The Grape Tap's first-floor dining room blends the comforts of a 1930s pioneer-style home with the aesthetic touches of contemporary decor. But beneath the floorboards lies a secret. Under the tables, slabs of stone carve out an airy cellar where dozens of wines, from pinot noir to riesling, wait through time. Stuccoed ceilings arch above the stock, and lounge-style seating with benches and throw pillows adds comfort to dining and gives lonely patrons something to hug.
Nestled amid such comforts, The Grape Tap's guests can sample flights or bottles from the underground stash, as well as pints of more than two dozen beers. They can also pair their sips with flavors from chef Pat Mathias's menu of seasonal produce, gourmet cheeses, and meats seasoned with exotic spices. The filet mignon sliders, for example, pair ground-tenderloin mini burgers with cambozola cheese, caramelized onion, and a creamy pecan spread to create something deep and hearty. The Grape Tap also hosts events throughout the year, such as live music performances in the backyard during the summer.
In collaboration with the Anchorage Opera, Alaska Dance Theatre's graceful gambolers leap to the invigorating heights of opera's great arias. Sound, color, and motion blend in a 75-minute showcase, where live musical accompaniment sets the pace, singers attain unfathomable feats of aural agility, and brightly-clad dancers make the melodies visible through the movements of their bodies and their flowing, prehensile costumes. The supernal scenes unfold among the smooth contours and below the playful, polka-dot-style acoustic discs of Discovery Theatre.
Supporting education. Building a stronger community. Creating accessibility. Alaska Junior Theater aims to do all that and more. The nonprofit organization hosts youthful audiences at educational and entertaining performances, which address subjects such as geography, social studies, and history. Dedicated to bringing the arts to the community at large, the organization also partners with villages and rural school districts throughout Alaska and includes bus transportation in its youth ticket sales.
The Whaler Bar & Grill serves up a menu of crispy fried appetizers and juicy burgers alongside a spectrum of nightly events and brews from a well-stocked bar. Neon signs throw colorful light on the cool condensation of beer bottles and the rising steam of sliced-sirloin-steak sandwiches as wait staff deliver dishes by bouncing them off the button-tufted upholstery that lines the bar. Walls vibrate to the pulse of live music and DJs on the weekend or patrons dropping lyric bombs at weekly karaoke nights. The Whaler also hosts regular hold’em tournaments to catch a full house on the flop without the roof damage of diving out of a passing helicopter.
Known for their crisp selection of top-quality wines and Alaska Ice Wine, Denali Winery is opening up the pleasure of winemaking to patrons in small groups of six to 10 as a learning opportunity or simply a pleasant diversion. Today's deal includes two visits. On the first visit, a wine sampling featuring more than 70 varieties helps guests narrow down their flavor preferences, in order to better choose from among six styles available in the kit (three reds and three whites). Attentive servers well equipped to answer all questions about the art of making wine deliver a delectable selection of hors d'oeuvres. Guests then participate in making their choice of wine, from styles such as red valpolicella or white viognier. Six weeks later you return for the bottling session, in which the wine is bottled, labeled, corked, and shrink-wrapped. Up to 26 bottles of wine will be available for you to take home.
Within the historic 4th Avenue Market Place is the Alaska Experience Theater, a time capsule of state history and a portal for cultural exploration through film. The curators perennially screen four short documentaries on Alaskan history, projecting one about the devastating Good Friday Earthquake of March 27, 1964, in an earthquake simulator that rocks on hydraulic lifts designed to soothe Zeus in his infancy. A 40-foot screen commands attention in the 96-seat main theater, where the documentaries are relayed in vivid detail by a 3-D Christie Digital Projection System along with cult classics, independent films, and wide-release blockbusters. Out in the marketplace, dancers perform native Alaskan dances to the beat of drums, and two permanent exhibits reveal more information about the earthquake and display the full collection of prints by Alaskan artist Fred Machetanz.