As you probably know, dating in Charlotte is a challenge these days - and it certainly isn’t getting easier throughout the rest of the metropolitan area either. There are plenty of opportunities to find a partner with the sheer amount of attractive singles in Charlotte - the only question is how to go about doing it. Despite hundreds of thousands of singles, however, meeting new people and having successful dates has only become more competitive in the post-pandemic Charlotte dating scene.
Is there any good news if you’re single, or is just absolutely hopeless?
The truth is that if you’re reading this article, you’re already primed for success. With some effort, patience, and - above all - planning on your part, finding a date in Charlotte is substantially easier than in many other cities across the United States. The catch is that you just might need to leave the comforts of your neighborhood, and explore the vast expanse that is the Charlotte dating scene. We promise that after reading this guide, you will be surprised at your results!
The following in-depth guide will provide some of the most reliable recommendations on where to meet Charlotte singles, great date ideas to get you started, and some of our favorite date spots around Charlotte that set the scene for thousands of successful dates. Let’s begin!
Table of Contents
What Dating in Charlotte is Like Right Now
If we’re going to be completely upfront, the dating scene in Charlotte has always been a pretty uphill struggle - and the Covid-19 pandemic made things worse. Many young singles choose Charlotte for its proximity to great career opportunities and quality of life that’s above comparable cities throughout the United States. With many big businesses here like Bank of America, Atrium Health, and Duke Energy, new people are constantly moving to Charlotte for its opportunities.
What does this mean for dating in Charlotte? The reality is that Charlotte attracts quite a bit of diversity in the type of partners you can find here - a welcome relief from some of the more homogenous places in the South.
Looking at the vast number of singles out there right now in the Charlotte dating scene, you might be surprised. Currently, Charlotte has 138,000 single women and 130,000 single men, accounting for nearly 31% of the total population. There are PLENTY of singles out there!
Now, we know what you’re thinking: If there are so many singles out there, why am I single? Luckily, knowledge is power when it comes to meeting someone in the Charlotte dating scene.
Where to Meet Someone to Date in Charlotte
Just to be frank with our readers, it’s nearly impossible to compile a comprehensive list of the best places in Charlotte to find someone to date. Charlotte is a fairly large city with DOZENS of great spots spread across its downtown area and popular suburbs for singles. Plus, you should do some exploring and experimenting on your own to find out where you’re most comfortable.
Instead, I'll share some starting points that make it much simpler to meet Charlotte singles looking for romance (we have a comprehensive list of suggestions on where to find Charlotte hookups if you’re curious). These date spots tend to have the following criteria in common for finding serious relationships:
- Lots of available singles
- Fun atmosphere
- Clean and inviting ambiance
- Easy to mix and mingle with new people
- Quiet enough to have a normal conversation
- Serves alcohol
- Relatively inexpensive
In my honest opinion, these seven (7) characteristics form a useful guide when it comes to meeting up with other available Charlotte singles. Before we get into some specific recommendations, let's turn our attention to apps:
Why you should be using at least one app
If you're not on at least one app right now, then you're putting yourself at a disadvantage in Charlotte’s hyper-competitive dating scene. With all the social distancing and WFH (work from home), more people are using apps as their primary way to meet people!
Can you still find success without apps? Of course, you can, but it can be a real struggle if you have a busy life and value your free time enjoying the city.
For those who’ve struggled in the past when choosing which app works for you, check out our rankings of the best dating apps in Charlotte to find the best fit. From professional singles, religious singles, and singles looking for the most compatible option, there are a lot of options that have their own unique user base.
If you're too lazy to read the full article, generally speaking, these apps are the best first choice:
- eHarmony (try for free) is the best option for relationships, as eHarmony has the highest match rate of all dating apps in Charlotte
- AFF (try for free) - your best best for casual fun and exotics kinks in Charlotte
After recently evaluating dozens of dating sites and apps, it is pretty clear that we have a decent idea of what's working (and what’s not working) out in the “real” world. Check out our full rankings above to get you started on what’s a good choice in Charlotte.
Now, let's talk about our favorite spots around the city.
The best singles bars in Charlotte
Using the criteria above, BeyondAges has narrowed the best bars in Charlotte for singles to meet other singles. These bars are the best ones in our opinion, offering great drinks, a fun atmosphere, and plenty of chances to meet other singles.
- Thomas Street Tavern in Plaza Midwood - 1218 Thomas Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
- Small Bar in Greenville - 1000 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28206
- The Gin Mill - South End - 1423 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28203
- Thirsty Beaver Saloon in Plaza Midwood - 1225 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204
- Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in University City North - 9605 N Tryon St A, Charlotte, NC 28262
- JackBeagle's Noda in Noda - 3213 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
- Visit the Prohibition Bar in Charlotte Center City if you want to meet a Charlotte cougar - 200 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Feel free to try these bars in Charlotte - and don’t be afraid to scope them out during different days of the week or times of the day. (If you have any suggestions about the best singles bars in Charlotte, leave them in the comments below.)
A few other great places to find a date in Charlotte
Not a big fan of booze? You’re not alone. Bars can be a great place to meet other Charlotte singles, but there are still many other places that don’t focus on the booze so much.
Take a look at a few more options below that have helped men and women in Charlotte get to know each other:
- Crema Espresso Bar and Cafe in Dilworth - 1235 East Blvd B, Charlotte, NC 28203
- Queen City Grounds in the First Ward - 644 N Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Coco and the Director in the Third Ward - 100 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Crave Dessert Bar in the Fourth Ward - 500 W 5th St UNIT 120, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Babylon Hookah Lounge in the First Ward - 529 N College St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, or Trader Joe’s - Trust us, attractive singles shop upscale and organic!
- Meetup groups - There are tons of groups that are full of eager singles looking to share their interests, including music, tech, sports, and even singles mixers
- Again, apps and sites are a good option for just about anyone (check out the best dating sites in Charlotte here)
As with anything dating-related, being open-minded and excited to try new things gives you a serious competitive advantage over other singles. After all, if the tried-and-true actually worked as it did in the past, you wouldn’t be reading this very article. Last, don't take things too seriously - dating should be an adventure!
What about speed dating in Charlotte?
How do you feel about speed dating? Chances are it’s one aspect of modern dating you haven’t explored and can lead to some great results.
In all honesty, speed dating has become more and more popular ever since the beginning of the pandemic - especially for the newer types of virtual speed dating. Essentially, if you lead a busy life, have some spare cash (events usually cost about $40 - $80 to attend), and are tired of your results elsewhere, speed dating can be a very effective way to meet a number of singles in a short amount of time.
Most speed dating events in Charlotte follow the same pattern. First, you show up and go on a bunch of "mini-dates". These mini-dates usually take about 5 minutes where you chat and determine whether you have a connection with someone else. Once five minutes are up, the men usually get up and move to the next table where a woman is seated (virtual speed dating just has you switching to the next partner). This repeats until all of the partner combinations have been exhausted or the event’s time limit is reached.
The idea is that first impressions can be a good indicator if you can be compatible with another single. As the event progresses, you’ll make a list of the people you want to see again (and mark those you’d rather not see again). If both people want to see each other again, the speed dating organizer gives you the other match’s contact info to help you set up the next date.
Pretty simple, no? If this sounds like a fun and efficient way to meet new singles, the following are the best Charlotte speed dating groups worth checking out:
If you’ve read up to this point, all of the suggestions we’ve covered above should give you a great start for finding someone to date in Charlotte.
Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let's jump into how to have a great date!
Our Best Date Ideas in Charlotte - and Why They’re So Great
Once you've met someone that you're interested in, it is now time to plan a great date to get to know them better. Many people default to the typical “dinner and a movie” date - and we’re here to tell you that that’s a big mistake!
Dinner dates tend to be awkward for new people, as you’ll spend half your time asking questions that feel more like a job interview while waiting for your food to be served.
Instead, we have a few ground rules that all of our date ideas generally follow below. Use these as a benchmark to come up with some new ideas for yourself - or at least avoid boring dates that lower your chances of actually finding love. That being said, a great date idea tends to be one that:
- Has a fun and upbeat energy
- Things are going on around you that you can talk about
- Doesn't involve you sitting face-to-face for long periods of time
- Has you both moving around a bit
- Isn't too expensive
- Doesn't last for hours and hours so you can cut it short if there isn't any chemistry
- Allows both of you to feel comfortable
- Has a little friendly competition
Another pro tip: It helps to have an idea of what your date is into beforehand or show some familiarity with what the main focus of your date will be. For example, if you’re studying architecture at a university and there’s a great walk between bars, you can impress your date and show off your knowledge.
Even for activities that you’ve both never experienced but want to try, it’s best to keep an open mind and do things that would create a memorable experience that you both share (even if it goes poorly). To get you started, here are a few dating ideas in Charlotte for you to try.
- Go rollerskating or ice skating
- Take a fun dance class together
- Learning how to shoot a bow and arrow at an archery range
- Go to the driving range to test your golf swing
- Hit up the zoo or wildlife refuge
- Check out a street fair (Charlotte has plenty)
- Stroll through a farmer’s market
- Axe throwing
- Show off your skills at an escape room
- Take a walk with your dog(s) somewhere fun (if either of you has one)
- Painting class (preferably with some adult beverages)
- Get lost in the wonder of some museums
- Explore a botanical garden
This is just a short list of possible activities in Charlotte, so use your creativity when it comes to what you and your date might be into. All of these activities are geared toward having fun and are all pretty easy to do. And as a pro tip beforehand, always set the expectation beforehand that you’re looking to have fun (sore losers and gloating winners are big red flags for long-term relationships).
The first date idea that we always recommend
The ideas above can be great first dates but we have a better idea. When people ask our team what the best first date in Charlotte is we always tell them the same thing, meet up at a laid-back lounge or coffee shop and get to know each other a bit.
A full-blown date is a lot of pressure and isn't cheap. It takes time to plan and might involve you taking a bus around town to get there. Before you make that kind of investment you want to know that you and your interest have at least some level of compatibility. The last thing you want is to get stuck for hours on a date that you knew 10 minutes in wasn't going anywhere.
Instead, tell them that you're really busy but would love to meet up for a drink to get to know each other a bit. If things go well you can always extend the date into one of the activities above. If it doesn't, you haven't lost much. This also takes a lot of pressure off both of you so you can both relax and be yourselves.
Best Date Bars in Charlotte (Especially for Fun First Dates)
Going out to bars is a great way for people to drop their inhibitions and just chill, so it’s only natural that you’d want to find bars most conducive to having a successful date (especially first dates).
Finding a great date bar in and around Charlotte is pretty easy when you consider how many options you have to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a fun arcade-style bar or a rooftop bar with a great view, Charlotte has an abundance of great settings for your next date.
To help you find these bars, let’s look at a mix of bars that have great drink specials, feature a fun crowd, and won’t put a dent in your wallet:
- Super Abari Game Bar in Optimist Park - 1015 Seigle Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
- Mooney's Lounge in Druid Hills South - 2525 N Graham St, Charlotte, NC 28206
- Taboo Lounge & Hookah Bar in Third Ward - 710 W Trade St h, Charlotte, NC 28202
- BackStage Lounge at SouthBound in Dillworth - 2433 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
- 321 Bar & Lounge in Belmont - 321 N Caldwell St #100, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Connolly's On Fifth in the Fourth Ward - 115 E 5th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Pub At Gateway in the Third Ward - 710 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Heist Brewery and Barrel Arts in Druid Hills South - 1030 Woodward Ave, Charlotte, NC 28206
This is a great starter list to help you set the scene for a memorable date. Remember, each neighborhood in Charlotte has its own share of hidden gems and popular hangouts. Don’t be afraid to hit up another venue or neighborhood if the vibe isn’t right for the date.
Best Date Night Restaurants in Charlotte that Should Be Your First Choice
When it comes to the first few dates, we recommend steering clear of the traditional dinner date until you know your date well enough. Going out for dinner dates tend to be awkward and can actually be a real obstacle to establishing a real connection with an unfamiliar person. Plus, you're locked in a face-to-face conversation for two hours that’s interrupted by chewing food, sipping drinks, and determining who’s picking up the tab- plenty of opportunity for something to go awry!
On the other hand, if you’ve established some rapport with your date or just want a date night restaurant in Charlotte to grab a quick bite before having fun, we've got some solid choices in the city for you that won't lighten your wallet. After all, there are plenty of expensive restaurants that are easy enough to find on your own!
That being said, let’s look at date night restaurants in Charlotte that offer delicious food and the perfect backdrop to share each other’s company:
- Alexander Michael's in the Fourth Ward - 401 W 9th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- dish in Plaza Midwood - 1220 Thomas Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
- Open Kitchen in Wesley Heights - 1318 W Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28208
- 300 East in South End - 300 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
- Showmars in Ashley Park - 2601 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
- Niko’s Grill in Capitol Drive - 4948 Airport Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28208
- Haberdish in Noda - 3106 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
- The Degenerate in Villa Heights - 2116 N Davidson St Suite A, Charlotte, NC 28205
More Date Spots in Charlotte We Love
When it comes to dating, the best way to build rapport and create memories with your date is to take advantage of what Charlotte has to offer beyond just delicious drinks and yummy food. Plenty of people have great dates in some non-food-related spots and we're sure you’ll have the same experience.
Bear in mind that the time of year will make a difference with some of these recommendations (being outside for hours in the brutal summer heat doesn't always make for a great date), so choose wisely!
- Go ice skating at U.S. National Whitewater Center
- Watch the Panthers play at Bank of America Stadium
- The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and The Mint Museum offer day and night events for adults
- Check out some fascinating birds of prey at The Raptor Center
- Try a group dance lesson together at Midtown Ballroom
- Shoot some targets together at Blackstone Shooting Sports
- Stroll through vendor booths at the many art fairs throughout Charlotte
- Shop for fresh groceries and taste homemade food at one of Charlotte’s Farmers Markets
- Solve a puzzle at No-Da Escapes
- Catch live music, ballet, and more at Petra’s