The flames at Prime American Grille have escaped the kitchen. Not only do they live inside the sizzling-hot grill, they also exist atop flickering candles and inside the dining room's roaring fireplace. Flame-kissed rib-eye and new york strip steaks arrive at tables coated in house-made peppercorn, gorgonzola, or mushroom-and-onion sauces. Chefs also bolster their menu with ocean-fresh seafood, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Bottles of wine litter a massive rack inside the restaurant's dining room, which boasts a warm color palette, dark woods, and strategically placed mirrors that make the space feel airy and light, like a helium balloon filled with tossed salad. On the weekends, Prime American Grille pulses with live music from DJs and bands, and each night, diners can sit at the full bar to watch sports on seven flat-screen televisions.
Tommy’s Tanning offers customers more than two dozen bronzing options, from single-session spray tans for special occasions to yearly memberships inside five levels of tanning beds. The vertical and horizontal beds imbue skin with color while cooling faces and playing music for a more comfortable tanning session. For UV-free color, VersaSpa spray-tanning booths coat the skin in a streak-free glow, all while the client stands in a comfortable, wide-open interior.
Ballou’s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou’s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they’ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader’s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.
Black Bear Saloon roars back at growling stomachs with pub-style American eats dished out amid the cheers and jeers of an energized sports bar. Perched along the walls, flat-screen TVs broadcast big games as diners voyage through waves of russian dressing that flow between the Kodiak sandwich's layers of turkey breast, bacon, and swiss cheese. Late-night menus keep guests content past midnight, and entertainment events, such as live shows by DJs and local bands, accompany bites while snuffing out the other senses' plans to go on strike. Staying true to its outdoorsy influences, Black Bear also offers the Cub Campfire dessert—a chance for diners to make s'mores right at their table.
Having recorded for such esteemed labels as Columbia Masterworks and Koch International Classics, Orchestra New England showcases masterful musicianship through performances of works by classical, romantic, and modern composers throughout the year. A yearly celebration of the sounds and sages of the baroque era, Baroquefest 2011 will feature guest harpsichordist Linda Skernick and selections such as Bach's Concerto in A Minor and Telemann's Tafelmusik III. "Soiree" explores the music of Vienna in the 1920s, as the orchestra will perform Schoenberg's arrangements of Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun, Mahler's Symphony no. 4, and excerpts from Thomas Edison's short-lived heavy metal band, The Draconian Lightbülbs. The premiere of a new work by composer-in-residence Mark Kuss, "Sounds. Distant." explores community displacement in China and features native Chinese musicians. The "Sounds. Distant." concert will also feature performances of works by Ives, Elgar, Bartok, Schubert, and more.
Joker's Wild Comedy Club's stage showcases comics drawn from both the national touring circuit and the local scene. The intimate venue, which recently replaced its space-hogging booths with brand-new seats, features headlining comedians who fill Thursday–Saturday evenings with laughter during 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. shows. On Wednesday night, fledgling funny folk strive for their five minutes of fame at open mic night. Joker’s Wild also runs its own School of Comedy, where budding comedians can chase their dreams of cracking up audiences and keeping glasses of water on a stool. The club’s full menu of pub food mutes growling stomachs with appetizers and entrees for patrons hoping to perfect an onion-ring spit take.