Review: The Common Market - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Review: The Common Market

I visit Charlotte, NC a decent amount for my day job. My go to beer bar has always been The Flying Saucer, until recently. Over the past few years I have been getting more and more into the esoteric are rare side of beer. This occurred mostly because I love to try new beers, and sometimes I feel like I’ve had them all, which is not even close to being true by the way. However, I have had enough that even an extensive beer menu can at times seem mundane.

My last trip to Charlotte I stumbled upon The Common Market. I spoke briefly about their Plaza & Midwood location in a prior blog. This trip I was able to visit their other Charlotte location located in South End.

The Common Market (2)After an ordeal getting my rental car at the airport I decided to skip the hotel check-in and head straight to get some dinner. I had already decided I was going to The Common Market, so now it was just a matter of getting there.

Using my trusty iPhone I asked my reliable travel partner Google Maps to guide me to my destination. This was one of the few times when Google didn’t know its right from its left. While driving down S. Tryon Street I heard my phone confidently announce, in a quarter mile your destination is on the right.

While scanning all the property names on my starboard side I became more and more frustrated and confused. I saw nothing. After a quick U-turn I spotted the sign for The Common Market on the opposite side of the street. Joy!

Upon arrival I had trouble deciding whether to attend to my growing hunger or browse the beer selection. I did the right thing and made a b-line for the Deli to order some food.

Their menu is not overwhelming at all. Outside of the Veg+Vegan section the menu is a pretty traditional deli menu. When there is only a basic menu where simple assembly is required, there is only one secret. Good ingredients.

All of The Common Market’s deli meats are Boar’s Head, and the breads come from local Charlotte bakery Amber Grains. I wasn’t in much of a soup mood since it was a hot evening in Charlotte, but from what I see on Facebook, where they post their soup of the day, they have some good sounding soups.

But what draws me here is their large and eclectic beer selection. They have a large cooler filled with everything from traditional Macro-brews like Budweiser and Coors to tiny craft brewers. They also make sure to highlight the brewers that are local, which is always the right thing to do.

Take a virtual tour of The Common Market here: Google Maps

The Common Market (4)My focus as always is in two areas. What is local, especially local only. And what can I get here that I can’t get in Maryland. North Carolina has a log of brands that I would love to see in Maryland. Including Anchorage, Bells, Fort Collins, Founders, Great Lakes, Hoppin’ Frog, Left Hand, Lost Coast, Nebraska, NoDa, Olde Hickory, SKA, Sweetwater, Twisted Pine, and more.  But before I decided what beer to take out, it was time to actually eat my dinner.

The layout of The Common Market is great. They have a collection of tables inside for you to have a seat and eat your food. They also have a bar with about 10 taps, and an outdoor courtyard with many more tables.

You can buy draft beer, or they will allow you to buy a six pack of beer, chill them, and serve them to you as needed. I decided to have an Olde Hickory Death by Hops. This is one of those IPAs where the best word to describe it is DANK.

Their tap list was very nice, and well thought out. With many local sections from Green Man and Olde Hickory as well as small out of town brewers like Coronado Brewing Co from San Diego.

After finishing my sandwich it was time to walk around and figure out what was leaving with me. One thing that I love is being able to shop for beer while drinking a beer. You should be able to do this everywhere. The worst part about this trip is that I knew I couldn’t take much home, since I would have to shove bottles in my baggage and pray they wouldn’t shatter while being thrown about by airport luggage handlers.

But I did decide on an Anchorage Galaxy White IPA, which I have heard much about, but have not had the opportunity to try. And a six pack of Asheville’s Green Man IPA. Just walk up to the bar, and ask them to add these to the tab.

The Common Market (3)The most impressive thing about The Common Market is not the wide selection of beer and wine. Not the in house deli. Not the inviting eclectic atmosphere. The best thing is really the knowledge and personality of the staff.

Everyone whom I spoke with was happy to speak with you. And when they spoke about beer it was apparent that they all knew quite a bit. After speaking with some of their staff I decided to push how much I could take home with me after we had a discussion about the Anchorage Brewing beer The Tide and Its Takers. This one off brew from Anchorage Brewing is an Abbey Tripel aged in French Oak Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces.That quick description without an employee recommendation made me drool. I have this chilling at home right now, and can’t wait to try it.

And then as I was paying my bills I decided to ask if they happened to have a Founders Backstage Series in their backroom. A few seconds later they returned with a bottle of Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Bigfoot and a bottle of Founders Bolt Cutter. While I wanted both, I was really pushing my ability to board a plane, so I chose the Founders.

So as you can see I really like The Common Market, and I will likely be back almost every visit I make to the Charlotte, NC area. I highly recommend you do too if in the area.

The Common Market South End on Urbanspoon The Common Market on Urbanspoon

About the author

John Thompson

John Thompson is a beer enthusiast who began evangelizing craft beer a few years ago on his blog John has been homebrewing sporadically for almost 20 years, and also is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. When not enjoying a cold malty beverage you will find John spending time with his spouse and two young children or working his day job in Financial Services Technology. Make sure to find John on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @TheHopLocal and Untapped. at : Contact the author.