Audiences often arrive an hour early to Laugh Out Loud’s comedy shows, lured in by the comedy club’s amiable staff, frequent visits by nationally renowned comics, and full dinner menu. After dinner, audience members stay at their tables as the lights dim and the Laugh Out Loud stage is swarmed by daring and original joke tellers. Shaun Jones inaugurates the month of May with his outrageous personal anecdotes. Along with appearances on TV outlets such as BET's Comic View, the dapper funnyman also slunk onto the silver screen as a shifty poker player in 2003 Jamie Foxx vehicle Shade. Laugh Out Loud regularly schedules shows four nights a week, including a popular free Wednesday night open mic, which showcases the fresh talent of amateur comedians and the soundman's admittedly unoriginal microphone check.
Formed in the glory days of heavy metal, Queensrÿche rocks audiences with songs that reveal the fierce polish of 30 years of evolving artistry. The band's distinctive mix of prog rock, metal, and subliminal messaging rocketed their Empire album up the charts, launching hits such as "Silent Lucidity," "Jet City Woman," and "Best I Can." Normally reserved only for members of Queensrÿche's fan club, a backstage meet-and-greet lets a small group of the devoted make personal connections with the four lords of loudness, shaking their lightning-fast hands and comparing headbanging techniques. With experience opening for Nickelback and Staind, opening band The Fifth's wailing guitars rally fist pumps and head thrashes as raging as a riverbed full of angry bulls.
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.
While people-watching amongst the picnic tables of its outdoor patio, browse the Borough's menu and take comfort in an order of Charlie & Simone, the restaurant's house-made hush puppies ($4.50), or dip into the Boomerang, a cheesy chopped spinach and mushroom mélange ($6). The Borough's entree selections provide down-home reinterpretations of the best seafood, landfood, airfood, and plantfood. The Valhalla 2.0, a 4-ounce filet mignon medallion drizzled in creamy crab sauce ($9.50), patches many of the bugs in the Viking paradise's operating system, making it Ragnarok-compliant. The Craw Diddy, a house-made crab-cake sandwich ($8.50), makes your tongue feel like a bayou pop star, while The D Train, a marinated chicken breast with grilled red peppers and spicy mustard ($7), transports it home after a hard day's work licking coworkers' faces. The Borough's vegetarian-friendly selections include the Blackbeard, a black-bean burger ($7.50); and the Mock Bawk Bawk, a vegan barbecue mock-chicken sandwich ($7)—making the eatery a welcoming habitat for runaway ex-carnivores looking to reunite for a meal with their former wolf pack.