Landmarks of standup for decades, Connxtions Comedy Clubs remain mainstays for up-and-coming comics and national stars, with a roster of past performers that includes Sinbad, Drew Carey, Tim Allen, D. L. Hughley, and Rob Schneider. Headlining comedians, many seen on national television, keep the venues teetering Thursday–Saturday nights, whereas Wednesday nights host improv spectacles and open mics where rookies can begin their ascent into stardom or descent into miming. While refueling chuckle tanks, duos and groups can split a savory appetizer, such as cheese bread or chicken wings, or enjoy a potent cocktail at the bar.
A mid-Michigan institution since 1929, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra performs for more than 20,000 visitors every year. Music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt currently leads its roster of professional musicians in concerts that explore a variety of musical styles, including classical masterworks, a pops and chamber series, and brassy big-band engagements.
Athletic aficionados soak in sporty showings on more than 20 TVs at the casual downtown eatery with a menu of tasty American eats. Slide into a stadium of starters, such as potato skins ($6.99) and spicy crab bits peppered with pops of jalapeños ($6.99), or down a spinach and artichoke dough disk, a pizza sporting the cheesy appetizer in lieu of sauce ($11.99). An all-star team of burger slingers catapult a multitude of choices, such as the Santa Fe burger bolstered by tangy chipotle mayo, the salami- and feta-fraught mediterranean burger, and the salmon burger, all served with fries ($8.99 each). The innovative grilled chicken alfredo penne ($9.99) and meatball parmesan grinders ($8.99) revamp Italian originals into contemporary American fare, thus infusing noshes with confusing feelings about their ambiguous origins.
The talented chefs at Barley's American Grill pass on artificial flavors and fillers in favor of fresh ingredients used to fix up a menu of home-style American favorites. Preface a delicious meal with an appetizer of spinach-and-mozzarella bread served with a side of ranch dressing or pizza sauce ($8). Baby faces can don barbecue-sauce beards by taking big bites of the barbecue-bacon cheeseburger ($8.50) or matching their mandibles against the eatery's signature half-rack of baby back pork ribs with barbecue sauce ($13). Mouths take a pleasure trip to Italy with the pizza panini, stuffed with capocollo, pepperoni, mozzarella, and pizza sauce ($7.50), or plumb the depths of the sea with a platter of deep-fried cod and skewered shrimp ($14.50). A side of herb mashed potatoes ($2.50) sidles up alongside entrees to form a hunger-suppressing dynamic duo.
Lansing's original sports bar assuages appetites with a broad menu backdropped by big-screen sports and quirky regulars who all play the wacky neighbor in reality's long-running sitcom. Warm up flavor feelers with an appetizer sampler ($8.95) of onion rings, chicken fingers, fried mushrooms, and mozzarella sticks before insulating stomachs against poorly aimed cannonballs with a bacon cheeseburger ($5.75) or chili dog ($4.25). Art's popular homemade deluxe pizza ($15.50–$18.50)—adorned with pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and olives—keeps groups of competitive friends sated between rounds on the bar's shuffleboard, dartboards, and Michigan Lottery machine. Wash down any repast with a massive 32-ounce beer shooper ($4.15), which treats drinkers to the giddy thrill of chugging a fishbowl without the hassle of choking on another miniature castle.