Founded to stage bold new theatrical works, Spotlight Theatre presents classics, dramas, comedies, and musicals. The theater boasts high-caliber production quality, homegrown talent, and a suspended net of tapioca-filled balloons to be dropped on audience members that linger too long after the show. The 2010–2011 season (the theater's eleventh) features nine works, including adaptations of Hamlet, The Producers, and Dreamgirls. The Drowsy Chaperone offers the whimsical tale of a diehard musical-theater fan that plays his favorite cast album and then watches in awe as the music literally bursts into life. The Great American Trailer Park Musical tells the story of a ménage à trois involving Pippi (a stripper on the run) and a married couple living in a trailer park in Florida, with a special appearance by a chorus line of trained tap-dancing alligators during intermission.
California Keyboards Music Center has sharpened the ears and tamed the wandering digits of the Southern Valley for more than 35 years. Each weekly 30-minute lesson is taught by instructors whose performance resumés include enlivening Carnegie Hall, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and treading alongside jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
Trout's proudly and strongly retains the music traditions that were imported to Bakersfield via underground honky-tonk pipelines in the 1940s. The nightclub/dance hall/saloon offers up live music nightly ($5 cover charge), with area instrumentalists, karaoke aces, and mysterious, guitar-slinging drifters with hat brims pulled over their eyes taking to the Trout's Legends or Blackboard stages. Toast the sound of house band the Blackboard Playboys with a drink ($2.50–$8), or train your heels to boot, scoot, and boogie with Trout's line dance classes ($5), offered throughout the week. Trout's also houses an extensive collection of authentic memorabilia ($5–$2,000), with signed celebrity guitars and artifacts from the "Bakersfield sound" era of country music, made famous by belt-buckled Bakersfield residents Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
Grab a local brew, and take a seat. This brewery has everything you’ll need for a great night out. Try the Centennial Ale (6.5% ABV), which takes the traditional IPA and turns it on its head with a spicy hop flavor. If you’d like something a bit stronger, the Zeus Imperial Ale (9.7% ABV) is aged to perfection in empty bourbon barrels to add a unique, smoky flavor. Why not grab a bite with your brews? A full menu of delicious entrees are available. Check out the Stinky Chili Mac n Cheese, which is a spicy all-meat chili on top of a layer of homemade macaroni and cheese, covered with the house specialty Stinky Fries.
Pour Sports Pub?s bartenders keep patrons? glasses filled with wine, craft beer, and hard liquor concoctions. The assortment of libations pairs with a menu of classic pub food, including nachos, tacos, and hot dogs served plain or slathered in chili and melted cheese. Guests can enjoy a bite to eat while watching sports on the many TVs, or in between turns at the shuffleboard table or pool table. And just like any respectable bar, Pour Sports Pub hosts karaoke nights that allow guests to channel their inner Mariah Carey or yodeling grandfather.
As if the hearty burgers and bubbly beer weren't enough of a draw, Amestoy's on the Hill lavishes patrons in a sense of warmth and community that it's been honing since 1948. The local institution boasts plenty of history in addition to its carefully crafted sandwiches and spirits, and offers a strong sense of community with events such as karaoke, Superbowl parties, and chili cook-offs.