Trout's proudly and strongly retains the music traditions that were imported to Bakersfield via underground honky-tonk pipelines in the 1940s. The nightclub/dance hall/saloon offers up live music nightly ($5 cover charge), with area instrumentalists, karaoke aces, and mysterious, guitar-slinging drifters with hat brims pulled over their eyes taking to the Trout's Legends or Blackboard stages. Toast the sound of house band the Blackboard Playboys with a drink ($2.50–$8), or train your heels to boot, scoot, and boogie with Trout's line dance classes ($5), offered throughout the week. Trout's also houses an extensive collection of authentic memorabilia ($5–$2,000), with signed celebrity guitars and artifacts from the "Bakersfield sound" era of country music, made famous by belt-buckled Bakersfield residents Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
As if the hearty burgers and bubbly beer weren't enough of a draw, Amestoy's on the Hill lavishes patrons in a sense of warmth and community that it's been honing since 1948. The local institution boasts plenty of history in addition to its carefully crafted sandwiches and spirits, and offers a strong sense of community with events such as karaoke, Superbowl parties, and chili cook-offs.
When the owners of Crawdaddy's decided to put a little bit of New Orleans' distinctive flair right in the heart of Visalia, they knew it would take more than great cuisine. What makes New Orleans so unforgettable is that it caters to all the senses and makes the smallest outing a special event. To fill that tall order, they took residence in a spacious facility that could be an exciting venue for music, parties, libations, food, and sporting events, all in one electric, lively place.
The second-floor dining room welcomes guests with a menu of fresh seafood such as blackened catfish and bayou butter prawns. A fully stocked bar wets whistles, and balcony seating offers couples a romantic setting under the stars?all 50 of them. Meanwhile, more than a dozen flat-screen TVs light up the crowd in the first floor's sports bar, where a mixologist whips up creative cocktails and TVs whip up the big game. In the dining area of the first floor, Keith and the Crawdads treat diners to lively tunes during the evening, and on the second level the nightclub sends crowds into fits of dance spasms as late-night DJs spin everything from hip-hop to disco six days a week.
Raul and Maria Gutierrez were raised on fajitas in their native Mexico, where many families raise their own chickens and make tortillas by hand. After honing their culinary skills in several Houston restaurants, the couple chased their dreams to Fresno, where Fajita Fiesta was born. Instead of sprouting from a pinto bean, the eatery sprang from one of the Gutierrez’s favorite dishes: tacos al carbon, a union of handcrafted tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, and charbroiled steak, chicken, or pork. Made fresh every hour, the tortillas serve as a canvas for creativity by exhibiting savories such as grilled shrimp, onions, and poblano peppers. For deep-fried fare such as chimichangas and sopapillas, Raul and Maria use canola oil to minimize saturated fat. Margaritas add a heady kick to the evening's festivities, and horchatas end meals on a sweet cinnamon note, with textures smoother than a freshly shorn saxophone. The kitchen also caters feasts for a variety of events, filling bellies with hearty chicken moles and bite-size eats such as mini taquitos.
For over 20 years, Austin’s Sanger menu has inspired mouths to stop talking about their screenplay and dive into a hearty waffle breakfast with bacon or sausage and an egg ($6.65), Austin’s classic half-pound burger ($7.45), or an ultra-tender pot-roast platter smothered in gravy and roasted iron cauldrons and served with carrots, onions, and mashed potatoes ($10.45). Hopelessly lost University of Texas students, meanwhile, can find solace in Austin’s Downtown Grill and Sports Bar's menu, starting with the black-bean chili cheese fries ($6.99) or the bacon-, cheese-, and spinach-stuffed mushroom caps ($7.99). After appetizers, carnivorous customers can try out a slow-roasted half chicken ($12.99) or a 12-ounce coffee-rubbed rib-eye steak ($17.99) while seated on a large coffee beanbag chair. In Sanger, slake a terrible thirst with domestic and imported beers along with wines from the local Fresno State, Gibson, and Cedar View wineries. The downtown pub, on the other tentacle, boasts 17 beers on tap and in gilded spittoons scattered throughout the spacious interior.
The most beloved entree on Fibber McGee's dinner menu is its black and bleu filet ($28), 9 ounces of meat rolled in black pepper, topped with melted bleu cheese, and served with soup or salad, fresh vegetables, choice of potato or rice pilaf, and ciabatta bread. Fresno foodies, though, can work their way up to it by sinking teeth-tritons into the sweet-potato fries appetizer ($4.75) or the grilled artichoke starter ($6.95) served with spicy mayo. Carnivoyagers may wish to chart a course for the rib-eye steak sandwich ($13.75) or the corned beef and cabbage ($11.95). A selection of pasta dishes and salads are also available, as well as a lunch menu with sandwiches and burgers, including the 1/3-pound Fibber McGee burger ($7.95), topped with swiss cheese, avocado, and bacon—the holy trinity of hamburger heap-ons.