Meet The Black Woman Behind Charlotte’s Newest Social Bar
By DeAnna Taylor
For Indiana native Kimberly Wilkinson, Beyonce’s lyrics, “strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business,” are a testament to her life. The 34-year old mother is now the owner of not one but two businesses in Charlotte’s most popular neighborhoods.
“I always said that once I graduated from Johnson C. Smith University I was going to spend my life backpacking the world,” Kimberly told Travel Noire. “But, two months before graduation I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. People started asking me, well what are you going to do now? I said, ‘I don’t know but I know I want to work for myself.”
Kimberly opened Juice Box Juice Bar in 2017 after seeing a need for it in the city’s NoDa (North Davidson) neighborhood. Even with the success of that spot, she always knew that she would open a bar and she would call it Members Only.
Well, there is power in speaking things into existence because Members Only has officially opened its doors in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood area.
“I helped a friend host an event for Breast Cancer Awareness and I asked her if we could name it ‘Members Only’ because I was going to open a bar under the same name one day. Well, here we are.”
If you aren’t familiar with Charlotte, both of these areas have been hit hard with gentrification over the years. So, the launch of this space says a lot about the business acumen of this young Black woman.
For her latest venture, she transformed a former wine bar into a cute and trendy space that can double as a chill spot for you and your friends or your favorite date night spot.
When you walk in you will see one wall filled with greenery and cozy tables perfect for either working during the day or chatting with friends over premium cocktails at night. There is also a cute swing and flower wall near that back that will definitely be the hottest photo op.
To enter the bar, you will need to sign up for the $20 annual membership which is a requirement under North Carolina ABC liquor laws. Kimberly will also offer a gold tier membership at $200 per year that will give you access to private events hosted in the bar monthly and discounts on featured drinks.
She will have food trucks on site and eventually operate a permanent food truck that she’s calling Grub. It will be like a “Ruth’s Chris on wheels.” There will be weekend brunch and other fun installations happening overtime.
At the bar, you can get local craft beers, wines, and specialty cocktails including The Members Only which is a glass of bubbly topped with cotton candy.
“Having these businesses are proof that the sky is the limit. Nobody is going to look out for you and help you get to the level you want to, except for you. Learn what you can learn and grow. Be great!”
To learn more about Members Only you can check out the Instagram page: @members.only_clt.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.