Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Weekend of Charlotte Firsts

I did not see that coming

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 12:19 PM

I've been spending a lot of time alone lately, and despite the fact that I'm an only child, I can't say I've been enjoying it. That's why, as of late, I've been finding myself in quite a few random situations. On that note, this past weekend was certainly one for the books.

On Thursday, I was invited to Hot Taco in South End for a co-worker's birthday. I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food, but what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets. Did I mention they have select $1 draft beers on Thursdays? Yeah, I wasn't complaining. I grabbed a couple pints, munched on some chips and started inquiring about what would come next after getting stir crazy. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one. One of my old co-workers was ready to go as well. We decided to walk over to Slate Charlotte, but it was dead.

Even though we'd already had a beer at Alive After Five (AA5) prior to the South End trek, it was clear our next best choice for 8 o'clock on a Thursday was to return to the famous after-work happy hour spot at Rooftop 210 in the EpiCentre. Just when I thought I was much more sober than everyone else, I realized I'd gotten caught up in a conversation with a Ghanaian-American vet about her desire to serve this country. That's how you know I've crossed the buzzed threshold, I start talking about politics, race relations, social issues and the like with random strangers.

In true "Saved by the Bell" fashion, I looked down at my phone to a text from the birthday girl and crew that simply said, "Going to SIP." After looking back at our texts, I was clearly far past the tipping point as it appears I photo-documented my entire Charlotte pedicab ride from the EpiCentre to SIP. Sighs, why do we do these things to ourselves?

Once inside SIP, I realized I'd never been in there before – TWO levels of great dancing music, including reggae?! "How could that possibly be?" I asked myself as I stared at Prohibition next door knowing I'd been there one too many times. I introduced myself to the bouncer, then turned to threat mode when I realized I needed him to watch my 30-pound backpack, complete with all of my essentials.

"I know who you are..." He laughed, unbothered, by my threats and proceeded to watch my bag for me despite my distrusting attitude. (Thank you, sir. You're the real G.O.A.T. of Thursday night.)

You'd think after staying out until 3 a.m. that I'd slow down on Friday, right? Nope, it was time for another first. This time, however, it was my first time going to Queen Park Social while sober. An old co-worker — a.k.a. my P.I.C. — had put together a semi-surprise get together for her boyfriend and I ran errands with her after work for moral support.

If you haven't been, Queen Park Social is one of the newest additions to South End right across the street from Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. The venue features two patios, shuffleboard, ping pong, bowling, a huge bar and right around 18,000 square feet of "boutique" adult playground. I'm not sure how the process for party reservations will work in the future, as it appears they are still working out the kinks, but she was able to call ahead and snag two lanes for two hours for around $30/lane. The icing on the cake? There are servers that camp out by the lanes, ready and willing to replace your drinks on the reg. Now that's what I call service. I can't say I'm all that impressed by the food, but let's be honest, at an adult playground, you're probably not there for the food.

Saturday and Sunday, of course, were reserved for the woman whose womb I popped out of, but on my way back to Charlotte after Mother's Day brunch I received an invite to another first: free tickets to Future and Migos at PNC Pavilion. As my old roommate and I made our way down Highway 29, we watched as scantily clad concertgoers walked for what felt like miles alongside our ride. In a twist of good fortune, a cop told us to park in the "lot on the right up ahead." Little did we know, this was the lot RIGHT in front of the venue. Around 9:05 p.m. we were settling down in seats that were about 25 rows away from the stage and at 9:15 p.m. Future was already performing. Come on, I can't make this stuff up.

The highlight of the show? Either the contact high we received just from being under the tent, or the backup dancers that were getting lit Soulja Boy-style the entire show. Or maybe it was EJ Esco's fine self? I digress, you'll never believe me but the show was over promptly at 10:29 p.m. and we were back on the highway by 10:45 p.m. Where they do that at?!

Just another first for me.

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