When Erin Dunn moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2015, it was the fifth city she had moved to in the past four years. Because she never stayed in one place for too long, Erin always had trouble making friends. Charlotte was different, however. She was going to be there for the long haul, so she wanted to find ways to connect with her fellow residents.
“I really had to step out of my comfort zone,” Erin wrote in an article for CharlotteAgenda.com. Her first step was to join a Meetup group for young professionals, attending weekly meetings and monthly dinners at restaurants across the city. Then it started to snowball. From cooking classes to book clubs to fitness teams and church functions, Erin was putting herself out there in every way possible, and she loved it.
For those of you who, like Erin, are struggling to meet people in Charlotte, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to help you Charlotteans come together for friendship, dates, relationships, and pretty much every other form of companionship.
Charlotte Dating Sites
I was a little too young for online dating when it first came out in the ‘90s, but I remember older family members and friends talking about it in almost a hushed tone. Meeting someone online was a silly premise to a lot of people — they thought only those who were really desperate would sign up for a dating site. But now over 49 million people have tried it, and 59% say it’s a good way to connect with someone. With almost 8,000 dating sites in the world, it can be a daunting task to pick one that best fits your needs. But that’s what we’re here for. Here are our five favorites:
Best Singles Site
Most of us have seen the Match.com commercials, know people who’ve tried the site, or read the studies it conducts. Match is the biggest name in online dating — not to mention the largest. Over 30 million singles are active on the site, and it’s responsible for more romantic connections (first and second dates, relationships, and marriages) than any of its competitors.
Best Site for Professionals
Elite Singles is like the Einstein of online dating. More than 80% of singles on the site have earned at least one degree from a higher education institution (e.g., bachelor’s, master’s, and/or doctorate). Mature men and women who are ready to settle down are also drawn to the site — 90% are 30 years old or over, and 100% want marriage or a long-term relationship.
Elite Singles is the premier dating site for educated professionals. Most members are upper-income with college degrees, and its impressive Fraud Detection system ensures no-nonsense dating. Full Review »
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
Over 50 & Senior Site
An older family member of mine dated a younger man when she was in her 20s, but she didn’t have the best experience because there were just too many differences. Today, she sticks with men within her age range because they relate to her more and are at similar stages in life. For singles over 50 who feel the same way, OurTime is your best bet. The site was made just for this age group, and it has one of the smoothest online dating processes around.
For Black Men & Women Only
Approximately, 34.1% of Charlotte’s population identifies as black, and 2.3% identify as biracial, according to City Data. With more than 842,000 people living in “the Queen City,” it can be difficult for black and biracial singles to meet, especially if they’re interested in dating someone within the same race. BlackPeopleMeet.com solves that problem, with more than 1.4 million monthly users, free registration, profile creation, and browsing, and numerous success stories.
Hookup & Sex Site
Love isn’t everyone’s end goal, but they still deserve to get what and who they want out of life. That’s Adult Friend Finder’s mission — to help frisky singles and couples find the sexual encounter of their dreams. About 77 million people of various ages and from all over Charlotte, North Carolina, the US, and the world have created an account. If you want to join them, it only takes a couple of seconds of your time. Plus, you won’t have to spend a penny to do so.
Popular Dating Apps
There’s an app for everything these days (the Brostache, anyone?), but dating apps paved the way in the early 2000s. In this section, we want to highlight three that truly stand out from the crowd: Zoosk, Match, and Elite Singles. They’re all free to download, they all have millions of members, and they’re all successful in their matching.
Zoosk is the number one app for finding dates, and if you sync up your Google+ or Facebook account, you can have a profile in seconds. The app has 38 million members and will deliver matches to your inbox on a daily basis based on your behavior such as who you search for, like or don't like, and message. The Carousel is another section for matching (tap the heart if it's a yes and the X if it's a no).
|Gender Ratio||M: 48% | F: 52%*|
|Available On||iOS, Android|
Available via the App Store and Google Play, Match is a fantastic app for dates and relationships. With a user base of 30 million singles, Match is where you'll have a high chance of success. It's free to download, create a profile, search for and receive matches around the corner and across the world, find missed connections, "like" people, as well as send and receive winks.
|Gender Ratio||M: 49% | F: 51%*|
|Available On||iOS, Android|
Commitment-minded, professional daters will feel at home with Elite Singles, which can be downloaded for free in the App Store or Google Play. Not only is everyone looking for a long-term partner, but 80% of members hold a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree. Elite Singles sees 210,000 visitors and 2,500 users finding love every month, so it's one of the fastest growing and most reputable apps.
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
|Available On||iOS, Android|
Charlotte Singles Bars
If you’ve ever received a drink from someone at a bar, you know how it can make you feel special. Or if you’ve ever bought a drink at a bar for someone who caught your eye, you know how it can make you feel empowered. It’s a flirting technique that’s been around for centuries. In terms of singles bars, Charlotte is the land of plenty, but we decided to focus on seven that are particularly beloved by locals and visitors alike.
1The Thirsty Beaver
With a name like the Thirsty Beaver, this Charlotte bar is already starting off on the right foot. Fans of classic country, like Merle Haggard, PBR tallboys, and pool will love this dive bar. The Thirsty Beaver isn’t pretentious at all — you won’t find any draft beers or specialty liquors here. Nikki W. says it all: “This may be the best dive in Charlotte. Inside you'll find a juke box, country music, PBR, delicious Bloody Marys, and a ton of regulars.”
2Hattie's Tap & Tavern
Located between the Plaza Midwood and Noda neighborhoods, Hattie’s Tap & Tavern may ask you to “mind your Ps & Qs,” but the atmosphere is super relaxed. This bar has a ton of craft beers and is dog friendly, and the patrons love the covered outdoor patio where they can play cornhole and giant Jenga. On the menu, you’ll find blondes, stouts, sours, IPAs, ciders, and so many other beer styles. Also, keep an eye on Hattie’s events calendar for the best nights to meet people.
Run by Bob and Scotty Whitman, Smokey Joe’s Cafe is considered a Charlotte favorite — with pool, ping pong, live shows (performed by folks like Vince McKinley, Shana Blake and Friends, and Brangle), tasty beverages, and good people. The bar serves up Jameson, PBR, and the like, and, on special occasions, the kitchen serves up hot dogs, goulash, pasta, and, of course, barbecue.
4Thomas Street Tavern
Founded in 1998, Thomas Street Tavern is a beloved Charlotte sports bar that can be found on Thomas Avenue. It offers affordable lunches (e.g., build your own burger), impressive dinners (e.g., Grady’s Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli), free musical performances (e.g., Tiny City), and amazing drinks (e.g., local and national wines, champagnes, and beers on tap). With a 4-star rating on Yelp, Thomas Street Tavern is definitely worth giving a try.
5The K Lounge
For a fancy experience, we’d recommend the K Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton — which, according to the website, “presents a sophisticated escape to downtown Charlotte’s nightlife. Interactive beverage options, internationally-inspired tapas, and sleek décor inspire an ambiance of relaxation and conversation.” Menu options include Tuna Tartare, Peruvian Crispy Pork Belly Sandwich, Highland Gaelic Ale, Caposaldo Prosecco, Cucumber Gimlet, and 25-Year Single Malt Scotch.
6Essex Bar & Bistro
Essex Bar & Bistro is 50% craft cocktail bar, 50% gastropub, and 100% meeting place. The team, made up of Chef Michael Curtis and experienced mixologists, always puts the customers first, making sure the atmosphere and ingredients are the best of the best. In terms of the menus, what made our mouths water was the Essex Gingerberry, OMB Copper Amber, 2015 OPN Pinot Noir, Korean Steak & Eggs, Warm Brussel Sprout Caesar, Beef Carpaccio, and Lemon Molten Cake.
7Dogwood Southern Table & Bar
Dogwood Southern Table & Bar's motto is "regionally inspired, locally produced," and it's focused on providing "elevated Southern cuisine." Dogwood is open Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to close, and it's owned and operated by Charlotte locals Jon and Kim Dressler. The nearly endless menu features dozens of draft, bottled, and canned beers, national and international wines, unique spirits, and delectable appetizers, meals, and desserts.
Charlotte Speed Dating
Speed dating is kind of like a buffet. At a restaurant, you have dozens of dishes to try, and, at a speed dating event, you have dozens of people (with all kinds of personalities, lifestyles, and cultures) to get to know. For Charlotte singles, check out Pre-Dating.com, which hosts weekly events that consist of one-on-one, three- to 10-minute-long mini dates in your area. How efficient is that?!
Charlotte Singles Events
A friend of mine once went to an arcade/bar on a first date, and she said it was one of the most fun and least awkward first dates she’s ever had. She said the big difference was that they were playing games, not just staring at one another trying to come up with something to say. This made it easy to break the ice and have a continuous conversation, and it was cute to pick on each other a little bit for losing at Mortal Kombat or skeeball or whatever the game was. Singles events are similar to my friend’s first date — except they’re done in large groups and have all sorts of activities to choose from.
Charlotte Singles Clubs
When we’re at a club and we’re really into the music and maybe even have a drink in our hand, we feel like the best dancer in the world — no matter what our actual skill level is. It gives us a confidence that we might not normally have — a confidence to approach sexy strangers, flirt with them, and ask for their number (or invite them home, depending on how the night goes). Charlotte has a lot of amazing clubs where you can get lost in the music… and someone’s eyes.
Charlotte Chat Rooms
If you’re shy and want to dip your toes in the flirting waters before making in-person moves at a bar, club, or speed dating or singles event, chat rooms are the place to do that. Not only can a Charlotte-specific chat room allow you to more easily be yourself, but it can also allow you to talk with people online who you can then meet in real life when you’re ready.
Ever since the internet was invented, physical newspapers have become less and less of a necessity. Why would we go buy a paper or have it delivered when we can read articles, find the latest sports scores, and/or post personal ads online? Not to mention the recycling we’d need to do when we’re done. Personals aren’t just limited to online publications, though. You can also post them on dating sites, and most of them have pages just for Charlotte singles to mingle. Here are five you might want to try:
Join Religious or Spiritual Groups
More than half the people in Charlotte consider themselves to be religious. If you’re one of them, consider joining a religious or spiritual group (or upping your participation if you’re already involved in a group). If you start to take things to the next level with someone in your group, you know that it’s a good match because you two already have similar beliefs and values.
Some of the most popular religious and spiritual centers and organizations in Charlotte include the Victory Christian Center, the Gate Charlotte, the Spiritual Light Center, the Charlotte Spirituality Center, and Unity of Charlotte.
Sign Up for a Sports League
I remember how easy it was to meet people when I was younger playing T-ball, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. It can still be that way even as adults. Charlotte is a sports-loving city and has leagues for flag football, kickball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and anything else you could think of. Typically, the registration fees are about $55, and that includes around seven regular-season games, depending on the club and the sport.
What’s more fun than working up a sweat and playing a friendly game with a bunch of like-minded people? Plus, the post-game talk usually turns into a happy hour at a local bar (which we’ve told you about above), so you guys can get to know each other even more.
Charlotte Singles, It’s Your Move Now!
Today, Erin has a good core group of friends as well as acquaintances for every activity she participates in, and she credits that to being bold. She didn’t wait for people to find her — she went and found them. And that’s the advice Erin, and our experts, want to impart on you. If you want to make a change in your life, especially your love life, the first step is to do something about it. We’ve given you 10 ways to do that, so get cracking!
Photo sources: eventful.com, charlottemagazine.com, bandsintown.com, cityseeker.com, charlotteagenda.com, charlotte30andover.com, bizjournals.com, groupon.com, dateinadash.com, singlesinthecity.com.au, rantnow.com, slcofcharlotte.org, usftl.com