New Black-owned tapas bar opens in Charlotte

Fumee’ Kitchen & Cocktails, a tapas and hookah bar, opened near the University area earlier this month.

The upscale space has a lounge-like atmosphere that feels intimate, cool and a little more refined than some of its local hookah competitors.

Small plates like wings, wagyu sliders and tacos, and cocktails like a specialty lemon drop made with tequila and flavored hookah are among Fumee’s menu items.

Inside Fumee’ Kitchen & Cocktails (Qcity Metro)

Middle ground

For the last few years, I’ve felt that Charlotte was missing something — a middle ground of sorts.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a day party as much as the next person, but a full security pat down at brunch is where I draw the line. And I don’t mind the relaxed atmosphere of a brewery, but why is there no food?

My hopes for a slightly upscale atmosphere, cocktails, good food and music I actually want to hear — a little r&b, some chill hip-hop — started to fade.

Then Fumee’ Kitchen and Cocktails opened, and my prayers for a middle ground seem to have been answered.

It feels exclusive

Fumee’s atmosphere feels like a private lounge.

The four-top tables with club chairs make the space feel invite-only, while the more private, deep booth seating adds a layer of intimacy.

The soft lighting also adds to its intimacy.

Inside Fumee’ Kitchen & Cocktails (Qcity Metro)

There’s a well-designed — and somewhat hidden — DJ booth in the corner of the restaurant that’s utilized during the restaurant’s weekend brunch.

The playlist during my visit on Tuesday evening included r&b, relaxed hip-hop and even some neo-soul. It was perfect for the after-work cocktail outing I was looking for.

Small plates and cocktails

The small plates menu at Fumee’s includes things like beef wagyu sliders, prawns, fried cauliflower, chicken wings in several flavors, and braised pork belly.

Chicken tacos, brussel sprouts and fried cauliflower at Fumee’ Kitchen & Cocktails (Qcity Metro)

I ordered the fried cauliflower ($15), truffle parmesan wings ($15), brussels sprouts, chicken tacos — only offered on Tuesdays and $5 each — and chips with queso ($6) as shareables for the table.

The portions were shareable for the two of us.

We also ordered two lemon drops, one strawberry ($18) and one regular ($16). Instead of vodka, Fumee’s house recipe uses Casamigos tequila. The drinks looked good and tasted great.

Lemon Drop & Strawberry Lemon Drop at Fumee’ Kitchen & Cocktails (Qcity Metro)

We also ordered hookah ($40).

Overall, it was a fairly expensive outing, but still pretty on par with what it costs to eat at most other places. Because of the tapas-style menu –there are no entrees, and each menu item must be ordered separately — the tab can run up pretty quickly.

Our total was $160.

Worth a return

Fumee’ also has a weekend brunch that management says is less laid back than their weekday evenings. I want to check it out.

I also really liked the décor and the atmosphere, so I’ll definitely be back with friends.

Fumee Kitchen & Cocktails

9539 Pinnacle Dr #203, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

The restaurant is open 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. on weekdays and 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends.

What other places should QCity Metro check out? Send a recommendation to our editor at

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