Not many establishments offer the chance to see a Steven Sondheim musical, catch a concert, take a theater workshop, and eat an organic salad in one place. But at Red House Arts Center, all of these things flourish. Founded and renovated by a group of local artists, the center beckons visitors to fully immerse themselves in the arts, whether they’re watching an experimental-theater performance, strolling the halls of the second-floor art gallery, or pouring a bucket of house paint on themselves in the lobby.
Celebrating 30 years of winemaking at Hunt Country Vineyard, Grape Jam fills patrons with flavorful local wines while live music billows across a panoramic view of the Keuka Lake Valley. Fresh off appearances at this year's Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Jamie McLean Band fortifies eardrums with rootsy rock 'n' roll and The Stick Mob and Blue Sky Mission Club pick out bluegrass sounds to an audience of dancers, toe-tappers, and vine elves. Meanwhile, visitors wander the lush, rolling vineyard grounds, fortified by either one complimentary glass of juice or one of Hunt Country's award-winning wines.
The soft sounds of live jazz flow through a low-lit restaurant, easing guests into a comfortable state as the aroma of grilled steak and seared fish fills the air. It's just another night at Bistro 135, a multi-level space that hosts local musicians throughout the week on a balcony stage, who spice up the atmosphere as diners savor a fusion of international and American cuisines. Pairs can share blackened jumbo scallops and manchurian cauliflower at high-top tables in the bar area and enjoy their meals in the cozy outdoor courtyard to soak in the warm weather or surprise eclipses.
The Comedy Club sticks to the basics: nationally known acts; booze, burgers, fried foods; one microphone; and a brick wall. Renowned standups Jim Norton, Tom Green, Orlando Jones, and the late Patrice O'Neal have all graced the stage, and regularly scheduled Open Mic nights fuel an eternal search for undiscovered talent. The club proves its commitment to local humorists in its annual Funniest Person in Rochester Contest, semester-long classes on standup comedy, and always remembering their birthdays.
A mainstay for Best Irish Pub on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle's annual Rochester's Choice list, Johnny's Irish Pub welcomes the neighborhood in for appetizing eats and enticing alcoholic drinks. Mouth-mow your way through the menu, starting with a dozen jumbo buffalo-chicken wings ($8), served with blue cheese and celery sticks, or the nacho supreme ($7), which heaps melted cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and Johnny's hot meat sauce onto a tower of tortilla chips. Bread-and-bun-bookended offerings include a turkey or corned-beef Reuben ($7), a chicken Caesar wrap ($7), and a jumbo hot dog with sauerkraut ($4.50), as well as paninis ($7.50)—all are served with a side of chips, macaroni salad, or potato salad. Slide up to the bar and order a perfectly poured pint of Guinness before subsequently pouring it into your mouth chalice.