Charlotte, the bluest city in purple North Carolina, is rolling out the red carpet as the official host city for the upcoming Republican National Convention in 2020.


Here’s a preview of prominent meeting, entertainment and party venues; where to eat, drink and stay; and some tips on navigating what will likely be the most security-conscious convention ever.

Dining, Libations & Accommodations

Charlotte’s culinary & cocktail scene is taking off, building on what DNC-Convention goers found in 2012. With one of the nation’s premier culinary institutions, Johnson & Wales University, flagship campus here in the QC and some of the country’s most recognized mixologists, brew masters and culinarians calling Charlotte home, no one visiting Charlotte leaves unsatisfied on the foodie front. Here are just a few top tastes:

• Mert’s Heart & Soul Southern soul is what Mert’s is all about. This is the real deal with comforting mainstays like mac n cheese, collards, fried chicken and the tallest pies and cakes for miles.

Fin & Fino Newcomer Fin & Fino is already making a splash with custom in-house shrubs and hand-squeezed juices fueling their specialty cocktails and a huge daily selection of briny mollusks from the Atlantic & Pacific, perfectly prepared fish, and top drawer service.

Sea Level NC So serious are these guys about oysters, they worked with coastal Carolina oyster farmers to develop their own proprietary bi-valve. Find it along with more than a dozen daily selections, great chowders and the best lobster rolls in town.

Angeline’s Kitty corner from Romare Bearden Park this open kitchen eatery perfects straight-forward rustic Northern Italian food with a wood-burning rotisserie, rotating deck pizza oven, and house-made pastas. Stop upstairs at the sister rooftop bar, Merchant & Trade for the best city views in town and craft cocktails, local spirits and beers. Both venues are housed in the classy Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, a nuanced property with southern hospitality, polished public space and accommodating service.

5Church Charlotte Top Chef alum and local celeb Jamie Lynch’s credo is simply creating delicious food. Small plates featuring New American cuisine make this restaurant one of Charlotte’s favorites.

La Belle Helene LBH, an upscale French Brasserie offers contemporary takes on French classics. Drop-dead gorgeous space transports to the Paris’ First Arrondiessment where diners are encouraged to linger and watch the world go by.

The Punch Room – Clubby and stylish, this “hidden” speakeasy inside a former concierge lounge at Charlotte’s Ritz Carlton, is a tiny oasis of civility serving fine wines by the glass, local beers and hand-crafted cocktails in an elegant setting.

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery One of Charlotte’s oldest – and best – microbreweries, OMG has the largest and best biergarten in town where patrons can tip back favorites like Captain Jack, Copper, Dunkel and Mecklenburger.

The Ballantyne Hotel Away from uptown’s crowds is the Ballantyne in south Charlotte. This luxe property pampers with an upscale spa, fine dining at their Gallery Restaurant, signature golf course and genteel staff.