Thursday, December 07, 2006

Invasion of the yuppies

An article in the local section of today's Observer details how young, educated professionals between the ages of 25-34 are moving to Charlotte in droves. Apparently, a study released by the Metro Atlanta Chamber revealed that we are second behind Las Vegas for the largest increase of young and educated people from 1999-2000.
We didn't need a study to tell us that. Anyone who lives here knows Charlotte is a Mecca for yuppies. I'm more curious about how all of these young, educated professionals are changing our culture, especially our nightlife. When I was an intern here in the early '90s and a young reporter in the mid-'90s, Charlotte's nightlife had some edge to it. The places to hang out ranged from seedy and dangerous to dark and alternative. Park Elevator was the place to be if you liked dance music. The Pterodactyl was popular with the Goth crowd. When Mythos opened on Sixth Street in uptown, it was edgy, too, because it catered to gays, lesbians, straight, Goth and anyone who wasn't too scared to get outside of their box.
Today, our nightlife is polished, almost wholesome.
Park Elevator and Pterodactyl are gone. Mythos became the Forum, which is as mainstream as Jay-Z.
Most of the dance clubs and pubs are concentrated in uptown. Condos and office buildings are gobbling up property and giving the uptown a pristine sheen. All of the dance clubs are glam, except BAR Charlotte (thank goodness for their sticky floors and that tacky bull). The pubs feel so safe; I could bring my grandmother out to party. All of the sports bars feel the same. Every lounge that opens in either uptown or elsewhere wants to be the next Tutto Mondo, and every neighborhood bar wants to be Thomas Street Tavern. On top of all that, we're on track to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
Safety is good, but a little edge and a lot of diversity makes partying more interesting. Along with all the young professionals who make our economy grow, I hope the city can figure out a way to get more artists, musicians, authors and straight-up weirdoes such as Lil' Shiva, K.C. and the entire CarnEvil crew to funk this city up.
What do you think? Are all of the yuppies moving here making Charlotte's nightlife boring? Post your replies below.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been in Charlotte since 1998 and I've seen a few clubs open/close/reopen that have catered to "funky" crowds only to lose their venues to more polished crowds. The one thing that seems to be a constant is that the funky crowd usually re-establishes its prescence elsewhere and it rarely happens at the newer venues. You still have some clubs like the Milestone and some venues like the Visulite that are well-known and have historically cater to this crowd. But, a few weeks ago, I went to some kind of beer party at the McGill Rose Garden that was FULL of hipsters. You can probably find these groups in those type of places and NOT the Cans and/or the Forums that serve as the "face" of Charlotte nightlife.

Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with you on this one. I usually get all sorts of riled up at your posts but I truly think you're right on this one. I don't know if the problem is necessarily the yuppies moving to town or the availability of loads of capital for investment in bars and clubs, but I can say that you've hit the nail on the head as far as the newer places really sucking goes. I've lived in Charlotte all my life, and when I went off to college downtown was still a place that one would never dream of going to hang out. By the time I turned 21 Buckhead had opened and the new downtown bar scene had emerged. Once the novelty wore off it became clear though that the venues (and the people) downtown really sucked. Give me Providence Road Sundries, Moosehead, Press Box or (the improved) Angry Ale's any day over those places. At least they have a little character. Cans sucks. RiRa is overpriced. Etc, etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am a writer and a dog walker. So, I guess I don't fit the yuppie mold. I agree that this town is a Yuppie magnet. So many people have the same BMW and the same hairstyle as everyone else. I try not to let it get to me. I may be in the minority here but if I moved to a city like Asheville, I would be a conformist, so we are all followers to some extent. I would love for Charlotte to have more funkiness. I am not a bar guy but places I frequent to get my granola or hipster fix are: Common Market,Berrybrook Farm,Sunshine&Daydreams,Sleepy Poet, Bookbuyers Used Books and several other places I can't remember right now. The truth is Charlotte has an edgy side, it's just very camouflaged and hard to spot. There should be room for all, not just for the latest perky UNC grad with the brand new beemer from Daddy.

Anonymous said...

It's a phemoninon that happens over and over again. A new, hip freaky place opens and then gets discovered by the 'flavor of the month' yuppies. I bitched about it years ago and I'll bitch about it now. I'll take some out of town friends to the Uptown scene just to show them a good time, but when I'm with my friends locally, I'll stick to Tyber, Tremont and Thomas. Oh, and the Spot ain't half bad either.

Danimal

Anonymous said...

well, even in chicago the river north and loop clubs (i.e., the equivalent of 'uptown') are all really mainstream and kinda sucky. there are plenty of 'edgy' events here, you just have to be in the scene to know about them. i go out more here than i did in chicago (and not only b/c it's cheaper). new wave hookers, fit for use, bling on a budget -- all these people throw some crazy parties, as 'indie' and 'edgy' as anything you'd get at the empty bottle or the darkroom.

Anonymous said...

Good article, let's get more investment in catering to thugs, weirdo's, and lowlife's. I like where bars are headed and I'll party with my fellow yuppies over gangsters with gold "teef" and fubu anyday. Oh, and when I say "good article", I mean I have no idea why you would want such a thing in Charlotte. I see nothing wrong with ordinary, law-abiding, properly dressed, young professionals partying at respectable bars. Why do you?

Anonymous said...

The above poster exemplifies this town's problem,a close minded attitude that anything not whitebread and preppy is automatically "trashy" or "thuggish". Great cities have a wide variety of nightlife options for their diverse cultural groups. It may be hard for the above poster to grasp the reality that not everyone in Charlotte lives their lives imitating a J.Crew ad.

Anonymous said...

Poster 5:08,

Because part the benefits of living in a big city is having the option of exposure to the cutting edge and the next big thing. You are more than welcome to have your 'Biff and Muffy' frat bar with their overpriced drinks. You obviously have plenty of choices. But there's nothing wrong with the more creative element of the city having a place where they can get together too. A true city gets that.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Charlotte unique in the fact that we're not a "true city" in your terms. We have lots of investment, jobs, banks, and creation of wealth in the area, but stay true to the fact that we're a small town stuck in a big city. It's true that in any productive town you need thugs and weirdo's just as much as you need the respectable young professional. Hey, someone's got to do the low paying dirty work, but don't knock our bars or normal professional atmosphere. I'm just being honest and putting my opinion out there in opposition to the stance of the article. There's a reason most of the weird, or "unique" rather, bars and club scenes are underground. It's a simple case of them not being the norm. If you want Charlotte to become a New York City, I'll hold true to the lyrics of Hank Jr's "If Heaven ain't a lot like Dixie"


"Just send me to Hell, or New York City, it'd be about the same to me.."

-poster 5:08

Anonymous said...

Just because you have tattoos, piercings, or wear strange clothes doesn't make you unique, strange and beautiful. That comes from attitude. Some of the coolest, strangest people I've ever met are the ones without any decoration - in this day and age you are the minority who does not have all the physical billboards.

Same old tired cliches - yuppie this town may be, but I know that from talking and actually meeting the (yawn) bankers and such, not from glancing at their starched suits. And a few of them are actually interesting. The issue is the same almost everywhere I've partied - whether casual appearance or more intense - they all pre-judge by appearances, and think the other side "uncool".

Can we get some real substance instead of focusing on the style?

Anonymous said...

5:08, you have every right to go to any bar you want, especially one that suits your tastes. The point is, a 'true city'and its people don't get up in arms when so called 'thugs' and 'weirdos' have a place to call their own to gather in the community. If these 'thug' and 'weirdo' enclaves are such turnoffs, why are yuppies flocking in droves to Plaza-Midwood, Noda, and similar neighborhoods and paying top dollar to do so? There has to be some sort of attraction. A real city embraces its bohemian element as much as its clean cut wealthy one. Charlotte is still way behind on that matter.

Anonymous said...

Growing pains. That's all it is. I live uptown and like the changes I am seeing. I am not a Yuppie scum. I don't wear a suit to work. Hell, I don't even work uptown.
I agree you need cutting edge clubs. I too remember the clubs of the late 80's and early 90's. But I rather not have them in my backyard. All the glitz and glam they are trying to bring to Charlotte with the new condos, hotels, offices and generic bars is fine by me. It brings my property value up and I don't have to deal with some trashed 20 something pissing all over my car in the middle of the night. These edgy clubs usually bring a few problems with them. These are not the problems I want on my street. Leave them in NoDa, Plaza Midwood and such.
Anytime I talk to people who have just moved to Charlotte from up North all they do is rave about it. They love how clean it is. They love that uptown feels safer than their hometown cities.
What uptown really needs is more mid priced quality dining options and a few great music venues. House of Jazz is pretty good on some nights. But we could really use Blues House.
They could also use to rip up all the benches on Tryon. I never see anyone sitting on them besides bums. Or is that part of the edge you want to preserve ?

LaniLaKai said...

The nightlife department is definitely getting stale...There's more fun hanging with the hicks in downtown Matthews.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster that stated that it's what's inside that counts. I have tattoos under my dress shirt, but no piercings to speak of. I like all kinds of music, and all kinds of entertainment. I eat at Morton's and at the Penguin. I try not to be judgmental towards others, but I'm always dismayed by those in the self-anointed 'unique/diverse/alternative crowd that are so quick to call someone yuppie scum because they have a BMW and a decent job and like to dress preppy. Being unique has nothing to do with the color you do or don't dye your hair or the pseudonym you anoint yourself with. It has to do with what's inside. It's pathetic how many mundane, shallow people strive so hard to appear 'unique' and 'different' just so they can scoff at all the 'yuppie scum.'