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Sipping Under the Stars 

Adventures in the great outdoors

It's official, starting now and throughout the summer, the weekend will begin on Thursday, making every Friday a mental holiday. Thanks to everyone who cast their vote.

Meanwhile, Mondays are spent living off the high that was the preceding four-day weekend, and Wednesdays are best spent preparing for the weekend to come. But what about Tuesdays? This lonely abyss has become the most neglected night of the week. But I don't overlook Tuesday after dark; it happens to be my favorite night of the week. That's when the flag football dynasty I'm part of takes the field, supplying the city with a much-needed highlight reel of coed gamesmanship and generating sound for an often silent weekday.

How are my skills, you wonder? Well, on "fourth and girl," I attempted the QB position but came close to an interception (oops). However, I was on top of my defense. On a key play, I grabbed not one but two flags off the receiver, immediately after he caught the pass. Now, I'm stretching for the Loaf's next kickball game. That's right, we know how to have a good time here at the Loaf. Get your Tuesdays' worth and join a game as more than a spectator -- draft some cohorts and mingle in intramural sports ... then proceed to re-hydrate at a local watering hole. Or, you could hydrate by substituting PBR for Gatorade before the game -- up to you.

Nightlife doesn't have to involve smoky rooms, cover charges and crowds invading your personal space. Have a night out -- but in Charlotte's great outdoors. Over the past few weeks, the only time I've stepped inside a bar was to hit the patio.

Last Thursday, my crew of Uptown Girls kicked off the weekend by venturing out of the 'hood to check out Selwyn Pub's patio. Once there, we sat under the moon sipping on Blue Moons. There seemed to be more exterior than interior, but considering I am a Northern migrant capitalizing on the sweet Southern weather, I have no problem with that. The Pub was "frat-tastic"; I felt like I was at an alumni Greek Week party. But I found refuge in the company of my favorite radio personality and dance partner, Ken Buckner from 96.9 The Kat.

(FYI -- it's as hard to find a parking spot at Selwyn as it is to find a free one downtown.)

Friday night: the Uptown Girls partied until sundown. Rick Gurr, the owner of the Sunset Club invited us over to celebrate at the birthday party for Carolina Panther Vinny Ciurciu. We pretended the red carpet soirée was also being held in honor of our friend Ashley (our own birthday girl), and made good use of their porch-style patio. Mainly, it was a great spot to cool off from dancing to the sweat-inducing tunes compliments of DJ T-Nice.

On Saturday, Kevin Mitchell, the Forum's manager, reserved a table for the Uptown Girls at the grand opening of the Forum's Rooftop Garden. Please don't mistake the Rooftop Garden for a patio; it's actually a lounge on a roof. I sat on a cozy couch below the Charlotte skyline and danced under the moon. It felt like home there -- just like the VIP section of a midtown Manhattan club.

I remained in a New York state of mind through Sunday, starting with brunch on Cans' rooftop patio, followed by an afternoon in the QC's equivalent to Manhattan's East Village, Plaza-Midwood. My new favorite bar's located there (drum roll please): Thomas Street Tavern. I loved the eclectic atmosphere, especially their stadium seating-filled ping-pong area out back. If the ping-pong tables were converted into beer-pong tables, Thomas Street Tavern could be home to the best beer-pong tournament in history. Stay tuned.

So let's recap: Cans, the Forum, Thomas Street Tavern, Selwyn Pub and the Sunset Club all have popping patios. And so do Stir, Dixie's, Morehead Street Tavern, City Tavern and Therapy. When a night out is in your stars, go au naturel.

To comment on this story, go to Vibes at

www.charlotte.creativeloafing.com.

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