Located a stone’s throw from Symphony Lake, Koka Booth Amphitheatre emerges out of 14 acres of hardwoods and pines to offer up its stage to traveling national acts, theatrical productions, and movie screenings. Although its wood and earth-toned beams camouflage the venue within its natural surroundings, passersby can notice its sleek exterior glistening in the moonlight during nighttime performances. The outdoor amphitheater––designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston, which also constructed the Cambridge Public Library––seats up to 7,000 people on its spacious lawn, crescent deck, or loft bird nests.
An Aveda concept salon with a retro edge, The Hair and Face Lounge sets itself apart with complimentary beverages, vintage posters of Hollywood starlets, and yellow leather couches that look as if they were time-warped from the 1960s. Even when faced with such eye-popping décor, it doesn’t take clients long to hone in on what matters: a team of licensed stylists who craft flattering looks with haircuts and coloring treatments. Professional Aveda products feature prominently on the menu, popping up in everything from exfoliating facials to smoothing hair treatments.
With a wide variety of beers on tap, 14 TVs, and a huge menu, The Train Station (formerly Harrison's Bar & Grill) is a great place to kick back and watch the game or UFC fight. It's also a great place to play a game—the bar has free darts as well as free pool, making the days of saving your spot on the pool table with a gold dubloon obsolete. Nearly every night of the week, events keep visitors further entertained, whether it's with free beer pong on Thursday, karaoke on Sunday, or DJs on Friday and Tuesday.
Inside the kitchen at Le Mussels, chefs combine Asian, American, and tropical influences, revering seafood above all and using it to unite disparate culinary styles. Pots of mussels can arrive in a traditional broth of white wine, garlic, and butter, or in an international mélange with cilantro, Japanese sake, or spicy Italian sausage. During each mealtime rush, housemade mango salsa is poured generously over coconut-crusted tilapia while the kitchen’s grill tops teem with Angus-beef patties and tuna steaks.
Eleven flat-screen televisions surround the intimately lit dining room, which creates a modern, industrial ambiance with its high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and coal-powered napkin dispensers. As the sounds of sports broadcasts echo throughout the space, guests can visit the bar and snag a hand-shaken cocktail or a beer from the ever-changing selection of 18 domestic and imported drafts.
When Scotsman Archibald Leslie settled in Holly Springs, North Carolina, in the early 19th century, he built a 180-acre estate right by the town’s freshwater springs. These days, only the estate’s springs and main house—a nationally registered historic site known as the Leslie-Alford-Mims House—remain. But with their pub, the proprietor’s of Archibald’s Tavern make sure the settler’s name lives on as well.
The tavern’s cooks specialize in staples of American bar food, such as hot wings, wraps filled with philly cheesesteak fixings, and burgers crowned with pepper jack cheese and jalapeños. Selections from an ever-expanding beer list pair perfectly with feasts, which patrons can complement by taking in that day’s game on flat-screen TVs mounted around the bar.
The building has been there for generations, beneath a neon "Restaurant" sign that used to serve as a beacon of sustenance for WWII-era soldiers stationed nearby. Decades later, under that same sign, people still show up in search of food, and more importantly, in search of drink. This historic spot is now the home of Brewmasters Bar & Grill, a taproom that celebrates North Carolina brewers with its selection of nearly 100 craft brews. "Beer geeks," as Brewmasters likes to call them, can discover local suds from Big Boss and Crank Arm mixed in with nationally renowned beers such as Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.
Of course, beer is also integral to the food menu. On it, guests will find pork belly braised in brown ale and beer-battered onion rings. The kitchen makes many of their ingredients in-house, including spinach dip forged from a family recipe and Brewmasters' signature candied bacon with jalapeño-apple jelly. As guests tackle their meals, they can study a state map that pinpoints North Carolina's best-loved breweries and least-invisible rivers.