It's rare to witness a moment of silence at J&A Tap, where the air is constantly filled with the tinkle of clinking glasses full of craft beer and the melodies of live musicians and possibly melodious karaoke singers. On warm summer days, whistles and cheers waft in from lively volleyball games taking place out on the pub's two sandy courts. And in the kitchen, there's always the sizzle of grills and the hiss of frying pans as chefs whip up housemade burgers, crispy seafood, and sausage-speckled pizzas.
2011's Firecracker 500 Festival serves up more than 20 eclectic garage-rock groups bent on rocking an all-ages-audience's socks off over three thrash-filled days. Bands such as White Mystery and Pitchfork-reviewed quartet The Coathangers kick out jams with riot-grrrl grit, and headliners The Strange Boys shred psychedelic hooks sharper than Jimi Hendrix's diamond-tipped mustache-trimmers. The festival's full roster of up-and-coming acts can expose most attendees' ears to new shrieks and sounds.
While it is not possible to have a review for an upcoming event, the Englert Civic Theatre is an Editors' Pick on 10best.com for Iowa City attractions and was voted by Cityvoters as being the #2 Best Theater in 2010, and the #1 Best Theater in 2009.
Although most patrons won't meet the eponymous Carl or Ernie of Carl & Ernie's Good Time Pub and Grub, they will certainly meet the pub's most famous resident: its life-sized Clydesdale statue. The horse looks out from the corner of the bar, watching games of darts and serving as a beacon to the bar's long allegiance with Budweiser. But Budweiser isn't the pub's only beer. Bartenders serve up a full range of drinks and drafts, which can be paired with classic pub food. The nightly specials include pizza, tacos, and tenderloins. Guests can snack on these foods as they watch the Hawkeyes play, sing some karaoke, or sit on the patio to estimate the returns on selling umbrellas that double as sundials.