There seems to be a formula when it comes to dining with a view in Uptown Charlotte: Place your restaurant atop a new hotel. Have both indoor and outdoor areas—and the ability to open up into one open-air space. Add firepits and cocktails. Host a DJ on weekend nights. Now, just wait for the city’s trendiest to line up and pile in.
Nuvole 22, the newest addition to this scene, didn’t have to wait long. As soon as the luxe restaurant opened on the 22nd floor of the new AC Hotel, its outdoor lounge seating and oversized bar drew crowds. From those grabbing a drink and bite before a concert at Spectrum Center across the street to hotel guests seeking to unwind with a glass of wine and local cheese tray, Nuvole was an instant favorite.
Step inside and it’s easy to see why. Nuvole’s panoramic views rival any in town. Its main dining area and bar face east, with wide open views toward the Elizabeth neighborhood. But its most striking scenery can be found in its expansive outdoor area. Because the restaurant is only a few blocks from the intersection of Trade and Tryon, this up-close view of the city’s skyscrapers is dazzling after dark.
For this view, you’ll want to snag one of the sleek lounge seats beneath the twinkling string lights on the deck. On especially cool evenings, Nuvole offers fuzzy faux-fur blankets for guests, perfect for snuggling under with one of their popular James Jack cocktails ($14). Made with bourbon, Amaro, lemon juice, and honey syrup, the potent cocktail is perfect for warming up on a chilly winter night.
“We took a risk creating more adventurous drinks,” says Katherine Bradley, the hotel’s director of food and beverage, pointing out other popular drinks like Golden Hour ($14), Nuvole’s take on a spicy margarita featuring mezcal and jalapeño. “We’re excited to turn people on to these flavor profiles.”
Nuvole’s menu, which is filled with small, shareable dishes, is designed for snacks alongside those cocktails. “We have elevated bar food,” says Bradley. “We’re the place you come at the start or the end of the evening. We have a lot of people coming before dinner or after a show.”
Start your evening with adventurous bites like the bison tartare ($15), featuring Yukon potato chips and mustard aioli. Dishes like the lobster club sliders ($18), topped with smoked bacon, and the prime beef sliders ($16) with housemade pickles and spicy mayo are made for sharing—but you’ll want them for yourself. For a more shareable option, try the Uptown Platter ($24), an oversized wooden board filled with charcuterie, artisan cheeses, and pickled vegetables.
Perhaps the best time for Nuvole, though, is later in the night, when those who have been at EpiCentre below or at a performance at the nearby Blumenthal or Spectrum Center stop in for a sip and something sweet. Nuvole has a partnership with Amelie’s French Bakery and features a rotating selection of the popular bakery’s macarons ($9) in exclusive flavors such as Kahlua and milk chocolate. These decadent bites—paired with Nuvole’s gorgeous views—offer the ultimate sweet ending to an evening in Uptown. www.nuvole22.com
Photos courtesy of Nuvole