I love Charlotte.... it has a really unique vibe. North Carolina is the most progressive Southern State and has some VERY progressive areas. (Asheville, NC is not as gayfriendly as Provincetown, but almost)
There is a unique vibe... and I have found that the gay community is small, but robust and very, very friendly. I have been accepted pretty easily and enjoy myself a lot. The HRC Gala last year had more attendees and raised more money than any other in the Nation. Charlotte has spent a lot of money on infrastructure and it is obvious.
Dont get me wrong,... NC has pockets of the dumbest, most homophobic rednecks in America... but I actually live in SC so I am immune. The gay community in Charlotte has a lot of allies, especially after the passage of Amendment One. You will be very comfortable there.
Start your evening at one of the many restaurants. The Johnson and Wales Culinary School is right downtown and therefore, Charlotte has some excellent restaurants. Then head over to 316, the gay "drinking club" bar... it is a nice bar and the bartenders are friendly. Go outside and stand on the balcony... it will be crowded and nobody will be inside.
From there, you can go to various different bars. There is a gay sports bar that I like called Sidelines. There is a gay chorus, a gay rugby team and now a gay spa called Bear Kneads which specializes in massages for men.
Check out the Pocket Rocket magazine.... it is fun.