The return of AA5 | QC After Dark

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The return of AA5

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:17 PM

If you’re new to the area, Alive After Five — more commonly referred to as AA5 — is the largest after-work gathering in town that happens every Thursday during the summer on the rooftop of the EpiCentre.
Now called, Rooftop 210, if you’re a happy hour fanatic, AA5 is the place to be on a Thursday night, especially for young professionals. The free, weekly event features live music and a casual atmosphere, so it’s great for unwinding after work, networking or meeting a Tinder date.

A couple of years ago, I lived in a three-bedroom place on the South side of Charlotte with two roommates. I worked with my Partner in Crime (P.I.C.), and together we discovered AA5.

Every Thursday during the hot summer, I would head home to find something to wear as quickly as possible. Then I would head to Plaza Midwood where the P.I.C. lived to pregame for AA5 at the EpiCentre Uptown.

We had it made in those days — we worked our 40 hour week into four days so we could take Fridays off. This meant we could go to AA5 with no inhibitions since we could be hungover all day on Friday.
And to top it off? We were both single and ready to mingle. So, we would take shots of peanut butter vodka — don’t ask — and then grab an Uber to Uptown.

Unhindered by having to get up the next morning, you can imagine Charlotte sunsets quickly faded into 3 a.m. nights and that’s when I fell in love with Queen City nightlife. We would spend hours on the rooftop and then hit up quite a few spots which we soon became regulars at.

That’s the beauty of having AA5 at the EpiCentre. You can start the night out in a professional, networking atmosphere and then get down and dirty late night. Not to mention, on Thursdays you rarely have to worry about paying a cover fee — now your AA5 wristband guarantees free entry.

We would always exit on the side where Vault was, so that would usually be our first stop. After running into professional swimmers and getting invited to tables, it definitely was worth a peek every time. Or we would check out Suite Charlotte or Bubble — whichever didn’t have a long line — for dancing.

Somehow, we always managed to pop into Tin Roof where the security and bartenders took good care of us. Needless to say, there was never a dry moment before standing in the longest line of all — Libretto’s Pizza — to drunkenly munch on a slice while waiting on Uber surges to drop.

Whether you’re getting off work, or meeting up with friends after a long day, you’ll enjoy unwinding on the rooftop as the sun sets on the Queen City. And guess what? It starts this week!

Here’s a couple things to keep in mind as you prepare. After all, you don’t want to look like an amateur.
1. Transportation. Drinking and driving should be avoided at all times. Not to mention, the EpiCentre parking deck can be a nightmare (and expensive) for newbies or tipsy folk. Walk, take the light rail or Uber, you’ll thank me later.

2. No specials. “Happy Hour” isn’t even legal in North Carolina, and even though people refer to AA5 as happy hour, you’ll find no real specials awaiting you on Thursdays. More like tall boys and those annoying plastic “cocktail” cups at normal prices. So, pregame if you can or limit yourself to a couple drinks, your pockets will thanks me later.

3. Live entertainment. Not every band will be your cup of tea, but try to make it in time to catch the live entertainment. We had the terrible habit of showing up late and missing out on the action. Experience AA5 in full.

4. Friday is right around the corner. Chances are, you don’t have the setup me and the P.I.C. had. Don’t let the exciting atmosphere of the EpiCentre fool you into thinking you don’t have to go to work the next day. Early evenings have a way of becoming early mornings when you partake in Q.C. nightlife.

5. Explore the EpiCentre. Not only will you find better drink deals, but you can grab dinner or go bowling and make a night of it.

Now that you’re prepped and ready to go, the AA5 memories — or lack of memories — are slated to begin this Thursday March 31st featuring live music from Groovetown on the rooftop stage and Live Big on the plaza stage. And now that my office has officially planted itself Uptown, you’ll probably catch me and the P.I.C. there regularly. Cheers to an amazing summer!

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