Top of the Hops Beer Festival Stretching along the northern Gulf Coast, The Wharf Marina serves as the picturesque venue for the Top of the Hops Beer Festival, a celebration of the craft-beer industry. Abita Brewing Company, a Louisiana outfit known for its large variety of seasonal and flagship brews, joins local sponsors, including Maggie's Bottle & Tail and Alabama Gulf Seafood, in hailing the beloved concoctions made of barley, wheat, and hop leaves known for their ability to inspire Elizabethan conversational skills. The festival introduces patrons to tastes of more than 150 craft brews and offers a variety of beer-related seminars.
Funny Bone Comedy Club boasts an ever-changing marquee of headlining laughsmiths to elicit audience guffaws. Groupon buyers can pick from a full calendar of upcoming shows, including a set from HBO and Comedy Central veteran Mark Sweeney (November 8–13), who uses laconic sarcasm and a quiver of peacock feathers to tickle guests' ribcages. Cajun comic John Morgan (November 16–20) channels his parallel career as a motivational speaker to engage with table-bound attendees, summoning up resonant humor about everyday life. Actor and comedian Rahn Ramey (November 22–27) brings finely honed improv skills to his standup routine, tossing off spontaneous jokes and effortlessly dodging paper airplanes thrown by hecklers.
Certified dance instructors who have trained with Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, and the National Dance Council of America impart ballroom, Latin, and swing moves to dancers in all-level and wedding-specific courses. The main ballroom's mammoth disco ball, grown from a sequin planted on the roof, tosses light across a blacked-out ceiling that, along with high-tech lighting, fosters a nightclub atmosphere during weekly dance parties.
Canadian electrofunk duo Chromeo exhales party-starting inertia, kicking off its Night Falls Tour by rolling out a carpet of dance-floor passports. Melding the talents of guitarist, vocalist, and French-literature buff Dave 1 with the dexterous fingers and throwback savvy of synthmaster P-Thugg, Chromeo has earned reverence from funkophiles for its slick grooves and mastery of jam architecture. With PBRs in hand, Groupon buyers can expect congenial beats, riffing Moogs, and song craft that father-and-son yachts can enjoy together in support of the band's latest album, Business Casual. Inflating the soulful evening, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne channels wandering Motown spirits with a retroactive Detroit sound, and French funk enthusiast Breakbot sets the scene with genre jumping and remixes that rumble like tubas in a Cuisinart.
Owning a bar was not Patrick Sullivan's primary life goal. "Archaeologist" claimed that title, but after three years of kneeling in the dirt digging holes and finding nothing but Martian bones, he decided that wasn't the life for him. When he came to his parents with his idea of opening a bar, he was in for a shock: instead of scolding him for throwing away a good career, his parents approved. His mother even volunteered to be his business partner. A second shock came when three months before Patrick was set to have all the money he needed, his mother was killed in an accident. To honor her wishes, Patrick's father took on her responsibilities to the business, and in 2005, Government Street Grocery opened to the public.
The welcoming vibe beyond the bar's neon-splashed front doors is a fitting tribute to Patrick's mother, as local art lines the walls and live bands regularly fill the space with the danceable rhythms of blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, and rock tunes. As guests take in the entertainment, they can savor a plethora of hearty bar food ranging from 100% Angus burgers to massive muffuletta sandwiches to vegetarian options such as veggie burgers and falafel wraps. And then, of course, there's the beer. An ever-changing lineup of craft brews from Rogue, Abita, New Belgium, and other producers pour into pint glasses, while those of a more spirited persuasion sip cocktails mixed from premium spirits at the full bar.