Ghazale Johnston
Jan 2 · 4 min read

20/20: Jeff’s Bucket Shop

Some of you may recall that my very first Charlotte 20/20 blog post was about was a visit to Abari. You may also recall that I spent a paragraph bragging about my wonderful neighbors and their kind hearts and fun loving personalities. It only seems appropriate that my last blog post also includes my entertaining neighbors. This time, instead of playing vintage video games, we explored Charlotte’s best karaoke spot- Jeff’s Bucket Shop.

For years, I have heard people talk about a late night visit to Jeff’s Bucket Shop. While I pride myself on not needing much sleep, I am not a “late night” girl. Even in college when the bars closed or the band party shut down, I always chose to head home. Perhaps it was a subliminal message I picked up after growing up with the earliest curfew amongst all my friends but I have rarely had a desire to stay out late and would never dream of an all-nighter*. So, while the Bucket Shop is considered to be a hot spot for lots of Charlotte people, it really did not cross my radar when heading home after a night out with friends.

(*Disclaimer for those who knew me at NC State: Yes, Deidre and I stayed up all night at the Delta Sig See Saw A Thon but I am fairly sure we were raising money for something important and yes, Brad and I spent a handful of nights studying at Harris Teeter in Cameron Village past midnight but that’s because we were both fantastic at procrastinating and had to cram in studying to maintain our reputation as mildly smart students. However, these were among the exceptions.)

Fortunately for me, I recently had the pleasure of attending a private event at the Bucket Shop that was graciously hosted by some of our fun-loving neighbors. This not only allowed me to finally check out this fabulous karaoke bar but I got to do it at a very reasonable hour and still be home by midnight. Over the course of a few hours, I hopped on and off stage multiple times and did some serious singing. First, I had the chance to channel my inner Stevie Nicks and show the world (or Normandy Road) how well I know every word to “Second Hand News”. Then, after performing my solo, Andy and I joined forces and sang “Island in the Stream”. In those three minutes, we learned that 1) while the chorus is super easy to sing, the rest of the song is not and 2) it’s a good thing our kids’ college savings is not dependent on our ability to perform in front of a live audience. After a handful of other solo/duet/group singing performances, I decided maybe it was time to do less singing and more watching.

Lucky for me, watching was even more fun than singing. As expected, every single one of our neighbors showed up prepared and ready to belt out their favorite tunes. Some practiced ahead of time. Some came in costume. Some had dance moves that may as well have been ripped from the last episode of Club MTV.

After a few hours, the Bucket Shop opened up to the public and all of those avid late night karaoke people I always heard about started to show up for their place on stage. It was around that time, I realized it was time for my to turn into a pumpkin and go home. The next day, lots of group text chains were blowing up with videos of the neighborhood karaoke night. While this provided much entertainment for the adults, any glimpse that our kids got into the previous night’s shenanigans resulted in lots of eye rolling and a general feeling of shame. But that’s OK. The night was a big success and I can now be part of the population of Charlotteans who can claim a fun night at the Bucket Shop.

On another note, this will be the final post in Charlotte 20/20. When I set out to document these 20 experiences, I did not have a tangible outcome in mind. I did not seek a certain number of readers nor did I expect to have some a-ha moment. I like to write. I like to check out new places. I like to celebrate milestones regardless of the size and I like having an excuse to share what is on my mind with others. With all these posts under my belt, I can honestly say that this little blog helped me to honor all of those personal feelings. Along the way, I hope my random thoughts gave some of my friends and family a tiny dose of entertainment and if not, I appreciate everyone acting like it did when it randomly came up in conversation. I have truly been amazed at the encouragement and support I have received and if nothing else, I walk away knowing no bad comes from taking an obscure idea and seeing the good that can come when exploring where it can go. Farewell Charlotte 20/20….while this may be my last blog post, I do hope to find another channel to write and if/when that happens, I hope some of you will join (if not pretend to join) me, again.

Ghazale Johnston

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Optimistic Type A Extrovert | Recovering Consultant | Spend most of my days sharing good thru Daymaker | Spend most of my nights with 3 pretty amazing humans