No strangers to the stage themselves, the board of directors at The Velvet Note built the intimate venue as a musician?s dream of exquisite natural acoustics. On its carefully crafted soundstage sits a 1924 Baldwin Model M baby grand piano, which serves an endless lineup of locally and nationally renowned acts. In between applause and using their index fingers as maestro batons, visitors can occupy their hands with food from The Velvet Note?s menu, featuring lobster cobb salad, black mussels in garlic butter, and all manner of classic southern desserts. Run by musicians for musicians, the club creates an up-close-and-personal environment where performers and fans can actually mingle.
Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
Daniel Chong was the chef at a Japanese restaurant by the time he finished his senior year of high school. Chong entered the restaurant world at 15 and never left, graduating to chef at 18 and eventually moving to New York to develop innovative flavor combinations that highlight what he calls "the art of taste."
Art is right. At Kickshaw in Atlanta, Chong continues his mission of introducing diners to fresh ingredients, memorable flavors, and artistic presentations at his Japanese-style tavern. His menu of modern Asian cuisine and sushi includes small plates of seafood ceviche, ahi tuna tataki, and filo-wrapped jumbo prawn tempura. All of the above pair nicely with specialty rolls that feature eel, salmon, crab, and other terrifying monsters of the deep.
The Derby Sports Grille Pub's crew of cuisine crafters delivers a capacious menu of pub favorites and beverages. An appetizing arrangement of cheese sticks bathes in a marinara concoction ($6.50), and battered buffalo shrimp inhabit oceans of mild, medium, or hot sauce ($6.95). The deft cooks stack up the Derby Melt, an 8-ounce burger cushioned by marble-rye bread and melted swiss cheese ($8.95), and diners can dollop mounds of barbecue-infused pulled pork and coleslaw on waiting buns ($7.95). Order a mealtime multiplicity of wings engulfed in sauces both classic and inventive, such as teriyaki, lemon-pepper, or sweet and sour⎯all served bone in or out ($6.99 for 6, $7.99 for 10, $13.99 for 20). Any of these meals can be enjoyed with a mug of beer, a glass of wine, or a derby hat filled with cognac.
Informed by an ever-growing body of developmental research, classes at The Music Class introduce tots to tunes and concepts that boost creativity and listening skills. In Music Pups (a $72 value) courses, children under 4 years of age gleefully sing, dance, and bang away on rudimentary instruments such as the drums or theremin. Four and 5-year-olds learn concepts of tone and rhythm in the Music Cats course (a $77 value), which lets kids experiment with keyboards before defending their dissertations on the narrative redundancies of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Each 45-minute course meets four times in one month-long segment, and includes CDs for parents to play at home to follow up on in-class tutelage. This Groupon may also be used toward The Music Class' ten-week music courses.
Crowds may initially flock to Jeffrey's Sports Bar and Grill to catch the big game, but the bar gives them plenty of reasons to stay long after the final whistle blows. For starters, there's a full-service bar, a variety of flavored hookahs, and a finger-food-heavy menu of nachos, burgers, New York?style pizza, and wraps. And then there's the entertainment. In addition to classic bar games, such as darts, billiards, beer pong, ping pong, and full-contact peekaboo, Jeffrey's also features poker tournaments several nights a week, as well as live music and karaoke.