The fun-loving teachers at Uptown Art: West Palm Beach believe they can teach anyone to paint work they'll be proud of. Child brush wielders get inspiration from helpful instructors who mentor them in their strokes, and adult classes find similar guidance from both the pro painters and their own BYOB beverages. The airy downtown studio attracts budding painters to its varied schedule of evening painting classes and daytime children's classes that span up to three festive hours of guided artmaking. Students return home with their masterpieces at their sides, each based on a class topic such as a homage to a beloved pet, a poignant still-life of potted flowers, or a self-portrait that looks suspiciously like Audrey Hepburn.
You can squeeze a lot of jokes into a decade—and even more into two. The masterminds behind Side Splitters use more than 20 years of experience in the comedy industry to create rich experiences for audiences and comics alike. A jam-packed roster of performers with credits as impressive as Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Comedy Central file onto the Knoxville club's stage to explain in great detail exactly how the audience's refrigerator is running and what they might wish to do in order to catch it. Regular open-mic nights let budding and established stand-ups hone their skills and sets, and a menu filled with drinks, sandwiches, and snacks provides visitors on both sides of the mic with sustenance.
At Old City Entertainment Venue, revelers sip stylish libations, dine on gourmet snacks, and find time to dance amidst rustic brick walls and creative lighting. Patrons savor cocktails such as the Caribbean Bliss or 007 martini ($9) and absorb glasses of the signature sangria ($4). Bottles of wine ($16+), like lonely chefs, find their matches on a menu of sophisticated snacks such as the Four Cheese flat bread pizza with asiago, jack, feta, and mozzarella ($6.50). The roasted corn and feta salsa with blue corn tortilla chips or pita bread ($5) makes a colorful nosh, and the chocolate plate poses desserters with a threefold choice of blends, selected from dark, milk, strawberry-drenching, and sun-blotting chocolates ($14). Thursday through Saturday, the dance floor comes to life as kinetic lighting ricochets off brick archways and hanging curtains, sealing meals with bumping beats and good vibes.
The Bijou’s origins stretch back through American history, but it didn’t become a theater until relatively recently: 1908. For nearly a century prior to its dramaturgical reinvention, the building was a high-class hotel that housed high-ranking military commanders, influential civic leaders, and even President Andrew Jackson for a spell in 1819. When General Ambrose Burnside took the town of Knoxville during the Civil War, the hotel was converted into a hospital, makeshift war room, and oil-wrestling arena for Generals William Sherman and Phil Sheridan. The latter portion of the 19th century showed the building more favor, and during the lavish 1870s another president—Rutherford B. Hayes—paid call, and delivered a speech from the hotel’s balcony.
The early 1900s saw the hotel’s biggest renovation to date when it was purchased and upgraded by the Auditorium Company. The newly rechristened Bijou Theatre opened to a sellout crowd, and was a major outlet for vaudeville from 1913 to 1926. Hard times began to pile up soon afterward, and the lapsed theater would have been demolished in 1975 were it not for its eleventh-hour listing on the National Historic Record. Since its most recent renovation in 2006, the stage has hosted pop stars and musical blockbusters.
Armada combines the old and new throughout its space and menus. An analog clock with a vintage map, chandelier-like light fixtures with crystal strands, and a model tall ship contribute to the space's antique-inspired aesthetic, and the gastropub's plush leather couches and a granite bar demonstrate its modern influences.
Blending classic and contemporary elements continues with Armada's offerings. The bartenders prepare a wide variety of Prohibition-era staples and design unique drinks using house-made bitters and ginger beer and other specialty ingredients, such as coconut foam and hibiscus. Visitors seeking bolder libations can ask the bartenders to invent brand-new cocktails on the spot. The food menu demonstrates a similarly adventurous spirit, as evidenced by items such as the crackers with sriracha-tinged cream cheese and the pizza made with roasted red-pepper hummus and cheddar.
Brackins Blues Club pairs deep-fried fare and more than 100 international beers with live music several nights a week on a small, window-backed stage. As guitar riffs fill their ears, diners can reach into a basket of 10 hot, mild, or teriyaki chicken wings, strumming along on wing bones, or jump into a fried-mushroom or loaded potato-bite appetizer. For entrees, a bed of french fries lays the starchy foundation for chicken tenders, shrimp, or North Atlantic cod fried in Brackins' own beer batter, and a half-pound cheesesteak sandwich tops a toasted hoagie roll with chopped steak and melted american cheese. Diners can reenact hamster ball demolition derbies on the bar's pool table, or move to the outdoor patio and bask in a cool, refreshing cascade of water balloons.