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Winter Survival Guide 2018 

'CL' runs you out in the cold rain and snow

Photo by Andy Goh.

Photo by Andy Goh.

We made it through the first snowstorm of the year unscathed. (well, 'storm' might be pushing it.) And that got us thinking: What do you do when the weather turns against you and the outdoors ain't an option? you eat comfort food, you drink whiskey, you watch movies. We've got all those covered and then some, in our Winter Survival Guide 2018.

Meatless comfort: Bean Vegan Cuisine

click to enlarge Bean Vegan's tofu finger sandwich.
  • Bean Vegan's tofu finger sandwich.

Obviously, comfort food is what you want to put in your body during the cold months. But when most folks think comfort foods, they think sirloin al sangue, prime ribs, burgers, pork chops, barbecue and, of course, hush puppies, mashed potatoes and mac-and-cheese.

But what if you're a vegetarian or vegan? Carnivores often ask veggie people, "What do you do for food that fills you up?"

Here's what you do: You go to Bean Vegan. Yes, folks, veggie people, too, can enjoy delicious wintertime comfort foods just like grandma made — all you have to do is hold the meat (and for vegans, the cheese).

Bean Vegan chef Charlie Foesch's good ol' country cooking is warm and tasty, and the restaurant has tons of great wintertime options, from the famous fried pickles and fried tofu fingers (our favorites) to old-fashioned meatless meatballs, mashed potatoes — the works.

Foesch recommends this tried-and-true combo for those nights when the temperature dips below 30 degrees: "A jalapeno cheddar burger with a side of mac-and-cheese or collard greens is a perfect winter meal," he says.

"Warms you up, fills you up and doesn't weigh you down."

As they say in the marketing, "It's good, y'all." — Mark Kemp

Where: 3001 E Independence Blvd.

More: 980-939-1234,

You'll 'probably need some wine': Bond Street Wines

click to enlarge bondwines.jpg

"We have healthy sales on snow days," Bond Street Wines manager Sam Bilski admits. "People are shut in, the kids may be at home, and it can be a stressful situation. They'll probably need some wine."

The lesson is: If you're going to batten down the hatches to keep the ice and cold at bay, you need to be properly provisioned. And wine — lots of it — may be the perfect winter-survival supply. It has just the right amount of alcohol to act as an antifreeze, but it won't make you so woozy that you decide that tobogganing off your roof is an awesome idea.

Launched in 2005, Bond Street Wines is a Charlotte-based establishment that takes a boutique approach to its wares, specializing in small and limited production wineries. It also hosts tasting events throughout the year. For wintertime vintage sipping, Bilski recommends a red like a Cabernet or a Bordeaux.

"Saint Damien Gigondas, Paris Valley Road Cabernet and Altosur Cabernet Sauvignon are all a good bet," he says. "Each is a perfect complement to bread and milk."

Where: 605 Providence Road.

More: 704-521-1353,

Dress warm and still be hip: Buffalo Exchange

click to enlarge Photo by Dana Vindigni.
  • Photo by Dana Vindigni.

When the cold months fly in, you don't have to sacrifice style for practicality. You can do both. If you haven't heard of Bufflo Exchange, then you've been living under a rock, because seriously, the stores are all over the country. That being said, when Charlotte's two-day long winter throws down, the Buff can hook you up with some warm, fuzzy, consignment goodness.

Conveniently located in trendy Plaza Midwood, Buffalo Exchange is a men's and women's clothing store where one might want to buy, sell or trade the grandparent's wardrobe for beer money. Like other consignments, BE offers you 30 percent of the selling price in cash or 50 percent of the selling price in store trade. The clothes are priced reasonably, with an eclectic selection for even the pickiest of shoppers, and a decent variance in sizes.

The absurdly trendy staff is always available for suggestions or questions and is happy to help support you on your decision to buy leather chaps, in january, should the need arise. So save the environment, make a quick $50 or buy pre-owned and look dope. Either way is a win for us all. — Dana Vindigni

Where: 1521 Central Ave. More: (704) 372-2300;

Resell your stuff: Clothes Mentor

click to enlarge clothes-mentor.jpg

Thrifting, or consignment, got a face lift, so to speak. Clothes Mentor, a women's consignment chain, is touting its "Upscale Resale Fashion."

Sweet! As long as it's still cheap, we don't care what you call it.

If the winter months have left you, say, not "in love" with some of your old clothes, then why not get off your butt and make some quick cheese by selling them? Clothes Mentor will give you either cash or store credit for your duds (if they're in good condition — hence, the "upscale" part). For you Skeptical Susans out there, this is one of the best used clothing stores in Charlotte.

Both locations are stocked floor-to-ceiling with a ridiculous amount of clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry. Everything is organized by color, which of course is enchanting. There's a huge variety of merch ranging from vintage to designer, a good selection of sizes, and the quality of the clothing is like new. As avid CM customers, we can attest to it being a rather enjoyable experience.

So whether the weather has you up a couple of kilos or down a few, come sell or splurge on some (basically) new clothes this season. — Dana Vindigni

Where: 901 South Kings Dr.; 8120 Providence Road


Jump around: Defy Gravity

click to enlarge Defy Gravity.
  • Defy Gravity.

As much as a winter coat can act as extra padding for a fall, it just gets in the way when you're trying to get your trampoline jumping on. That's why they created indoor trampoline parks.

Defy Gravity takes trampolines to the next level, adding games and obstacle courses to the mix. Avoid a dodgeball, flip off the wall, walk a tightrope and let a foam pit brace your fall. Let loose and be a flailing fool. Sounds therapeutic, right?

There are a few ways to do this. In addition to open jump times, DG has a designated Kid Jump for ages 6 and under only, college night for those in need of a student discount and club nights (they say it's like a club with no gravity).

On Monday nights, you can get the whole family in for $45. They also offer Gravity Fit exercise classes, which is a whole lot more fun than the treadmill. — Alex Sands

Where: 8116 University City Blvd.

More: 704-817-4660.

Gloves off, hands on: Discovery Place

click to enlarge Discovery Place.
  • Discovery Place.

Here's a New Year's resolution for you: Get smarter. That's not hard to do when you've got everyone's favorite science and technology museum in your city.

Take off your winter gloves as soon as you walk through the door, because these exhibits are interactive and hands-on. At the Think It Up exhibit, you'll rely on your hands to solve problems and experiment. Then, learn more about what's inside you at Being Me, an exhibit on health and human anatomy. Or, see the crazy innovations Leonardo da Vinci designed over 500 years ago at the Da Vinci's Machines exhibit. There's also an exhibit called Cool Stuff, which is literally just cool, sciency stuff, without all the pretentious Neil Degrasse Tyson tweets.

After all that, you've still got Star Wars: The Last Jedi playing in the IMAX Dome Theater, for an additional $5 to your $17 entry.

On February 16, ditch the nostalgia and act like an adult at DP's romantically themed "Flirting With Food" version of Science on the Rocks. — Alex Sands

Where: 301 N. Tryon St.

More: 704-372-6261.

Hang out in a basement: Sir Edmond Halley's

click to enlarge siredmond.jpg

The warm, cavernous atmosphere at Sir Edmond Halley's is the perfect escape from winter weather, as there's barely a window to be seen from any of the dining seats, leaving you to conveniently forget about the shitty climate right outside the door.

The dining room and bar offer a homey feel, but the real fun to be had is in the pub room. Stay snowed in and make some new friends at the stammtisch — or regular's table — which seats 14 friends or strangers and is the perfect place to host a game or two of Scrabble, chess, checkers or backgammon.

The crew at Halley's prides itself on pouring the best Guinness in Charlotte, and who doesn't love a good Guinness on a winter day?

They also put the beer into good use in their Guinness Stew, served only in the winter. The mix of beef, carrots and onions cooked with Guinness and topped with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables will keep you just where you need to be — out of the cold, in the pub room, drinking with your friends. — Ryan Pitkin

Where: 4151 Park Road (look behind Park Road Shopping Center)

More: 704-525-7775,

Climb the walls: Kinetic Heights/Inner Peaks

click to enlarge Kinetic Heights.
  • Kinetic Heights.

It's that unfortunate time of the year when a trip to the Appalachians to get your adventure on really isn't worth enduring temperatures in the 20s. Luckily, we live in a day and age where there are warmer alternatives.

Inner Peaks has your rock climbing fix. The entire building is an overwhelming assortment of colorful climbing holds to help you get high.

If you're a beginner, staff can hook you up with rental equipment and Intro to Climbing courses throughout the week.

Kinetic Heights covers everything else, from obstacle courses to zip lines to high ropes to parkour training.

On January 27, KH is hosting an Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association competition, so if you've ever for some reason wanted to prove your ninja potential, here's your chance.

The event is one for "ninja warriors, obstacle course racers, athletes and fitness enthusiasts," according to the website.

Youth competes at 9 a.m. and adults at 12:30 p.m. — Alex Sands

Where: Inner Peaks, 2220 S Tryon St.; Kinetic Heights, 5664 International Drive

More:, 980-242-3244;, 704-412-4068

Bash some balls: Table Tennis League

click to enlarge table-tennis.jpg

Winter Olympics are right around the corner, and we've got bad news for you: You won't be in them.

However, there's no better place to feel like an Olympian of sorts than the Charlotte Table Tennis Club. The league's home within the Hawthorne Recreation Center has 12 tables on the playing floor with three dedicated to practice rooms, so even the most inexperienced table tennis player can work his or her way up to be one of the greats.

You will be paired with an opponent of your skill level during tournaments, held Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Tuesday and Thursday nights.

To be clear, this is not your average ping-pong game in your friend's basement. This is a competitive and complex sport using high-quality equipment. According to the CTTC website, "while basement ping-pong is a game of hitting the ball mindlessly back and forth, table tennis is one of the most complicated and athletic individual sports."

We're not sure what the hell the difference is, but if you want to find out, new players of all ages are welcome to test out the club for $5 a visit. But don't get discouraged if you're defeated, because these guys are no joke. Just remember, practice makes perfect. — Alex Sands

Where: Hawthorne Recreation League; 345 Hawthorne Lane

More: 704-336-2008.

Escape from reality: Regal Manor Twin

click to enlarge manor-copy.jpg

During that snow day we saw back on January 17, the folks at the historic Regal Manor Twin movie theater on Providence Road were proud to keep showing movies for as long as they felt it was safe to do so.

"Very seldom are we ever closed," said general manager Brad Ritter, looking back on the snowcation. "That's always a fun day. We have a lot of neighborhood people who walk in, and they're all in a good mood because so rarely do we get to see snow. When everyone else is closed, we're usually open."

Last year, a couple of other Regal theaters in town showed all of the "Best Picture" Oscar nominees in binge-mode in the lead-up to the awards, but the Manor's two-screen setup limits Ritter and company in that regard. However, they'll still be showing their new releases — most of which are hard to find in more mainstream theaters — in the cozy building come rain, sleet or snow.

If you're looking to catch up before the Oscars, the Manor will still be showing Call Me By Your Name — nominated for multiple categories including Best Picture — for at least a few more days when this paper hits racks. — Ryan Pitkin

Where: 609 Providence Road

More: 704-334-1324,

Rethink the links: Topgolf Winter Leagues

click to enlarge Topgolf.
  • Topgolf.

Winter isn't a great time to hit the golf course on a regular basis, unless you're Donald Trump. No need to let that rust creep into your game, though. Topgolf offers winter leagues for two-person teams or teams between four and six players for those who want to keep that competitive streak going through the cold season.

In the two-person team league, for intermediate to advanced players, a six-week season of head-to-head matchups is followed up by two weeks of playoffs, which includes all teams and consists of match play. For the less experienced out there, the four-to-six player team league is the better bet. That one consists of six weeks of stroke play followed by two weeks of playoffs, also match play.

Prizes for each league include free entry into the league next year and medals, and the winner of the two-player team league will move on to the 2018 Topgolf Tour Regional Tournament, free of charge. Winners also qualify for the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Ok fine, we made that last part up. Keep dreaming. — Ryan Pitkin

Where: 8024 Savoy Corporate Drive

More: 704-612-4745.

Swim through streams of whiskey: Great Wagon Road Distilling Company

click to enlarge whiskey.jpg

There's an old Irish poem about imbibing whiskey in the winter that goes like this:

It's frigid Bridget, So ye and Hillary, hie to the distillery!

OK, we just made that up. But if you need a high-fallutin', literary-sounding reason to tour a whiskey works, feel free to filch it.

At the Great Wagon Road Distilling Company, you can go swim through streams of whiskey, to borrow another literary-sounding phrase — this one from the great Irish punk-folk band The Pogues. You may not be able to literally swim through the amber-hued elixir, but you can certainly walk among pots full of the poitín, which is an evocative word for Ireland's traditional distilled beverage, at Great Wagon Road's distillery.

The establishment was founded by County Kildare native Ollie Mulligan, who comes from a long line of Irish whiskey makers — some more legal than others. (The distillery's website describes the business as "a place with character, built by a character.")

You'll need to book a reservation for tours, which take place Saturdays at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

After the tour you can purchase a bottle of GWR's poitín, vodka or single malt whiskey. — Pat Moran

Where: 227 Southside Drive

More: 704-469-9330.

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