"The Nick" showcases alternative, foreign, and art-house films in a theater steeped in the stylings of Hollywood. Beyond the elegant marquee lights, in a smoothly styled lobby, the walls are accented with stained-glass detailing comedy and tragedy masks. The retro chic movie house boasts two intimate and two large screens, which will soon play host to a bevy of upcoming shows. Current features include Academy Award nominees Black Swan, Another Year, The Illusionist, and Biutiful, the story of a crime boss who is diagnosed with a serious illness which forces him to reconcile his good intentions with his lawless lifestyle.
Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall’s menu offers diners a vast array of beers, burgers, and meal-worthy sandwiches. Win your stomach’s heart with a hearty starter such as the fish and chips with salmon ($12.99) or the garlic- and cheddar-slathered steak fries ($7.49). European-influenced sandwiches such as the calamari steak sandwich ($11.99) treat taste buds to joy akin to being entitled 10 weeks’ paid vacation. The fiesta jalapeno burger, meanwhile, puts guacamole, jack cheese, and jalapenos on a half-pound patty for a party that ends best if no one rubs their eyes ($9.79). Herbivores can dig into the veggie pocket, which packs pita bread with sprouts, tomatoes, pine nuts, mushrooms, and more ($9.79). A gigantic, gourmet beer list boasting 43 brews on tap helps to inject domestic dinners with a cultured cosmopolitanism. A kids’ menu is available for humans with smaller stomachs and fewer dendrochronology rings.
Every week, The Palomar Ballroom's 80-year-old space reverberates with a DJ's Latin beats and synchronized salsa shimmies. Beneath a baroque chandelier, couples twirl passionately enough for the New York Times to deem this salsa party the "spiciest spot downtown." Owner and award-winning ballroom dancer Jeremy Pilling prizes the supportive atmosphere that allows his students to commingle at these parties, whose themes can also cover Argentine tango and swing.
To lead up to its festivities, The Palomar Ballroom hosts drop-in classes, weekly series, rehearsals for routines, and private lessons for dancers that range from beginner to expert. During these sessions, seasoned instructors stress the social aspects of dance while teaching the techniques, rotating partners often so that they can learn different ways to twirl, dip, and ceremoniously lacerate a rug. Visiting dance champions also lead workshops on their specialties, showcasing advanced steps in cha cha, samba, swing, rumba, and other styles.
Winner of the Santa Cruz Weekly 2013 Gold Award for Best Dance Club and Best Fancy Cocktails, Motiv expertly slings tapas-style eats and a wide selection of drinks in a lively lounge space. Tucked along Pacific Avenue and Pearl Alley in a stucco building with a corrugated-tin roof and flowering window boxes, Motiv’s serene Old World–exterior belies its energetic dance floor, sleek wooden bar downstairs, and intimate restaurant-lounge upstairs. Half pound grass-fed burgers, skirt steak dinners and Jorge's famous tacos populate the shareable menu, and top-shelf liquors are mixed into specialty cocktails. Nightly live music delivered by a stable of DJs encourages diners to extend evenings by shaking a leg or showing off neon puffy-paint monograms under the colorful disco lights.
Rosie McCann's specializes in twists on traditional Irish fare, tweaking classic Celtic dishes and drinks in a traditional pub setting. The menu showcases crowd-pleasing plates, such as irish nachos, sliced spuds slathered in jack and cheddar cheeses, olives, fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and jalapeños ($10). The Americanized version of shepherd's pie simmers grass-fed Humboldt beef and vegetables in a rich irish stock, before adding a helmet of mashed potatoes au gratin ($14). Heftier appetites seek satisfaction with bangers & mash, a Celtic take on the English classic, that douses irish sausages and garlic mashed potatoes in Guinness gravy ($16).
In the main room of Surf City Billiards & Cafe, sun pours through skylights in the 22-foot vaulted ceilings, illuminated 15 Brunswick Gold Crown tables covered in pro-standard Simonis cloth. Darts and a shuffleboard table provide additional opportunities for competition, whereas eight big-screen TVs let fans cheer for their favorite commercials between interruptions by men throwing balls. The hall's full bar keeps spirits high with local wine and beer, and a bustling kitchen turns out gourmet takes on traditional bar food. Applewood-smoked bacon gives third-pound Angus-beef patties a porcine kick, and the Surf City dog adorns a quarter-pound 100% beef frank with zesty chipotle mayo.
The billiards hall was named one of the Top 10 New Pool Halls in America in 2008.