Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.
Today’s Groupon offers an upgrade from your biography audio books. For $25, you’ll hear legendary lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s candid confessions at The Long Center on Thursday, November 12; the Austin Chronicle’s Robert Faires will prompt the esteemed composer to reflect on his career, collaborations, and creative process during the 8 p.m. event.
While bowlers have become accustomed to playing under fluorescent lighting and perching on vinyl seats, Jillian's updates the experience with a nightclub atmosphere and modern decor. Each lane in the black-light bowling lounge holds up to eight people in a luminous glow that’s harmless to the eyes of baby bats. Between bowling frames, three Brunswick Black Stallion billiard tables engage those with the urge for further friendly competition. Alternately, patrons can turn to the game room where they can get their adrenaline racing. Players sate between-set hunger pangs with the dining room's menu of American eats such as hot wings, burgers, and pizzas.
Big Fish Bar & Grille's owner lures diners with seafood specialties made from fresh fish, which fill the lunch menu and dinner menu. Begin comestible voyages by knocking back an order of oysters Rockefeller ($14) while basking in the waterfront restaurant's vistas. A golden crab cake, cloaked in seasoned breadcrumbs like a baker playing hide and seek, rests on the Crabby Patty sandwich with Old Bay–sprinkled fries ($11). The Louisiana mac 'n' cheese, a pool of rigatoni noodles swimming amongst waves of a four-cheese sauce, buoys Cajun chicken and andouille sausage ($13). Big Fish wraps up the docket of edibles with a variety of jambalayas, steaks, and chops.
At TomKelly's Chophouse and Pub, an emblazoned cloverleaf over the door may grant Irish luck to all who enter, but it’s the menu of Irish-inspired pub fare that leaves eyes (and stomachs) smiling. Emerald Isle dishes of corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie join American counterparts including pizzas bedecked with buffalo chicken and po boys topped with prime rib, grilled onions, and mozzarella cheese. While devouring Irish eats, guests can take in sporting events from 14 plasma TVs.
Chicago Blu welcomes diners into its family-friendly eatery with live music and hearty bar fare. The menu revs up stomach engines with starters such as spicy southwest rolls stuffed with cheese and chicken and served with tangy ranch or sweet chili sauce ($7). Wrap tonsils around the Southside blu burger—a pretzel bun cradling a half-pound of charbroiled beef topped with bleu cheese and grilled onions ($8.50). Those who put pork on a pedestal can commission a replica of The Thinker made of bacon or can opt for a BBQ rib platter served with coleslaw and fries ($8.50/half rack, $16/whole rack). Entree salads can give grazers their fill of greenery ($9+), and a beer or a glass of wine from the full bar lubes up digestive tracks for the death by brownie dessert ($6).