Aromatic spices blend with hearty meats and veggies on Madras Grill's extensive menu, which is filled with traditional Indian cuisine. A house blend of coriander, red chilies, cumin, and turmeric joins chicken for a dip in a pool of light onion-and-tomato sauce in the Madras chicken curry, which is finished with a refreshing splash of coconut milk ($13.95). Artisan Indian breads ($2.50–$8.95) soak up runaway sauces and bake in a range of styles, from unleavened and deep-fried to stuffed or invisible. The smoked-eggplant punjab specialty, baigan bharta ($12.95), sates vegetarians, while a meat-filled trio of chicken tikkas, lamb kebabs, and shrimp cooked in a tandoor oven pairs with protein seekers in the Madras mixed grill ($17.95). Warm yellow tones surround wooden tables and chairs cushioned with burnt-orange cushioned seats. Decorative lighting illuminates entrees, and a wall-mounted wooden wheel stares unblinkingly at a large TV flickering behind the sleek bar.
Inside Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship’s training facility, students of all ages work in groups with instructors to learn the fine techniques involved in Japanese swordsmanship and foil fencing. The Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship instructors also lead classes in stage combat, teaching techniques used by stage and film actors during fight sequences. Once students are comfortable controlling foam practice swords with their minds, they can join the Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship crew on interactive play adventures, such as the Wizards & Warriors summer camp. The live-action role-play events integrate medieval themes with lessons in historical weapons and self-confidence.
Part Mexican cantina, part Irish pub, and all cop, Garcia Brogan's blends disparate cultures in both its menu and its decor, which features murals and folk art from Mexico and Ireland. Whether guests want a glass of Irish whiskey or a fine tequila, Garcia Brogan's bartenders keep the drinks flowing, pouring a river of alcohol in which tacos and shepherd's pie bob appetizingly. The restaurant hosts pub trivia nights and live Irish music on the weekends.
Longtime Whose Line Is It Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood have toted their quick-witted, improvised comedy around the country for years. Not bound by scripts, the duo takes suggestions from the audience and fluidly bounces off each other's screwball bits to craft hilarious scenes on the fly. As the evening rolls on, they draft game but uncoached audience members into the onstage action. Though audiences can expect daredevil games and easy patter between the two stage vets, the form of any given show won't unfold until the night of the performance—as Mochrie reported to the Herald-Review, they've "developed an aversion to ever performing the same joke or routine twice." Built in 1920 to commemorate World War II veterans, the auditorium suffuses even the most lighthearted events with a sense of history and the patronage of local bald-eagle populations.
The Real School of Music bestows the gift of instrument-playing ability upon students with a variety of music lesson options. The week-long, all-day summer music program, Real Jams Academy (ages 10–19, $500 for five days), is complete with music lessons, songwriting, band-forming, and a live performance in front of families, friends, and fans (no experience necessary). Get private lessons (approximately $37 per week, with daily access to the facility) in the instrument of your choice (voice, guitar, bass, keyboard/piano, sax, drums, pork-rib-xylophone, etc.). Private students achieving intermediate proficiency are then invited to play in one of the school's RealBands. If you're not ready for private lessons, embrace education with your fellow students in a group lesson ($120 for six 45-minute lessons) to learn the basics. Baby Beethovens (five and under) can flourish under the RealKids Family Music program ($180 for nine 45-minute lessons).
Sports, Steaks & Spirits combines the television-studded walls of a sports bar with the hearty comfort food of a neighborhood pub. Menu items include baby back ribs and half-pound burgers, as well as more internationally inspired dishes, such as tempura-fried shrimp with coconut breading. Cooks can also top hand-stretched, thin-crust pizzas with a combination of 17 available toppings, including basil, sausage, and red onion.
Although its menu might distinguish Sports, Steaks & Spirits from other bars, guests are also welcome to just knock back a beer while watching Boston sports teams compete for control of the world’s supply of silver-plated trophies. Sixty plasma televisions line the bar’s walls, and all booths boast their own small screen, which may have prompted Patch to describe the spot as “a veritable North Reading sports haven.” Even the color scheme evokes the feel of well-trodden sports turf, surrounding visitors with yellow-green walls and pool tables lined with emerald-green felt.