Fox Theatre, originally opened in 1929, has long been established as a venue for legendary performances, earning induction into the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Chuckle chasers flock to the antique theater to absorb the sidesplitting comedic jabs delivered by Joey Medina, who starred in Paramount Pictures' The Original Latin Kings of Comedy alongside celebrated jokesters Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, and George Lopez. Sharing the spotlight with Medina, David Lew channels his time on season four of NBC's Last Comic Standing to tenaciously tickle funny bones, and blossoming funnyman Manny Maldonado coaxes cackles with his uproarious act and PowerPoint presentation about the real-estate market.
At Menlo Hub, both food and art find a place on the menu. The modern restaurant's walls are blanketed in original contemporary paintings, and on some nights, the dining space reverberates with music from live bands and solo musicians. But even on nights with performances, the main attraction is always found in the kitchen. Here, chefs design casual American dishes sprinkled with elements of Mediterranean cooking.
The menus focus on simple steaks and seafood, complemented by organic produce sourced from nearby sustainable farms. The artfully plated dishes include California sea bass, New York steaks with gorgonzola demi-glace, and eggplant-wrapped lamb shanks. While most visitors sample the cuisine in the airy main dining space, private groups eat in a secluded room warmed by a corner fireplace.
At the lively bar, flat-screen TVs broadcast sporting events as bartenders mix fruit-infused martinis and pour a range of California wines, which are made from grapes that are just thankful that they never became California raisins.
Gussie's Chicken & Waffles focuses on the flavors of the American South, not the Caribbean, but owner Michele Wilson and manager Pia Harris have a deep love for Jamaican culture and music. In 2011, they gathered a group of their neighbors in the Fillmore to kick off the first San Francisco Reggae Festival, a free afternoon of locally and internationally sourced concerts, booths showcasing local food vendors and artists, and children’s activities such as games and advanced relaxing lessons. While the pulse of classic reggae carries through the fest, lineups nod to modern developments in Jamaica and the Bay Area alike by also booking DJs and hip-hop-influenced performers.
Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms The Fillmore into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces grateful dance floors with smile-baiting 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, girl-group garage rockers The Sandwitches enchant with sardonically lovelorn themes and harmonies, and pop enthusiasts Dom charm with stargazing Casios and hockey anthems about their cats. The Fillmore invites Groupon holders backstage after the show to meet the band, discuss musical influences, and take notes on hitting the elusive high Z note.