Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Trip to The Imperial That I'll Actually Remember

Third time's a charm

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM

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Is anyone actually calling it Northside Station?

If you've explored nightlife in Charlotte, especially Uptown, you know that the "building" that used to house Bar Charlotte and Republic Nite Club is now called Northside Station. That's where you'll find Lucky's Bar & Arcade, Flight Beer Garden & Music Hall, Tavolo (R.I.P. from what I hear) and The Imperial.

The first time I went to The Imperial, I was toasted. Beforehand, I'd gone to Science on the Rocks: Wizarding World at the Discovery Place. I was so excited about the chance to experience Harry Potter in the Queen City, however, it ended up being lackluster. I don't know why I thought butter beer would taste better in Charlotte than it did at Harry Potter World in Orlando. Nevertheless, my friend and I enjoyed what we could.

Once we had our fill, we left and went to The Local, and eventually, I decided to brave Charlotte nightlife alone and head to Lucky's Bar & Arcade.

Bad idea. I grabbed an RBV, or three, and headed straight for the Jurassic Park arcade game.

It's one of my faves at Lucky's and that night, someone was celebrating a birthday. That meant free coins for the random bargoer hogging a two-player game: a.k.a me.

Next thing you know, I'm in the bathroom fighting for my life before 10 p.m.

I collected myself to meet some friends at The Imperial around the corner. It was my first time and I didn't know if I would even be able to handle the epic cocktails that I'd heard so much about.

I was right.

All I remember was one of my friends and I ordering the same charred drink with ashes in it. Coincidence? I think not.

The second time? My parents were visiting and we went straight to the rooftop bar. Don't get me wrong, I loved every second of the fall breeze on that rooftop. However, I learned very quickly that the rooftop bar doesn't serve the same cocktails as the bar downstairs. Bummer.

Needless to say, after quick and blurry experiences, I was excited to revisit the jazz venue this past weekend.

One of my good friends and old co-workers was celebrating a birthday and wanted to get the girls together for a night out.

This mop I call hair kept me from being on time, but I was still able to take note of the highlights. I walked up the front stairs to the entrance of The Imperial and showed my ID.

There were way more patrons than I remember seeing the first time around. The lighting wasn't too dim, unique for a jazz bar, and there was plenty of seating: cozy booths along the wall on the left, a bar on the right. When I walked to the back, there was a small stage. On that stage, a live jazz band that was getting after it.

I'm not going to lie, it was kind of loud given the small space, but there's something about jazz instruments that I don't want to ignore. No matter how loud they are.

I surveyed the crowd as I walked toward the bathroom. It was awesome to see how diverse the crowd was as I walked toward the back of the venue.

And what was more exciting? The menu was just as diverse. I didn't have time to grab a cocktail of my own on this visit, but I did have time to taste the Bourbon Evergreens.

I glanced at the other drink options wondering if I'd find extravagant prices. Nope.

Compared to newer venues like Merchant & Trade, the stiff drinks that The Imperial's bartenders are serving up are worth the $12 price tag from what I can tell!

Whether you're more of the lounge-goer or a rooftop porch pigeon, you'll love the vibes at The Imperial.

This venue's laid-back atmosphere coupled with live jazz music on the weekends makes for the perfect date night spot or better yet, Galentine's destination. By the time I arrived to revisit the layout of the venue, my girls were ready to head to Connolly's, The Local and Tilt.

That's how you know the drinks at The Imperial have to be heavy in alcohol. Why? Gone are the days of making more than two moves in a night, let alone in a matter of a couple hours.

Before you head to a stuffier destination for live music in the Q.C., check out The Imperial. Based on multiple experiences, this last one being the most memorable, the venue won't disappoint.

Pro tip: If you're interested in a "galactic ride," try the social media favorite – the Amethyst Garden martini.

Do you have other favorite jazz spots? Drop them in my inbox, because I think I feel a jazz phase coming on.

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