In 2004—on a mission to bolster its community’s wellspring of art, creativity, and education—the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art deco–style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1926. Today, in the same antique theater where Shakespeare screened his first car-chase movie, the Bergen Performing Arts Center hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks like HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on Bergen Performing Arts Center’s stage, which has seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and the Dixie Chicks.
Masters of impromptu rocking, the three-man band of Particle braids funky undertones of bass guitar with energetic keyboards and drums in an electronic-backed jam session. Bolstered by an underground following and a decade of playing together, the band grooves through hits from its album Launchpad with more chemistry than hydrogen and oxygen had on their first date. The seasoned trio, which has performed with Blackalicious and Grateful Dead founder Phil Lesh, will razzle and dazzle Mexicali Club's intimate lounge after openers Shwizz and The 45's warm up the stage with tunes as catchy as chicken pox.
Even on the 364 days of the year that the St. Patrick's Day parade isn't passing by its front door, Tommy Fox's still feels authentically Irish. Guinness and Harp paraphernalia hangs on wood-paneled walls, and flat-screen TVs broadcast soccer and hurling matches live from Ireland. Irish bands play traditional—but danceable—tunes on Sundays, and every night of the week people can take comfort in plates of warm soda bread, shepherd's pie, and corned beef and cabbage. There's certainly an American influence at play, as well—the pub's eponymous dish is a half-pound sirloin burger topped with two kinds of cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and thick-cut bacon.
Three floors, five bars, flashing lights, and thumping bass are the ingredients that make up the tasty cocktail that is SOHO Nightclub. Each floor has its own atmosphere and guests are invited to wander from level to level, sipping drinks and taking in the scene. A male revue and a legion of go-go dancers add sultry moves to the mix on designated evenings. Revelers can relax with bottle service or hookah at tables—the perfect setting for reading a really good book.
A hip and colorful destination, Mariachi Bar and Restaurant supplies its guests with everything from dancing to stir fry. Serving a menu of pan-Asian cuisine, the kitchen fries and sautes ribs, rice cakes, and giant octopi for visitors to snack on before they hit the bar for pitchers of beer. Frequent events light up the dance floor, and a nightly happy hour held seven days a week offers specials on drinks and snacks.
Fast Eddie’s Billiards Cafe takes playing pool and drinking beer to the next level. Sure, the standard domestics are available, but besides the expected lagers and neon signs, Fast Eddie’s boasts an impressive menu of craft brews. More than 50 choices include Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Allagash White, and Smuttynose Robust porter. Imported beer, wine, and premium liquor are also available to add entertainment to billiards tournaments.