My friend Bart is in town from Anchorage all week for a public bus conference. (He’s a city planner back in Anchorage, it’s really cool.) This means that, not only do I get to hear about Alaska and what everyone has been doing, but I get to show off Charlotte through a “welcome to my new city” perspective. I’ve been working hard over the past 8 (!!!) months to find loveable parts of the city to make the longing of the mountains and the insanely hot humidity seem not so bad.
Last night, we met for dinner at Brevard Court, while is probably my favourite place in all of Uptown. The narrow alley feel, the multi-cultural food, the languages I hear, the soccer fans I see celebrating: it all gives me a happy feeling and makes me like the city a little more each time I’m there.
We had delicious pizza from ZABlong, and noticed the sign for The Cotton Room hanging above Belfast Mill. I’d heard about The Cotton Room’s recent opening, and other than a reputation for craft cocktails I hadn’t heard anything else.
So Bart, being an awesome up-for-anything kind of guy agreed to grab a drink with me.
As we went up the narrow staircase to the bar, Bart made a comment along the lines of ‘this reminds me of heading up to a college bar’ and it definately does. The stairs split at the top and you can go left into The Cotton Room, or right into another pub that for sure has a college feel.
But The Cotton Room just felt awesome. Exposed wood, old farming tools hanging on the walls, comfortable seating all around with great music gently playing through the speakers. There were several people there, but not enough to make it feel crowded. At the bar, there was a girl who had randomly starting talking to another girl and were making the connection that they were both in the same sorority at different schools and seeing who they knew. There was a group of friends in a corner table, having good conversation over deliciously mixed cocktails.
My top three desires in a place to go drink are ample seating, good music that isn’t too loud so I can have a conversation, and great drinks. The Cotton Room had all three. Score!
We waited at the bar for the bartender to finish meticulously mixing some drinks for the people ahead of us. One person’s drink looked so good, I asked for it without really considering the ingredients. Good choice on my part, the Paloma was an amazing take on a margarita. Bart opted for the Kickin’ Mule – a fun twist on a Moscow Mule. The bartender carefully made each drink, using equipment that I’d only seen in fancy (expensive) bars. For the quality of the drinks, prices were incredibly reasonable with mine only costing $8. He used a straw to pull out a taste of each drink, checking to make sure it was perfect before handing them over to us.
We grabbed a table in the corner and chatted about Bart’s conference, about the vibe of the place, about how the hike on Crowder’s Mountain we went on earlier that evening was pretty exhausting.
One of the best features they have that I fell in love with and couldn’t stop raving about was the handbag hooks. They had hooks under the bar, hooks on the wall near seating, hooks up high for jackets. Hooks everywhere! As a woman, the worst thing about bars is trying to figure out where to put my handbag so it won’t be in the way or on the floor. Bravo for offering this easy solution!
You too can check out the Cotton Room at Belfast Mill. They’re located in Brevard Court above the Belfast Mill, and open at 5pm M-Th, and 4pm Fr – Sa. Tough luck if you’re looking for this cool vibe on a Sunday.