European cuisine and kosher-style deli fare harmoniously mingle on Meltzer Uptown Pub's eclectic menu, crafted by experienced restaurateur Brad Meltzer. The Meltzer's Combo ($10–$17; also available kosher-style) buoys half a corned-beef sandwich with fluffy challah before smothering it in provolone and mustard; its missing twin is replaced by a sizzling pastrami on toasty rye swathed in swiss cheese and russian dressing. The seared ahi tuna ($15) is slathered in scorching Far East sauce and flanked by sautéed cabbage and pan-fried rice, and a 10-ounce serving of chicken-fried New York strip steak ($15) smolders beside a bed of mashed potatoes topped with cream gravy and miniature pillows.
Ajay and his wife Kiran spent their childhood in New Delhi learning the ins and outs of Indian cooking and hospitality. Their experiences shine through at Taj Palace Indian Restaurant & Bar, where the aromas of tamarind, mango, mint, and curry tangle complexly in the air. In the kitchen, chefs heap charcoal on the glowing embers in tandoor ovens, skewer cuts of lamb steeped in herbs, and make sure each grain of basmati rice is pointing in the same direction. Wait staff dressed in crisp white shirts and bow ties carry away the piquantly spiced dishes, which earned the eatery a Best Indian Food in Austin award from Citysearchers in 2009. In the rose-hued dining room, soft sitar music meanders beneath framed paintings and golden arches. Colorful hand-painted lanterns dangle from the ceiling above tables laden with flavorful curries and rice dishes.
Images on the video screen swell right along with the singer as she reaches the chorus of "Livin' on a Prayer," inciting her friends to stand up from the wraparound booth and pump their fists. It's a typical evening at Austin Karaoke, where visitors belt, croon, and warble their favorite songs until 4 a.m. on weeknights and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nine karaoke rooms accommodate small parties of up to 8 or large parties of up to 50. Ensconced in these private studios, songsters search the computerized catalog for their standard baroque numbers, grab the microphone, and then pour their souls into a premium sound system.
Comedy originated in 1974, when Benny Goodwin stood in front of a crowd, lost control of a complex, six-minute body odor pun, and spontaneously combusted. Today's Groupon lets you watch comics risk life and limb at Austin's coliseum of stand-up comedy, Cap City Comedy Club. For $32, you get 10 pairs of tickets to Cap City Comedy's regular touring headliners (a $65 value). These tickets are good for the Wednesday through Friday 8 p.m. acts as well as the Friday and Saturday 10:30 p.m. shows. This deal does not apply to the special events or the Saturday 8:00 p.m. performance. Reservations are required.
Cap City, now in its 25th year, hosts scruffy local talent as well as traveling bards and harlequins of humor. Serious about being weird, Cap City also conducts certified defensive driving courses, regularly feuds with a neighboring church over who's louder and bawdier, and seats almost all of its guests at long, cafeteria-style tables beneath '80s-era décor that recalls a more innocent teenage era.
Upcoming acts include perpetually frostbitten Minnesotan Chad Daniels, who strode across Conan O'Brien's stage, and the man named by a Rubik's cube, Myq Kaplan, champion of the New York Comedy Contest. Comedians are encouraged to interact with the audience, and, if the need arises, to administer vaccinations.
Since you must purchase two food or beverage items during the show, Cap City serves up its own remixes of traditional bar food, like egg rolls with chicken, mozzarella, jalapenos, red chili, black beans, and spinach ($8.95) and the fatso sampler, with fried pickles, parmesany mushrooms, and cheese sticks ($13.95). You can also get an alcoholic snow cone ($8.00).
Cap City's shows are a perfect alternative to the standard dinner and movie woo blitz, and with a professional comedian on stage, you won't have to struggle and strive to belt out your own charming jokes. Not to mention that laughter, as has been well documented, can improve your overall health and diffuse the stress that keeps you from reaching 6'4''.
Two Citysearchers give Cap City Comedy Club a perfect five stars, and Yelpers give it 3.5:
- I would suggest Cap City for anyone looking to do something different than the standard dinner and a movie, and laughter is definitely the best medicine! We will be back soon. :) – discomelly2, Citysearch
- I've been to Cap City a dozen times over the years, and seen a variety of shows both local and touring, and I've enjoyed each one. Some more than others of course, but always had a good time, had a bite to eat, a drink or two and some laughs. – Steve B., Yelp
- Great core workout laughing for 2 hrs. You really can't dis a place that can get you laughing after a hard day. It's better that [sic] drugs......and slightly cheaper. – Keri B., Yelp
The Tigress’ location in the re-invented North Loop gives this bar a little insider cred. This small watering hole has a feeling of familiarity even to first-timers; the bartenders (one of whom is likely to be the owner) greet you like a friend and tend to remember the drinks you ordered. Old-fashioned, complicated cocktails made with high quality ingredients are the specialty here, and the stiff drinks keep customers coming back. All of its 12 staple handcrafted cocktails are $7, but you can order your own drink from the bar as well. The Tigress also offers a selection of five beers on draft which rotate out regularly to catch up with the seasons. Beware The Tigress’ diminutive size; on crowded weekends it can be hard to order from the bar or even get inside, much less find a place to sit or stand with ease.
Bringing together hypnotic mouth pleasers from two sides of the globe, 360 Cafe crafts a menu loaded with Vietnamese and Cajun favorites. Fill toothed caverns with the popular seasonal boiled crawfish (market price) or the classically Cajun catfish basket, with two slivers of lightly battered pisces served with fries ($8.99), and surf Internet waves on the complimentary WiFi. Vermicelli noodles tangle thrillingly with grilled pork accompanied by egg rolls ($6.49), and the vietnamese ham sandwich ($3.25) escorts tongues on a tour of southern Asia’s scenic pork mountains. Beverages such as the Vietnamese iced coffee ($3.50) or an avocado smoothie ($3.75) quench postmeal thirsts and hydrate throats parched from beat-boxing along to 360 Cafe's weekend karaoke sessions.