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randomness, truth, and burritos

Charlotte Nightlife: Goodbye Dharma Lounge

So this last weekend I had my first, and obviously last excursion to Dharma Lounge in Uptown Charlotte. To be completely honest, no tears will be shed from the MB that it is closing down and I will be unable to return.

I should be fair and upfront in that Dharma lounge is not inherently a bad night club, it is simply a style of nightclub that I don’t connect with. There are probably many people who enjoy a place such as this… Though I probably wouldn’t connect with those people well either…

To start, Dharma lounge is well removed from the areas I normally frequent when heading Uptown (near Epicenter). It’s too close to warrant moving your car, but too far to be a comfortable walk. Your choices are either a 20+ minute hike, waiting for the light rail, or a $10 cab ride across town. We opted for the light rail.

Upon getting there we were greeted with a $20 cover charge for each guest. Now cover charges have always annoyed me. It’s like getting auto-tipped at restaurants. It says “Were guessing you’ll find our establishment to be crappy, so we’re going to skim you for $X before you can even see what the scene is like.” As a man, I’ve learned to live with cover charges. However, I still think $20 is excessive and pretentious, even for a closing party. This ties in with my next annoyance.

Being their last night, they were emptying the cooler and we’re out of nearly everything. I didn’t pay $20 to drink Mic Ultra and one overpriced Corona.

My last official complaint before I get to the good stuff was that the patio was unbearably smokey. I don’t normally mind a little cigarette smoke, but the minute I walked out there my eyes watered up. I didn’t even realize that many people still smoked in general. It made me think that ALL of Charlotte’s smokers turned up for this event. I’m not faulting Dharma Lounge for this, but it did make it difficult to get a breath of fresh air in the only part of the club where you could reasonably hear what your friend is saying

Now that that’s off my chest, let me highlight the good things. I absolutely loved the styling both inside and outside the club. It keeps with its namesake and has a very good far-eastern/new age motif. This gives the club a great character, and is likely very appealing to its clientele.

There is space to talk to your friends out on the patio if you can survive the smoke, and the dance floor is big enough to be comfortable for the crowd. The DJ was very good, but played an underground techno-dance music I don’t personally care for (it reminded me of vampire blood-rave music). I’m much more R&B and mainstream in my styling, but even I could tell the music was well done, even if it wasn’t for me.

I can’t say I’m torn up about seeing Dharma lounge go, but it wasn’t a bad place overall. It just appears to cater to a very specific crowd. A crowd that isn’t mine. A crowd ok with $20 covers and $6 Coronas. A crowd that smokes, and that buys too much clothing from Abercrombie and Fitch.

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