Voted Best Student Hangout and one of the best venues for live music and performances by the Kalamazoo Gazette, The Strutt presents crowd-pleasing American fare and nightly musical entertainment for stimulating study breaks or an evening out. The menus feature appetizers that include the black-bean-queso dip ($5.95), and heartier stomach stuffers, such as The Sloppy José, which puts a spicy, south-of-the-border spin on a classic dish ($4.95). Meanwhile, meat eschewers can chew on plentiful vegetarian options, including the roasted-veggie quesadilla ($5.95) or the Blue Apple salad, with apples, raisins, red onion, toasted almonds, and gorgonzola tossed in shallot vinaigrette ($6.95). A full bar, extensive beer list, and nightly drink specials complement any meal or musical act, and the plentiful brunch –– with live jazz on Saturday and bluegrass on Sunday –– and breakfast make this spot a go-to from day to day after.
Laugh Out Loud, sister club to Rivercenter Comedy Club, hosts well-established laugh conjurers and undiscovered comedic masterminds capable of leaving the 400-seat showroom doubled over in harmonized chuckles. Past Laugh Out Loud and Rivercenter audience-slayers include Carlos Mencia, Tommy Chong, Chris Rock, and Engelbert Humperdinck. This Groupon is good for two tickets to any of the club’s regular shows (special events are excluded), so check the calendar to find a show that sates your comedic taste buds. Once you’re settled into your seat or hammock, use the $5 food voucher toward any food item on the menu, such as chips and salsa, a mixed green salad (under $5 each), or fried pickles ($5.95), each of which is specially prepared to fit precisely into a smiling mouth.
Dubbing the theater “The Palace” when it opened in 1921, Chicago architect J.S. Aroner strove to capture a regal ambiance with a patchwork of diverse, though uniformly opulent, building styles. Patrons today can spot baroque, Greco-Roman, and even art-deco designs as they drift through the restored rose, blue, and cream entryway. But in 1959, The Palace was crumbling, and it seemed that future generations would miss out on this aesthetic experience. A concerned citizen by the name of Mrs. Ella Morris swooped in, though, purchasing the building for an undisclosed sum and then selling it back to the city for $1, which she promptly blew on gumballs. Newly named, the theater welcomed such acts as Louis Armstrong, REO Speedwagon, and Fleetwood Mac in the ensuing decades until a major, two-year overhaul began in 1998. Now restored to its original condition, the venue hosts standup acts, Broadway musicals, big-name concert performances, and fully produced ballets.
“The South Bend area has needed an upscale, high energy comedy club for a long time,” says James Witty and Derek Davis, the business partners who ended South Bend’s comedy drought by opening The Drop Comedy Club in November 2012. The bustling venue keeps its calendar packed with visits from headlining comedians who have appeared on major networks such as NBC and Comedy Central. It also directs the spotlight toward up-and-comers ascending the comedy ranks, as well as a stable of house comics on call for all funny-bone emergencies. The club also sports a restaurant and a full bar that cater to social mingling, romantic dinners, or diners who want to stifle heckles from growling stomachs.
Laughter bubbles up from a crowded floor, echoing back to a rear balcony while bouncing off sports-bar accouterments: neon beer signs, flags for Notre Dame or Indiana. It could be normal weekend night at any watering hole—except everyone is facing the same direction, their attention locked on the stage. And that's a normal night at the Laugh Comedy Club, where nationally touring standups ply their jokes until people who weren't even drinking milk squirt milk out their nose. Nearby a full bar keeps glasses filled with tasty potations and a kitchen turns out a menu of pub fare.