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.