Darren “Jaz” Vincent opened Red @ 28th nearly two years ago. His vision was to create a place here all people from cultures could come together to read, socialize and relax. A sign about the door “proclaims it “Charlotte’s 1st Multicultural Literary Lounge.” (Photo: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com)
Adventures in the Qcity is a series that spotlights local destinations and is sponsored by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). Read more on our special page.
In the arts district of NoDa sits a happening spot — a place where social consciousness meets creative genius — a place called Red at 28th, a bar, library and hookah lounge all rolled into one.
A sign above the door declares it “Charlotte’s 1st Multicultural Literary Lounge.” Inside, three college students – one from Algeria, one from Tunisia and one American — huddled around a small table as they suck on a hookah pipe.
“I like the environment, says Armina Salic, who had been there each of the three previous nights. “It’s chill, somewhere you can go and relax, hang out with your friends.”
That’s just the kid of atmosphere Darren “Jaz” Vincent had hoped for when he opened Red @ 28th two years ago.
By day, the lounge attracts a collage of interesting people — from college students to working professional — looking for a small nook for reading, working, networking or Internet browsing. At sunset, more patrons come for spirits and hookah. In addition to a bar and a limited menu, Red @ 28th offers 30 tobacco flavors, some as familiar as mint, cherry and vanilla, but others with exotic names like Rick Ross, Disco Frog, Farmer’s Daughter, Sunrise and Ron Burgandy.
Vincent, who formerly owned RealEyes Bookstore and founded the Charlotte Literary Festival, said Red @ 28th was meant to combine two of his life’s great passions – reading and connecting people.
“Basically it’s a place where you can come, have a drink, but still be surrounded by knowledge, a bunch of books and some reading material,” he said. “I wanted to make a haven outside of a bar, outside of a library, that combines the two, a place where all cultures can come, relax and hang out.”
Along one wall inside the lounge, Vincent has assembled hundreds of books, some by renowned authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison.
For several years now, Vincent has preached the gospel of reading. His desire, he said, is to get books into the hands of non-readers and those who don’t appreciate the beauty of the written word.
“Reading is essential to our existence,” he said. “It is how we lend and reciprocate ideas that are necessary for our being.”
Looking ahead, Vincent said he hopes to soon open second location in the University area. The new site would accommodate hookah smokers with a ventilated room.
“It’s been great,” he said of his latest venture. “It’s been a blessing.”
From the uptown Transit Center, take bus #3 or bus #23. They both travel a straight route along N. Davidson Street. No transfers. Get off at the corner of N. Davidson and 28th streets. Red @ 28th is at 2424 N. Davidson St., suite 112A. The entire trip should take no more than 20 minute.