At the Intersection of BBQ, Beer, and Bouquets in North Carolina

Why Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood is worth a boozy detour

Alan Chazaro

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Bloom & Bottle’s bar is well stocked (Photo: Briana Chazaro)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly missed the art and magic of exploring the world. There’s just something inexplicably satisfying about being caught between your anticipation, your learning, and your discovery of what’s out there by stumbling into the unknown with a group of strangers.

It’s even better when that discovery involves world-famous barbecue, a wide selection of craft beers, and a variety of floral options — all in one place.

If you’ve never been to Charlotte, North Carolina, no one would blame you. Although it’s the 4th-fastest growing city in the United States, it’s located in that very missable part of the mid-Atlantic — somewhere north of Atlanta, east of The Capitol, and south of everything else. In your mind, it might resemble a small country town rather than the sprawling metropolis that it is quickly becoming.

I didn’t know much about Charlotte (or, North Carolina, for that matter) prior to my arrival, besides the Hornets, Panthers, J. Cole, DaBaby, Jamla, Michael Jordan, and NASCAR— which, admittedly, might be more than most know, now that I think about it. But, as with any city you dedicate yourself to, there are hidden beauties in bloom, in the least expected places.

An abandoned building in Belmont, a historic neighborhood (Photo: Briana Chazaro)

All of that is to say this: I never expected to be sitting inside a bar in Belmont, drinking regional beers, discussing ‘90s action movies, and picking out floral arrangements before grubbing on perhaps the best BBQ I’ve ever greased my California fingers with.

(Sidenote: this is my first time traveling for pleasure since early 2019, and things that might’ve seemed ordinary pre-COVID are now extraordinary to me; they might be for you, too.)

Let’s start where my evening did, at Bloom & Bottle. Owned by Scott, and co-run by Ben, the two Carolinans have created a (literally) beautiful space filled with artistic energy, good vibes, and of course, beer, wine, and flowers. The colorful walls are softened by the…

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Alan Chazaro

Bay Area writer, blogger, teacher. Books: Piñata Theory (2020); This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (2019). Twitter + IG: @alan_chazaro