Nightlife in Rocky Mount

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South Main Speedway lets customers mix and match rounds of mini golf and go-kart racing to fashion a full day of family-friendly recreation. Clamber into a one- or two-seater speed machine to race friends, loved ones, and renegade Mario Kart characters for 15 ferocious laps around the Speedway’s sinuous track (a $6 value/race). Then, head to the outdoor putt-putt course (a $6 value/game) to send dimpled balls skittering past squat shrubs, plashing waterfalls, and nostalgic windmill operators into 18 waiting holes. The Groupon's eight games or races can be parceled out to multiple people on a single day, facilitating bonding within families or semipro hide-and-seek teams. Afterward, venture outside to browse The Factory's complex of shops, restaurants, and sports facilities.

1839 S Main St
Wake Forest,
NC
US

Laugh Out Loud hosts well-established laugh conjurers and undiscovered comedic masterminds capable of leaving the audience doubled over in harmonized chuckles. Past Laugh Out Loud audience-slayers have graced the stages of HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central, and upcoming performers include musical comedian Ron Feingold, who produces a cappella backup, lead, and percussive vocals with his three separate mouths (July 28–30). Lyndel Pleasant, a former stagemate of Chris Rock, weaves anecdotes of marriage and fatherhood into his act (August 4–6), and Ward Anderson, author of The Ultimate Bachelor’s Guide, tackles audiences with his physical comedy (August 11–13). All shows last approximately two hours and showcase three comedians or one mythical hydra that wants to know what the deal is with airplane peanuts.

8928 US 70 Bus Hwy W
Clayton,
NC
US

Backyard Bistro’s menu is rich in barbecue traditions that are upheld by the resident pit master. A level-seven sage of the barbecue pit, this wise individual slow-cooks pork in handcrafted cast-iron pit smokers for a potent punch to the tastebuds. Barbecue items such as the beef brisket ($13.50) and the ½ lb. slow-roasted pork barbecue ($9.95) are roasted overnight to bring ultimate moisture and smoky flavors to each bite (both items include choice of two sides). Also served with two sides, the ribs are rubbed down with Backyard’s signature rub and slow roasted until the tender meat slides down the bone easier than pigs down backyard Slip ‘n Slides ($18.95 full rack/$13.95 half rack). In addition to the tender, smoky barbecue options, diners can also tuck into the steak ($21–$23), fish ($12.95–$16.95), burgers ($8.50–$12.50), and sandwiches ($7.50–$12.95). Backyard Bistro serves food until midnight every night of the week.

1235 Hurricane Alley Way
Raleigh,
NC
US

The building has been there for generations, beneath a neon "Restaurant" sign that used to serve as a beacon of sustenance for WWII-era soldiers stationed nearby. Decades later, under that same sign, people still show up in search of food, and more importantly, in search of drink. This historic spot is now the home of Brewmasters Bar & Grill, a taproom that celebrates North Carolina brewers with its selection of nearly 100 craft brews. "Beer geeks," as Brewmasters likes to call them, can discover local suds from Big Boss and Crank Arm mixed in with nationally renowned beers such as Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.

Of course, beer is also integral to the food menu. On it, guests will find pork belly braised in brown ale and beer-battered onion rings. The kitchen makes many of their ingredients in-house, including spinach dip forged from a family recipe and Brewmasters' signature candied bacon with jalapeño-apple jelly. As guests tackle their meals, they can study a state map that pinpoints North Carolina's best-loved breweries and least-invisible rivers.

301 W Martin St
Raleigh,
NC
US

Tiny combustions and the smell of butter emanate from Goodnight's Comedy Club's vintage popcorn maker as nationally touring standups such as Marc Maron and Ralphie May step up to the mic. With a brick wall behind them and a checkered floor below, these headliners spin their comic yarns as popcorn, Buffalo wings, and cocktails deftly land on tables. In addition to its cabaret menu of apps and drinks, the club is connected to two restaurants. Every month, the mostly private Grille at Goodnight's unveils a new menu of upscale American fare, from prime rib to lobster mac n cheese and pumpkin ravioli that turns into carriage ravioli at midnight. The Old Bar Restaurant and Bar resides underneath Goodnight's, treating diners to more casual fare in the form of burgers and Tex-Mex platters.

861 W Morgan St
Raleigh,
NC
US

The chefs at Draft Carolina Burgers & Beers craft specialty burgers out of high-grade, local beef, boasting an extensive array of chuck cylinders alongside salads, sandwiches, and shareable appetizers. Every day, grass-fed Angus beef is ground in-house, eventually transforming into finger-bound feasts such as the Southern Lovin', a burger topped with fried green tomatoes, Holly Grove Farms goat cheese, bacon, and balsamic. Thanks to their partnership with the Mash House Brewery, Draft Carolina's bartenders decant ice-cold brews such as the Mash House blonde and the Mash House IPA, which won the 2001 Great American Beer Festival medal for Hoppy Hour IPA. Billiards and shuffleboard make ideal after-dinner entertainment, and a casual, welcoming atmosphere greets diners inhabiting all points of the monocle-to-jorts fanciness scale.

510 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh,
NC
US