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Set Your Mug on the Ice Rail at VBGB

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

"Bacon can't solve all our problems," proclaims the VBGB website, "That's what beer is for." Opened in 2012 and already the winner of many awards, this Charlotte beer hall and garden/restaurant is the first of its kind in the area. For those who don't know, a beer garden comes from the German "biergarten" and is an outdoor/indoor area where beer and food are served on large communal tables.

If communal tables and talk, fabulous food, and the swilling of good beer aren't enough to get you out and about, the lively entertainment might. Trivia night, complete with prizes for the winners, and an adjacent sand volleyball pit - run by SportsLink - ace the fun.

Owner Tom Taddeo explains that the inspiration for the club came from the beer gardens up north: "When we left Manhattan and bought a home in Charlotte, we came down for the closing and wanted to go out and have a simple drink in celebration, so we googled 'beer garden in Charlotte', since they were such cool places to hang out in New York City, and it didn't come up. I said to Kara 'We should open a beer garden in Charlotte. How often can you be the first at anything?' Two years later, we opened VBGB."

VBGB's location is great for business. Located just feet from The Fillmore and sharing a parking lot with Uptown Amphitheater at the NC Music Factory, people come to party before and/or after a show or game. Convenience doesn't come any closer.

The beers change nightly and feature dozens of mostly local and regional breweries, so you never know what will be on tap or can on any given day. Beer from Charlotte breweries, such as The Olde Mecklenburg, NoDa, Birdsong, Triple C, and Lennyboy may all be served. Mugs stay cold, even on warm summer days, when you sit at the "frost rail" a 5-inch wide section of frost running along a 74ft U-shaped bar. How cool is that?

But what's it being served with? Offering food for Friday lunch and special events, pair your beer of choice with an Angus beef or black bean burger; nitrate- and MSG-free Zweigle's brats direct from Rochester, New York; pulled chicken sandwich; and even quinoa salad and edamame with kosher salt.

But the hands-down favorite VBGB menu item is the jumbo gourmet pretzel. "We shopped lots of pretzels and found a great one," describes owner Kara Taddeo. The pretzel gets chargrilled rather than baked, lightly coated with butter to make the salt stick and eaten with the accompanying housemade beer cheese the same amazing beer cheese that tops their nachos. "Of the thousands of reviews of our pretzel," says Taddeo, "most say it's the best they've ever had! We are very proud of that."

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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