Since 1936, the historic Gem Theatre has moved movie lovers to laughter and tears with films in an elegant, comfortable single-screen vintage theater. Peruse current showtimes and choose a first-run film, which may include a romantic romp, a superhero adventure, an independent feature, or Casablanca II: Electric Boogaloo. Guests pick up their sodas and popcorn at the concessions stand in the carpeted lobby, whose ornate table lamps cast soft light on potted plants and flowers. In the red and gold 916-seat amphitheater, upholstered floor seats beckon audience members and balcony perches provide a sky-high view behind marbled wood rails. Before the film, guests watch wrought-iron vines curl around colorful birds in sculptures flanking the screen. Sumptuous gold curtains hide the big screen until showtime, allowing staff members to finish reenacting each film’s climactic scene in private.
Chefs at Joey’s Fine Food & Spirits draw inspiration from a number of regional cuisines to prepare fish in a wide variety of flavors and aromas. Here you can taste everything from sesame-encrusted ahi tuna to Cajun-style sautéed shrimp and grits, or try Red Stripe beer-battered pollock fillets. In addition to the ocean fare, the chefs also grill angus beef rib-eye steaks, hand-pattied burgers, and toss salads with candied pecans and goat cheese. Joey’s clientele especially like the chicken wings, tossed in 1 of 15 sauces, including teriyaki, honey habanero, and spicy garlic. In addition to karaoke and trivia nights, Joey’s has multiple televisions that make it an enjoyable setting for watching football, college basketball, or professional food-fight tournaments.
The dueling pianists at Piano Man face off, vying for applause as they blaze through the biggest hits from the last hundred years. As they hit each note with perfection, audience members holler their requests and sing along with the pros, a fact the house prides itself on. When their requests hit the stage, guests can cheers with a host of tropical drinks, including the Malibu Painkiller—a euphoric combination of Malibu coconut, black, and sunshine blended with lemonade, OJ, and sprite—or the Entourage Margarita, with Avion tequila, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. To make sure they can remember the name of their favorite song, guests can soak up the cocktails with a menu of pub food classics such as burgers and wings.
The amicable staff at The Wine Dive prepares a tailored menu of bistro fare that reels in hungry passersby and warms them like the reassuring glare of a grandmother’s laughing emerald eyes. The panini club ($8–$10), part of a revolving roster of paninis, tightly enfolds savory selections such as salami, ham, turkey, and provolone in a bear hug of hearty italian bread, enabling one-handed or even hands-free munching. Diners can elegantly sip on port-wine cheese dip ($6) or nibble a plate of colby and pepper-jack cheeses and zesty olives ($6). The Wine Dive supports local artists by decorating its crimson interior with their paintings and sculptures, and live musical performances each Friday inspire passionate, beat-driven chewing and sipping solos. Outdoor patio seating presents guests with a direct view of the Lake Norman Marina and a viable escape route for those pursued by bee swarms.