Bring your dancing shoes or earplugs if you plan a night out during the Democratic National Convention. Most drinking establishments seem to go in for music in a big way in Uptown Charlotte.
From the historic Excelsior Club, where greats Nat King Cole and James Brown played when clubs used to be segregated, to the newer bars that cater to microbrews and thumb their noses at the fact that North Carolina was an early adopter of Prohibition in 1908.
Here's where delegates can wet their overused whistles:
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery: This place opened since I was last in town (which is in Mecklenburg County), so I called friends at the Charlotte Rugby Club who gave the brews here top billing. Sample some of its fine Altbier (beer brewed to the old style) on your way in from the airport. If you can't make it out to the brewery, which is about a 10-minute cab ride, many of the Uptown locations have its beers available. 215 Southside Driver, Charlotte; 704-525-5644; oldemeckbrew.com
Connolly's On Fifth: What is any town without a pub with an Irish twist? Lost, I'd say. Namesake James Connolly was actually born in Scotland. He was the founder of the Socialist Labour Party in Ireland. Fox News will surely have some spies here to see if President Barack Obama hangs out with these sorts, but it is a fun, local place to sit back and let those tired convention dogs have a rest. They do not waste their time or space with a kitchen, but you can bring a bite as long as you're willing to share. 115 E. 5th St.; 704-358-9070; connollysirishpub.com
Alexander Michaels: My favorite place in Charlotte is also known as Al Mikes. A great Reuben sandwich brings me back, but the crawfish burrito is next on my list, as will be an OMB brew. The building dates to 1897. When Al Mikes opened in 1983, it did the green thing and used some beautiful recycled solid oak doors from a local building being torn down, and it restored a beer cooler from the 1920s. It prides itself in keeping the menu pretty much the same since opening. It also buys fresh from local farmers when possible. 401 W. 9th St.; 704-332-6789; almikestavern.com
VBGB: Better than saying "very big German beer" every time you need to hoist a stein. Only the freshest of beers are served here on tap — no bottles. The huge patio and communal tables can hold a very large group. The menu is wunderbar and provides for some great pairings. Frost rails along the bar help keep your beer cold. In September, get a start on your Octoberfest and German drinking songs. Line your stomach with some grease before you get too far into the list of 30 liquid delights. Closed Mondays. 920 Hamilton St., a 5-minute taxi ride from Uptown; 704-333-4111; vbgbuptown.com
Courtyard Hooligans: For soccer, football and rugby matches, come here for your sports fix. It has an above-average selection of imports and domestic craft beers. 140 Brevard Court; 704-376-2238; courtyardhooligans.com
The Dunhill Hotel: If you need to drink in a more public, centrally located, well-illuminated place, the full-service lobby bar would be it. The Harvest Moon Grille is attached and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 235 N. Tyron St.; 704-342-1193; dunhillhotel.comCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun