As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
According to a 2009 Newsobserver.com profile, Backyard Bistro knows a thing or two about ribs. To create this St. Louis?style specialty, the Bistro encrusts the pork in a dry spice rub and leaves it to bask in heat and hickory smoke for three hours. They then wrap each rack in aluminum foil with a splash of apple juice, returning them to the smoker for another four hours before charring them on the grill under a glaze of tangy or sweet barbecue sauce. The Bistro also stokes up the smoker to tenderize the dry-rubbed pork shoulder??another specialty??for 12 whole hours, while slices of juicy beef brisket await to be smothered between hefty slabs of white bread and saddled next to sides such as crisp coleslaw, Mama T's potato salad, and baked beans.
The menu of barbecue and American comfort food represent the efforts of several local businesses. Brioche rolls for burgers and english muffins for benedicts are sourced from La Farm Bakery, then crowned with organic, hydroponic bibb lettuce and beef from Angus Barn or poached eggs and canadian bacon. The bar's 16 taps pour Bud Light and Belgian-style Backyard Brew, the locally brewed house draft, to cool meals taken out on the patio or into a neighbor's hot tub, while inside it's all about sports. Five big-screen TVs broadcast every play in high definition, and speakers at each table give diners the option of turning down the volume if they'd rather tune out
Passersby peer through Center City Bar & Grille's window to spot hungry carousers noshing tasty, high-end pub dishes during lunch, dinner, and into the wee hours. A delectable blend of southern favorites and homemade touches pepper the menu. Douse the fried green tomatoes ($5) into their homemade ranch dipping sauce before consuming the succulent Southern fried chicken breast ($9), served with garlic mashed potatoes, collards, and onion gravy. To practice simple hand-beef coordination, pick up the Old Southern Favorite burger ($5.75) with homemade pimento cheese, bacon, and fried green tomato, or try the fish and chips ($12), served Southern-style. Many finger-lickin' specials rotate daily, so don't hesitate to solicit a knowledgeable server for the rolodex.
The chefs at Phoenix Grille whip up sophisticated regional fare to be enjoyed with seventh-story views of Wake Forest's BB&T Field. They bathe local flounder in orange-basil butter and add the savory flavor of country ham to their shrimp and grits and scallop entrees. Their hearty Angus steaks sate refined appetites better than origami swan steaks, and decadent desserts such as house lemon pound cake sweetly seal the meal.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Customers won't find any heat lamps within The Wing Co.'s kitchen, but that doesn't mean their made-to-order wings aren't hot. Instead, the increased temperatures come from nine sauces, which run the gamut from sweet chili to Cajun to teriyaki. However, the cooks aren’t content to just spread sauce on wings. Upon customer request, they can also splash the tasty liquids over salads, riblets, and sandwiches—including their signature wing burger.
Matching the wings’ heat is the dining room's firefighter-themed decor. Hardhats and helmets double as lampshades, while firefighter boots, tanks, and clothing hang from the walls, in case of an emergency costume party.