Standing before a mural of the nighttime Charlotte skyline with "The Comedy Zone" imposed over a massive moon, nationally touring comics present finely honed humor. Within the NC Music Factory's sprawling entertainment complex, The Comedy Zone keeps punch lines rolling with its regularly stuffed calendar of established and up-and-coming jokesters. From table seats, visitors can wet their whistles with a bounty of domestic and imported beers, bottles of wine, four-straw margaritas, and savory cocktails and feast upon a menu of classic pub fare. Monthly open-mic nights test rookies' mettle, and armchair comics can sign up for classes where industry professionals ramp up joke-writing skills, obliterate stage fright, and share the secret noise that makes hecklers cry.
Within a two-story residential building lives Kennedy?s Premium Bar & Grill, where past a large outer deck, patrons will find three bars, 17 televisions, and a menu that sports American and Irish classics. Entrees include shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and chicken pasta, alongside hefty half-pound burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fried pickles. Meanwhile, a drink menu includes and a sprawling list of scotches, cordials, wines, and bottled and draft beers.
Using recipes passed down from the owner's Scottish ancestors, Molly MacPherson's menu is stocked with cuisine traditionally served in the Scottish highlands. Start with the golden-fried Guinness-battered onion rings ($6.50) or the potato scones, garnished with sliced almonds and served with sweet raspberry preserves ($5). The homemade Scottish meatloaf emanates savory smells, served with a heaping of garlic smashed potatoes and fresh veggies ($11), and the Blackwatch burger satiates stomachs with a half-pound of grilled highland beef ($8, add cheese or bacon for $0.75 each). For dessert, toss out your makeshift edible kilt and snack on the sticky toffee pudding, a warm sponge cake baked with toffee sauce ($5).
Since its opening in 1996, Comet Grill has served not only as a place to grab a tasty kaiser-roll burger or turkey club sandwich, but as a gathering place for the community, with live music almost every night. Patrons snack on fried pickles, Cobb salads, and pimento cheese sandwiches while local musicians strum and sing in the background.
Though its dark wood trimmings and furnishings hark back to traditional pub decor, the rest of The Pub at Gateway drags that tradition into the 21st century. Broadcasting the latest sports, large LCD televisions hang above the tables and booths. Behind granite bar tops, bartenders mix more than 30 types of martinis, distribute beer via tap and bottle, and supply wine by the glass or fire hose.
The beverages complement the comforting pub food that emerges from the kitchen until 1:30 a.m. every night. Feasts range from a burger wrap filled with Angus beef, grilled onion, and barbecue sauce to sandwiches crafted with meats and cheeses, artisan bread from Nova's Bakery, and signature spreads and sauces made in-house daily. Throughout meals, The Pub at Gateway keeps diners entertained with festivities such as poker, trivia nights, live acoustic music, and DJs who spin top 40 records.
At first glance, Angry Ale’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill looks like a regular sports hangout with its walls lined with dartboards and flat-screen TVs. But the eatery takes a creative angle with its menu of burgers, wings, wraps, and other pub food. From the redneck fondue—a heaping bowl of homemade queso dip—to tot-chos–tater tots smothered in jalapeños, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and a choice of meat–appetizers kick off meals with delicious unconventionality. This culinary aesthetic carries over to entrees and favorites such as the bacon fatty melt, a bacon cheeseburger with 1000 island dressing, whisked to tables by the ghost of Alexandre Dumas. Diners can also put their appetites to the test by participating in the Button Popper, a speed-eating cheeseburger challenge that asks the age-old question, “Are you built for speed or comfort?”