A past winner of Boston magazine's Best Pool Hall award, Flat Top Johnny's complements its felt-topped tables with home-cooked food and a laid-back atmosphere. Games of billiards ($12 an hour/table) at any of a dozen tournament-size pool tables send balls bouncing while several old-school pinball machines mutter nervously nearby. Fuel a rousing game of eight-ball with an appetizing bowl ($3) or cup ($5) of homemade chili, complemented by Johnny's house-made corn bread, or with a crew of sandwiches, wraps, and snacks from Flat Top Johnny's menu. Johnny's can stuff grilled chicken and feta cheese into a corner pocket of ciabatta bread ($6), or mix pork, beef, or veggie sliders with two other identical sliders (three for $7). Toast an evening of trick shots and twisted dough by hoisting a beer mug filled with pretzels ($3), chased by a shot of mustard.
Though churrasca restaurants are popping up everywhere, Ivan Utrera is generally recognized as the first bold soul to open a Brazilian steakhouse in America, bringing family recipes from his native city of Sao Paulo. For nearly 20 years, Rodizio Grill's teams of gauchos have presented three-foot skewers of rotisserie-grilled meats tableside, giving guests the opportunity to sample as much as they can shake their fork at. The selection of seasoned meats includes picanha com parmesao—sirloin encrusted with parmesan—and frango agri-doce, chicken glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce. The gauchos also present skewered fruits and vegetables, including Rodizio's signature grilled pineapple.
The menu keeps it simple with only a few other embellishments, but they certainly share the spotlight with the churrasca. Unlimited appetizers include polenta and banana poppers, and a gourmet salad bar features whipped potatoes, Brazilian black-bean stew, and grilled veggies with parmesan cheese. Everything is homemade, including the desserts and the specialty limeades concocted from fresh limes and sweet cream. Because the menu is centered on meat and vegetables, 90% of the restaurant's dishes are gluten-free and wouldn't know the first thing about how to approach a carb at a dance party.
In business for 30 years, Nick's Comedy Stop has served as an essential venue for up-and-coming comedians, having hosted Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and other notable jesters before their big breaks. The venue hosts shows twice a week, featuring hilarious headliners, emerging comics, and moments of silence for misunderstood punch lines.
The Webster opened as an art-deco movie house more than 70 years ago, and in 1992, the theater and its employees’ slang were both restored to their original condition. Today, the stage monopolizes a major portion of the big-name acts passing through Hartford, with previous headliners including Whitesnake, Henry Rollins, and Cake. A wide-open orchestra invites dancing, and a more-relaxed loge area lets guests coolly survey the action onstage and in the audience.
Twin Springs Golf Course presents memorable shot-making challenges in a nine-hole, par 34 course that meanders through tree-speckled meadowland and small, rolling hills. The course's two eponymous springs come into play on all but three holes, forcing players to fight off swirling winds, large sand traps, and the impulse to chop down intervening trees with underperforming irons. At Twin Springs' signature hole, the 318-yard, par 4 sixth, golfers can opt to reach the green in two with conservative, 150-yard shots around a dog-leg left fairway or go for the green in one by cutting the corner with a Herculean drive that must soar over a gallery of towering pine trees. Golfers can stretch their swing at Twin Springs' driving range, where PGA teaching professional Bob Keene presides over private and group lessons. The aromas of sandwiches and appetizers emanate from the Twin Springs Bar & Cafe, which lets guests enjoy a post-round nosh while watching live sports or catching a cool breeze on the spacious outdoor deck. Visitors can also relax in the club’s new lounge or host small events such as a bridal shower, birthday party, or team meeting in the banquet space.
Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Escape has three homes: Below Howl at the Moon in Boston, New England Seafood Restaurant & Lounge in Methuen, and Park Grill & Spirits in Worcester. While the Methuen and Worcester locations bear the name Dick Doherty's Beantown Comedy Escape, the Boston location is known as Dick's Beantown Comedy Den. The Boston location recently moved to the Comedy Den from their previous location at the Vault, where they hosted standup comedians, including Dane Cook, who held a weekly gig there for more than a year, and fellow Boston natives Bill Burr and Joe Rogan. Dick Doherty's comedy clubs as a whole continue to detonate laugh dynamite with their rotating casts of national and local comedians.
Nearly a century ago, the Hippodrome opened as a combination movie palace and vaudeville theater, spending more than 70 years hosting big names such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Following a double-decade period of slow business and bad hairstyles, the Hippodrome closed down in 1990. Now, however, after an exhaustive restoration project that reanimated the theater’s chandelier-lit arches, the mural above the proscenium stage, and the grand-theater boxes that hearken back to opera’s heyday, the Hippodrome reopens to the delight of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.