Joe Lariscy knows he has to be careful not to call his new venture “adult entertainment.” “That could be taken the wrong way,” he says, laughing. In fact, Queen Park Social is an adult playground — where the owners encourage you to come and “eat, drink and be social.”
The new kid on an already fun-filled block in South End, Queen Park Social, dubbed a “boutique entertainment house,” combines a bar atmosphere with games for adults and aims to be “a place that stresses social interaction over social media.” Their belief? That “the best conversations happen around a table surrounded by friends, not on a cellphone.”
But if you don’t feel like talking, you still don’t need a cell phone to keep you busy at this place.
Queen Park Social offers everything from bowling to Skee-Ball and shuffleboard and is perfectly situated in between Olde Meck and Sugar Creek Brewing Company, and Joe says that’s what makes it so perfect.
Joe is originally from Athens, Georgia (SEC alert: the owners are three friends — and all are Georgia Bulldogs), but he spent some time working in finance in New York before moving to Charlotte to help open the new hot hangout in town. It was there in the Big Apple that inspiration struck.
“I lived in New York for eight years right out of college, and one of my favorite places there was Brooklyn Bowl and it’s right next to Brooklyn Brewery. I saw how complementary those places were, and then seeing that we’re next to the biggest brewery in Charlotte, it just seemed like this was the perfect neighborhood and we’d be a nice addition to it.”
The three friends bought the real estate back in 2015 and spent the last few years fine tuning the concept and bringing it to life.
“We started looking for space two years ago after seeing an opportunity in Charlotte – there’s nothing like this here and the South End is the fastest growing residential submarket in the country.”
That means it’s also one of the hottest places to spend a night out on the town.
Despite the fact that Queen Park Social is enormous, the space has been packed every weekend since opening almost three months ago.
Casey Wilson, an event planner in town, was looking for the perfect place to celebrate a few big birthdays and brought a big group there for the night a few weekends ago.
“My husband and I have the same birthday and we needed a fun, casual place where we could celebrate with our friends. Queen Park Social had the perfect relaxed atmosphere that we were looking for. The staff was friendly, the games were fun and the drinks were good too!”
The focal point of Queen Park Social is actually its massive, Vegas-style horseshoe bar, but most people come here to try their hand at a game or two (or three.)
Yes, there are signature craft cocktails. (We love the Pretty in Pink – and not just because it’s named after the Molly Ringwald classic. With champagne and pomegranate it’s the perfect summer cocktail.) There are also 24 beers on tap and an extensive food menu, but the 18,000-square-foot space also fills up with friends trying their hand at old school board games, ping pong and more.
Summer is also patio-hopping season, so Queen Park Social visitors love finding out that there are not one, but two places with outdoor seating to enjoy.
Friday and Saturday nights tend to fill up fast with a mix of 20- and 30-somethings, but Joe says, “We really get a nice mix of young professionals, adults and families every weekend.”
They’re still working through a weekday game plan. “Business has been good on the weekends. We don’t open until 4 p.m., but we have the flexibility to open earlier, and we have so much space that we’re working on getting events booked here. We have space for 650 or more inside and then another 150 outside, so we’d love to get more people in here during the week and during the day.”
That shouldn’t be too hard, considering this is the ultimate adult … uh, playground.
Queen Park Social is located at 4125 Yancey Road, Charlotte, NC 28217. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Learn more at (980) 819-5626.
All images courtesy of Queen Park Social.
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