The satisfying clap of a cue ball making a perfect break sounds out, followed by a round of clicks as the colorful spheres bounce across green felt. The smell of steak fills the room, and glasses of beer clink on the bar. A couple gets up to dance across the hardwood floor as a local band plays. On Wednesday nights, a rousing selection of more than 28,000 karaoke songs—updated weekly—offers crooners the chance to finally sing the extended concert version of "Happy Birthday." Flat-screen TVs glow over rows of tables, where freshly formed, half-pound burgers rest on plates during lunch and dinner.
The menu at MacGregor's Public House reads like an atlas of the Scottish highlands. The burgers—such as the Pentland with cool tzatziki—are each named for a region of the little nation. Composed of lamb and beef, the juicy patties are hormone- and antibiotic-free and carry inventive toppings such as pan-fried pastrami and Granny Smith coleslaw. Shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips further the sensation that one has stepped into a public house in the Scottish countryside, and pies made from scratch cool, their golden crusts covered with melting ice cream like a bad magician at third grader’s birthday.
Sharing a roof with its parent organization, The Salvation Army, the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center's fine arts and education program nurtures the dramatic arts with a focus on bringing family-friendly productions to the stage of its Kroc Theater. Big River takes a musical theater approach to Mark Twain's beloved The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the community-minded cast and crew works hard on their year’s biggest production, giving Mr. Clements his due by putting on a show as thrilling as hitching a ride on the beard of a passing giant. Accompanied by the original award-winning score by Roger Miller, the all-local troupe passionately enacts lively Huck Finn and his valiant effort to help his friend Jim, a slave, reach independence at the mouth of the Ohio River.
Cinebarre combines a slate of first-run movies with a courteous, alcohol-enhanced atmosphere and crave-worthy kitchen concoctions. The menu features items with movie-inspired names, allowing cinephiles to pick a dish that aligns with their preferred genre or favorite Bill Paxton performance. Take teeth to the made-from-scratch pizza playground with the Chicken Run, topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce ($13). The Blue Velvet Burger––ground in-house––piles a juicy half-pounder with blue cheese, buffalo hot sauce, burger toppings, and a kick of chipotle mayo ($10). Appetizers, such as Some Like It Hot Wings ($9) and Lord of the Onion Rings ($7), make arduous journeys to melt into a copious selection of wine and local craft beers, as well as mixed drinks, including the Lolita Margarita ($6).
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
Capitol City Theater draws on deep local talent pools to provide a dynamic display of on-the-spot comedy for the smile-deprived masses. Each show lasts 90 minutes and features a family-friendly revue of improvised performance games. Acts draw on the suggestions of audience members, provided they promise not to suggest Millard Fillmore or seahorse mating rituals, the only two subjects scientifically proven to have no inherent comedic value. Though Capitol City comedy shows are always all-ages, beverages and alcohol-enhancing snacks are available. Today’s Groupon is also good for two adult drinks (up to $8 value); choose from beer, wine, soda, or surprisingly mature bottled water. There is one intermission during the hour-and-a-half show, so you’ll still be able to check stock quotes for your plucky cryogenics start-up.