The University Club’s New England roots are evident not just in its creamy, New England-style clam chowder, but in its very building. Nestled in two colonial-era farmhouses, one of which is the oldest, most wrinkly house in Amherst, the eatery is a venerable institution to the history of Massachusetts. The Boltwood-Stockbridge house contains the Daniel Chester French room, named for the Lincoln Memorial Statue sculptor who lived there as a child, and the Tory room, where nine loyalists hid during the American Revolution.
Today, the loyalists have given way to diners feasting on fare that changes with the seasons. Dinners consist of upscale proteins such as new york strip steak, braised lamb shank, and pan-seared salmon complemented by a farmer’s-market risotto loaded with fresh local produce. Alternatively, lunchtime visitors—or diners sampling the bar’s lighter fare menu—can nosh on a Black Angus burger or a jalapeño crab-cake po' boy.
Voted the area's best place for tapas in 2012 by readers of the Valley Advocate, Ibiza Tapas Wine Bar swells with the aroma of Spanish small plates crafted by owner Sonia Blanco's culinary team. They craft traditional dishes with ingredients sourced from local farmers when available, serving up fried spiced potatoes and spanish veal and pork meatballs alongside modern creations such as tempura zucchini served with romesco sauce. Their menu also includes paellas, fideuas, and gluten-free, Catalan-style cr?me br?l?e, which guests can wash down with beer, sangria, or a wealth of white and red wine options from the dramatically lit stone bar. Orange and burgundy walls enliven Ibiza's lounge-like dining room, adding a celebratory spark to dinners, birthday get-togethers, and peace conferences between rival roller-skating crews.
From their kitchen stations on the second story of the Bay State Hotel, the chefs at Mulino's Restaurant plate up hearty portions of sophisticated Italian cuisine. Piled-high plates showcase tender linguine, spaghetti, and fettuccine clinging to gorgonzola cream sauce, italian sausages, veggies, and julienned strips of chicken. The aromas of wine-coated salmon and grilled beef tenderloin also fight for the attention of diners who are taking their time with their wine, served by the glass, bottle, or through a penne noodle. Desserts such as crème brûlée and tiramisu sweetly seal the meal.
Wrapping up its third season, Out! For Reel holds monthly screenings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender films from around the world. The first celluloid feature of the evening is eCupid, a romantic comedy that follows a newly single gay man as he searches for true love on the Internet and finds more than he bargained for. Or choose to view A Marine Story, an award-winning drama about a female soldier who is discharged from the military when she is discovered to be a lesbian and finds renewed purpose in training a teen for boot camp. The feature is preceded by Chained!, a short film about wallet chains and their centuries-long feud with metal detectors, by Betsy Kalin, who will be present at the screening.
The two screens of Tower Theaters host an eclectic cast of characters, from the flying superheroes of summer blockbusters to elaborately costumed opera singers. And 3D technology propels many of them toward the audience with the vivid clarity of digital projection. The dancers and singers appear as part of an opera-and-ballet series, which showcases stage productions such as Caravaggio or Die Fledermaus in digital high definition. But on the first Saturday of every month, film and live performance combine with midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, during which a shadow cast poses in front of the screen to mirror the cult classic's plot and catch Tim Curry when he falls out.
By following the blueprints found on a sprawling menu of wraps, sandwiches, and pizza, the culinary experts at JP's Restaurant battle flavor shortages against a sports-bar backdrop. The beef stroganoff blends braised beef tips with sautéed mushrooms, sour cream, and a network of penne noodles ($14.99), and the chicken française attacks hunger with a battalion of sautéed mushrooms, an infantry of white-wine lemon sauce, and a division of angel hair pasta commanded by a general of boneless chicken breast ($14.60). Pie-mongers can nibble one of 14 specialty pizzas, such as the large chicken pesto ($14.60), which is smothered in mozzarella-based goodness, while lunchers can open cuisine gates to massage teeth with a Cajun chicken-fajita wrap ($7.99), a burger slathered in hickory sauce ($7.45), or a hot basalt stone.