There are an assortment of various actions, companies, bars and artwork that set every of our metropolis’s neighborhoods aside. Because the neighborhood newspaper, we discover it essential to allow you to in on the entire metropolis’s little secrets and techniques. In our new information collection, the place we are going to element how we take pleasure in our time, we hope to tell you on new locations that you simply haven’t skilled but to lock in your each day itinerary. Under we try the creative sights of Plaza Midwood and Commonwealth whereas additionally reviewing retail outlets and favourite bar crawls and lunch picks.
PLAZA MIDWOOD ART TOUR, AS CURATED BY PAT
With gentrification’s grip closing in and lots of neighborhood staples closing, it might seem to be there’s not a lot for arts and tradition occurring in Plaza Midwood. As a 16-year resident of the neighborhood, I can disprove that false impression with a leisurely strolling tour of Plaza Midwood.
Structure: The ambling tour begins at my apartment advanced, constructed as a pair of condominium buildings in 1941. Beginning on The Plaza close to Belvedere Avenue, the world is thick with Victorian homes and craftsman cottages, architectural wonders from bygone eras. Take a look at historian and Plaza resident Tom Hanchett’s historic/architectural walking tours for an in-depth take a look at these marvels. My favourite, at 1600 the Plaza, is a turreted Nineties Victorian that was hauled by mule practice to its current location in 1915.
Galleries: Head down The Plaza to “downtown” Plaza Midwood, an space centered on the intersection of The Plaza and Pecan Avenue. A few blocks east is The Mild Manufacturing unit, within the former cafeteria of the Midwood Elementary Faculty, constructed throughout the despair and now used as the house of Worldwide Home, Motion NC and different organizations. The Mild Manufacturing unit hosts images workshops and displays comparable to Joshua Galloway’s In Line of Sight exhibit, which consists of his photojournalism work throughout the protests ensuing from George Floyd’s killing in 2020.
If the stroll has made you hungry, seize a sandwich at Widespread Market – on the facet of the bodega is Mike Wirth’s mural honoring departed patron Jon-O – and sit at one of many Road Eats tables that line Thomas Avenue. Right here, you’re a stone’s throw from Plaza Midwood’s avenue artwork epicenter.
Murals: Within the parking zone on the nook of Thomas and Central Avenue is a portray I name “Plaza Midwood’s The place’s Waldo?” Scattered within the mural by Matt Moore and Matt Hooker are greater than a dozen references to the neighborhood, together with The Penguin, The Diamond, Lunchbox Data, in addition to designer and CLTCH present store co-owner Scott Weaver. In an adjoining lot is a mural depicting legendary NC drag queen Brandy Alexander, painted in 2016 by Nick Napoletano and the Matts (Hooker & Moore) in response to anti-transgender laws.
Head down the alley in direction of Gordon Road to see skeletal musicians jam within the briny deep as Odysseus sails previous the lethal sirens in artist Shurkin’s mural gracing the facet of Cosy Harbor. Throughout the alley, a grasshopper and a bumble bee alight on greenery in a mural on the facet of Sherwin-Williams paint retailer. As you come back to Thomas Avenue, you’ll discover on the facet of Pizza Peel, Niki Zarrabi’s mural of streaking, trailing flowers. I name it “Orchids on Acid.”
To your left is a seating plaza on Central, graced with a form of stunted obelisk. Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sire’s mosaic depicts a thriving tree of life on one facet and a mystic hand of energy on the opposite. It’s an excellent encapsulation of the neighborhood – tree-lined, and regardless of ongoing gentrification, artsy and endearingly unusual.
RYAN’S MIDWOOD RETAIL REVIEW
I’m removed from the kind to truly depart my home with the intention of “going procuring.” I’m not even certain the final time that occurred, however I do know the place I used to be headed when it did: Buffalo Change. The Central Avenue thrift retailer the place I used to purchase rattling close to every little thing I wore save for socks and underwear grew to become one of many first enterprise casualties of COVID-19 in Charlotte, however Plaza Midwood stays house to among the solely retail spots I hit recurrently across the metropolis.
E book Shopping for: With the closing of The Final Phrase on North Tryon Road in 2018, E book Consumers grew to become my go-to ebook store. Opened in 1999, E book Consumers is an OG on the block, with proprietor Richard Rathers overseeing an unlimited assortment of books, but additionally, Lee Rathers sells vegan merchandise from her retailer The Greener Apple, housed within the entrance of the store. Cute and furry kittens, rescued by Virginia O’Riley, scamper down the aisles in search of you to offer them a everlasting house.
Head Outlets: My beloved Buffalo Change was changed by L.A. Vapors final 12 months, and the workforce there instantly went to work turning the storefront right into a mirror picture of the Myrtle Seashore strip, however I favor to spend my cash at Charlotte CBD or Excessive Life Smoke Store, relying on what I’m in search of. Charlotte CBD is a boutique-style CBD store that primarily based its enterprise mannequin on among the West Coast’s finest dispensaries. Workers there aren’t simply salespeople, they’re consultants. Excessive Life is nice in your extra typical head-shop wants, from pipes to vape pens.
Items: Boris & Natasha have packed up and moved out of the neighborhood (are you beginning to see a theme right here?), however native designer, artist, occasion planner and all-around cool man Scott Weaver’s boutique store CLTCH retains the bizarre alive in Plaza Midwood. CLTCH is extra of a present store than a clothes retailer like B&N, however the vibes are related. Jewellery, equipment, perfumes, socks, playing cards, purses, artwork and extra, and all of it with that eccentric taste that simply is sensible whenever you meet Scott.
Music Tools: Okay, this entry isn’t essentially one among my common stops. In truth, I’ve not visited Gold Tone Workshop but, however I do know it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The guitar and amp repair shop was opened by Junior Astronomers bandmates Philip Wheeler and Colin Watts final fall, and serves as a pleasant, laid-back various to the extra high-end Midwood Guitar Studio. It’s an ideal enterprise to assist children and novices alike break into the music world, be it for shits and giggles or to pursue one thing deeper. That isn’t to say that you simply shouldn’t additionally go to Midwood Guitar Studio.
Footwear: I’m no sneakerhead, however I realized rather a lot in regards to the tradition whereas writing a canopy story that targeted on this unique sneaker boutique again in 2015. Since then, the addition of beSOCIAL, a collaborative cultivator for creatives situated behind the store, has made it an much more essential a part of the neighborhood, internet hosting important conversations and galvanizing connections throughout the inventive neighborhood.
JUSTIN’S PLAZA BAR CRAWLS
The choices to drink are plentiful in Plaza Midwood and Commonwealth, and the correct bar crawl can match into any themed evening you need to have within the neighborhood. Dive bars, cocktail bars, music venues and the like are scattered all through the neighborhood and I’ll stroll you thru how I favor to expertise all of them.
Cocktail Night time: Craft cocktail bars have popped up in neighborhoods throughout the town, however Plaza Midwood is house to one of many originals, Soul Gastrolounge. Soul is a good place to each begin and finish your evening of cocktails in Plaza. In case you are fortunate sufficient to seize a seat on the bar, you get entry to their extremely intelligible bar employees that can work off your favourite taste profiles and educate you on the spirits alongside the best way.
The subsequent cease is simple sufficient to search out since it’s simply on the backside of the steps from Soul. Tattoo, connected to KiKi Bistronome, is a quaint little cocktail bar with an eclectic serving type. You may get a drink that’s smoked by a golden pineapple. Take your drink as much as the rooftop patio to execute your people-watching expertise, head again downstairs and shut out your tab. We’re transferring on.
Now that you simply’ve established your fancy buzz, you’ll need to play some video games to take care of your focus. Cross the road on the intersection and head down Pecan Avenue and also you’ll come throughout Stroke, an indoor minigolf bar. It’s a mixture of nation membership and speakeasy aesthetic with an ideal drink menu. Pay to play a spherical, it’ll final you for 2 drinks. Tab out and let’s stroll over to the subsequent speakeasy type bar, Single Barrel Room, the place the ambiance of inexperienced velvet ceilings and matching upholstery makes for an ideal cocktail evening really feel.
Dive In: You’ll often discover me at a dive bar the place I can truly afford to bask in $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons. Widespread Market is all the time an excellent place to begin. You possibly can really feel out what sort of beer you might be consuming for the night whereas perusing the can coolers. Relax on the sticker-slapped patio with your mates and shoot the shit earlier than taking a protracted stroll over to Midwood Nation Membership to gamble on the pool tables and dart boards. Midwood Nation Membership hosts my favourite bar pool desk in all the metropolis.
For extra close-quarters motion you’ll head to the Thirsty Beaver Saloon. I’m not an enormous fan of this spot as a result of I don’t take pleasure in nation music and didn’t take pleasure in being as shut as potential to 50 different individuals even earlier than COVID existed, however I do take pleasure in ending off my blackout at this spot if that’s what sort of evening I’m working towards.
Considered one of my favourite night-cap dive bars is Thomas Road Tavern as a result of if I can prop my head up lengthy sufficient to take pleasure in it, watching then making an attempt a sport of ping pong on the out of doors tables could be fairly the delight. There are two hearth pits and oftentimes reside music enjoying on the stage inside.
Reside Music: What I miss most from the pre-COVID instances, and the place I’ll spend a majority of my time within the post-COVID world, are bars which have reside music enjoying each evening of the week. I begin out at Petra’s for no matter acoustic, jazz, spoken phrase, or full-band efficiency they’ve occurring. I often don’t take pleasure in paying covers as a result of I’m broke, however I all the time be ok with it when I’m supporting native musicians and proprietor Perry Fowler, a neighborhood musician himself.
After a set or two there, I head right down to Skylark Social Membership for a bit extra of an intense scene as they often have a hardcore or steel band enjoying. It’s an effective way to maintain your power up in the event you’re trying to keep out all evening.
Lastly, I finish my evening at Cosy Harbor. It doesn’t actually matter if I’m doing cocktails, dive bars or no matter, I all the time find yourself at Cosy Harbor. They hold the music going as late as 2 a.m. and you’ll by no means not have an expertise price speaking in regards to the subsequent day.
LEA’S PLAZA LUNCH PICKS
I moved to the Plaza Midwood neighborhood in June and since then, I’ve had greater than my fair proportion of days after I didn’t really feel like cooking. Simply my luck that I reside on a avenue flooded with choices from BBQ to sushi to ramen. Right here’s a fast take a look at locations to seize a chunk to eat whilst you’re in Plaza and my favourite menu objects from every.
Midwood Smokehouse: You possibly can’t beat the straightforward pleasures of meat that’s been smoked for hours till it virtually melts in your mouth. Paired with hush puppies, mac and cheese, and loaded fries, Midwood Smokehouse’s barbecue is unbeatable. This Plaza staple is situated at 1401 Central Avenue and open for inside eating or takeout through the handy little takeout window out entrance. Midwood Smokehouse is open to celebrities and common people alike on Sunday-Wednesday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday and Friday.
What To Order: Burnt Ends, caramelized cubes of brisket tossed in a cola-based barbecue sauce. $16.50/$21.50
The Diamond: I’m a sucker for diner meals, so naturally, I’ve been going to The Diamond since first attempting their meals in highschool. The menu is a hodgepodge of burgers, bar meals and Greek meals. I by no means get uninterested in the comfortable decor and pleasant waitstaff.
What To Order: Pig wings, deep-fried pork shanks rubbed with a cinnamon-chipotle seasoning served with a facet of house-made honey mustard. $10.95
Akahana: Identified for his or her buy-one-get-one sushi, provided each single day, Akahana’s menu is in depth and consists of choices for sushi lovers and skeptical first-timers.
What To Order: Lotus Blossom Roll with crab salad, and cream cheese topped with tuna, mango, mango sauce, and eel sauce. $15
Fuel Pizza: Most NY-style pizza joints lack gluten-free and vegan choices, or a minimum of any which might be price writing house about. Gas’s slices are equally unpretentious and scrumptious. Should you’ve walked down Central Avenue within the coronary heart of Plaza Midwood, it’s exhausting to withstand the urge of their buttery garlic knots and slices that, whereas they aren’t the most important within the metropolis, won’t ever depart you hungry.
What To Order: Cinnamon knots, contemporary dough that’s hand-tied and tossed in sugar. $7.99
Deli St: My roommate and I can virtually roll off the bed and find yourself proper outdoors the entrance door of Deli St., making it our go-to breakfast spot. We shuttle on the very best menu merchandise.
What To Order: Salmon particular, smoked salmon with cream cheese, capers, crimson onions and cucumbers on an every little thing bagel. $9.25
GRANT’S GREENWAYS AND BIKE-FRIENDLY HANGOUTS
Charlotte has applied a lot of enhancements to the town’s biking infrastructure lately and Plaza-Midwood has benefited from lots of them. Marked through numbered indicators with a crown and bicycle emblem, bike route 7 is a cyclist-friendly connector between the NoDa and Plaza Midwood neighborhoods that takes riders into the center of Plaza Midwood.
Route 7 intersects with Route 1 on the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Thomas Avenue. Route 1 could be picked up and brought to factors west, together with the bars and eating places at close by East 7th Road in addition to Independence Park, which gives a simple path to entry the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.
These established bicycle routes keep away from heavier trafficked areas by chopping by way of slower neighborhood streets whereas using protected lanes and devoted alerts for cyclists at busier intersections to supply the most secure journey potential between neighborhoods.
An ideal first cease for cyclists descending upon Plaza Midwood is the centrally situated Widespread Market, on the intersection of Commonwealth and Thomas avenues. Not solely is the eclectic bodega located on the intersection of bicycle routes 7 and 1 the place loads of bike parking and a everlasting self-repair bike station could be discovered, Widespread Market is a effectively established social meetup spot for cyclists and non-cyclists alike, the place loitering is inspired and appetites for beer, wine and meals through their deli could be satiated for an inexpensive worth. Widespread Market is really helpful as a really perfect assembly level for first-time guests to Plaza Midwood (in addition to established locals, however they already know).
A number of eating places and bars are accessible by bike or foot when you’re within the neighborhood, as has been lined in most of the earlier entries above. Pricing ranges from $5-$10 for a slice of pizza and a soda at Gas Pizza or espresso and lightweight meals faire at Undercurrent Espresso. For these with larger appetites and deeper pockets, larger finish eating choices are could be discovered at English-style pub The Workman’s Good friend and the newly opened Supperland, which affords Southern delicacies, all throughout the $15-$30 worth vary.
For the uninitiated or newly transplanted Charlottean, Plaza-Midwood is a perfect neighborhood to descend upon through bicycle with out a plan, discover, and simply discover food and drinks journey in addition to one of many best pure assets that the South is understood for: simple and pleasant social interactions with strangers.
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