two bands and hundreds of people carrying beer sampling mugs. They'll have brews to sample from Brooklyn (Brewery) to Carolina (Beer Company) with Dave Kellan and Jay Mathey performing live. It's the lake's version of Oktoberfest, and much like Uptown's Oktoberfest, is held in September.
See you in Lake Norman next weekend for hookers and beer. I mean, beer at the Hooker. You can get tickets here
Beer doesn't get enough credit. It's as classy of a drink as wine and there are connoisseurs who like to study the process of making beer and sample and savor it. And now, there's a place for the beer connoisseur to go ... Growlers PourHouse.
It opened last Wednesday in NoDa next to Crepe Cellar, which is its neighboring and sister venue, as it shares space and ownership. Growlers is essentially the beer cellar to the that of the crepes like a wine vault for beer. They even have cheese plates with beer flights, along with organic truffled popcorn and a meaty menu. They have American craft style beer with 19 locally brewed beers on tap that alternate every three weeks.
The Panthers were playing last night, but more importantly, so were both USCs (the Cocks and the Trojans, if you will). Rejoice, college football has kicked off. It's like a holiday. And Charlotte celebrated alright, at ALL the sports bars around town. I had to go to Fairview Grill just to find a parking spot.
When I want to watch a game, and I can't actually be at it, I want to be in an environment not so much like a crowded game in a bar but my living room with a beer tap in exchange for the remote control. So when I pulled up to the sports bars more packed than clubs on a Saturday night, I had to change my game plan.
For my first play I headed to Dilworth Tap House on the corner of Montford and Park but both Park Road Shopping Center and Montford Drive were packed beyond parking capacity. So that play was incomplete and I lost 15 yards, or 5 miles rather. On my second attempt I went to the newly opened Taco Mac, but some asshole bogarted the spot I was literally in the process of pulling into. Flag on the play! But rather than pulling a scene from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes and smashing in the rear of his car to make room for mine, I drove to Fairview Grill to have some fried green tomatoes.
Fairview Grill is under new ownership the former owners of Hef's and Blondes before it became Thurstons and Hef's with new owners. But aside from that, and a new kitchen manager, there is nothing new about Fairview. It has the same staff, same look, same menu, same karaoke nights, same drink specials (such as the $3 wine on Thursdays), and same TV setup which I particularly appreciated because they were playing the Braves game, the Panthers game, and what I was there for: So Miss n the Cocks (as in Southern Miss and the USC Gamecocks).
So in other words Fairview Grill is still a good place to go ... especially on game night!
Cans is re-opening this Wednesday, Sept. 1 ... as something else: The 5th Element nightclub.
When I went in to check it out, they were all secretive, treating me as though I was some sort of investigative reporter trying to uncover some scandal; I just want to know about your club. And check out their website it's essentially just a PayPal site to become a member to avoid cover charges.
So I can't really tell you a whole lot about 5th Element Nightclub, except that it is softly opening this Wednesday as an after party for Budweiser Superfest, featuring Charlotte's own Anthony Hamilton, with Kem Jaheim and Raheem Devaughn.
The space looks pretty much the same, with the addition of black and white curtains (that I wasn't allowed to take a picture of), that make it really dark inside.
Though a nightclub, they're keeping the football bar element Cans had. They have indoor tailgating parties before Panthers games, and every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday they'll be showing NFL and NCAA football according to the flyer I yanked as the door was hitting my ass on the way out.