Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Each year during the summer, a cool experience for soccer fans occurs in the form of the International Champions Cup. Being the sports fanatics we are, the schedule and teams are looked at each summer to see if anything peaks our interest. This summer two of the top club teams Bayern Munich and Inter Milan happened to be playing in Charlotte the same week that restaurant week was occurring. So naturally, we attended in order to experience this fun weekend and give readers feedback on this fun event and welcoming city. The International Champions Cup is an annual soccer tournament featuring some of the top club teams from Europe. These club teams come to North America, along with China and Australia, to compete against the other best teams from Europe. There is a champion in each area, but really it doesn’t matter much. More than anything it is a preseason for these teams, as the regular season is only a few weeks away. Club teams sit most of their top stars and older players, but there are still plenty of great players to see during the matches. Arriving in Charlotte on Saturday morning, we started out at MAYOBIRD, a local coffee specialty shop. It was the perfect meeting place for friends and the perfect place to start the day. Solid coffee and a great breakfast menu. However, the real gem is coming here for lunch. If you have time, you should check out their chicken sandwich, arguably the best in the city. For accommodations, we stayed at the Westin in downtown Charlotte. Highly recommend this hotel. The service was outstanding, it is close to everything, and the Heavenly Beds were just that: heavenly. Other pros: it’s less than a 15 min walk to Bank of America Stadium, Time Warner Cable Arena, and BB&T Park. While checking in, we quickly grabbed a drink at the bar and jumped in line. It seems like every other person there was also attending the game, as it got a little rowdy at the bar with all the Bayern and Inter Milan fans. Word of caution – drinks are not cheap at the bar. It is probably cheaper to wait until you are at the stadium. We made a short walk over to Draught (pronounced Draft). It was very rowdy here, as the Bayern Munich fans were having a pre-game party. This bar is only minutes walking distance from the stadium and had a great draft beer suggestion. Which considering the name, I suppose it should. There were easily 40+ different local, craft, and other brews on tap. Draught was also touted as the number one tailgate destination for Panthers fans, so when in Charlotte for a game, come here. After making the short walk to Bank of America, we were very impressed with the speed and ease to get in the arena. Good job BoA. Also, if you are looking to park around the stadium it will be anywhere from $20-50 a spot. Don’t do that. You can valet for cheaper at the Westin. Once in the stadium, the first thing we did was scout out beer spots. Future advice – bring cash. The lines are much cheaper and you get more bang for your buck at the individual vendors around the stadium. It was $7-9 for 20oz cans here vs $6-10 for 12oz at other locations. There is also a great craft beer selection called Local Craft featuring beers from the Carolina’s. And if you get hungry check out JJR’s BBQ Shack. Otherwise, the food was pretty sub par on the lower level. Sitting lower end zone, the seats and view was outstanding. However, every goal was scored on the other side of the field. Just the way it goes with soccer. It seemed like there wasn’t a bad seat in the house though. The game itself was a high scoring one, with Bayern winning 4-1 and Julian Green (an American!) getting a hat trick. After the game, we experienced dinner at one of the better wine locations in the Queen City: Napa on Providence. Highly recommended by the friends we met there, we were not disappointed. For those that enjoy alcohol of the grape variety, the wine list was fantastic. Name a style and they had it. For the appetizer, the PEI mussles won the show. It was just the right amount, and they were cooked to perfection. Not too salty and plenty of meat. Sticking with a more local fish theme, the crab stuffed NC trout was amazing. Served over couscous, the wine paired well with this dish dressed in a raspberry vinaigrette. Must order. All in all, this is a great place to grab a cocktail or dinner with friends or to take a date. While that wrapped up this trip, make sure you check out Cook Out on your trip. It’s a local fast food chain and the amount of food one can order for $6 is absurd. Try their burger, quesadilla, and hush puppy combo (yes, all that is $6). And while you are at it, go ahead and order a milkshake after. You won’t be disappointed.