Owner and vintner Dr. Lane Gregory and his staff of merry winemakers harvest their wine grapes from the fertile muscadine vines that flourish on Gregory Vineyards' 120 acres of lush farmland. The winery's Old World tasting room and wood furniture lend a rustic atmosphere to samplings of cleverly named wines such as Sly Fox, Ruth Walton, or the dry white known as Bald Eagle. Like North Carolina's banana trees, the regional muscadine grape thrives from late August until early October, giving Dr. Gregory and company only a matter of weeks to harvest the tough-skinned fruit. In addition to tastings, the handsome property plays host to weddings and other special events. And, on an average day, visitors may be spotted taking wine tours with Dr. Gregory or exploring the vineyard's lake on romantic two-person pedal boats.
Audiences often arrive an hour early to Laugh Out Loud’s comedy shows, lured in by the comedy club’s amiable staff, frequent visits by nationally renowned comics, and full dinner menu. Before the live acts step into the spotlight at 8 p.m., patrons can converse and watch scattered flat-screen TVs while dining on panini sandwiches, fresh-made Punchline Pizzas, and other casual fare. After dinner, audience members stay at their tables as the lights dim and the Laugh Out Loud stage is swarmed by daring and original joke tellers. Recent headliners have included Shaun Jones, known for his outrageous personal anecdotes, and Ron Feingold, whose musical comedy routine has recently slayed the club's audiences. Laugh Out Loud regularly schedules shows four nights a week, including the popular Wednesday night open mic, which showcases the fresh talent of amateur comedians and the soundman's admittedly unoriginal microphone check.
The Pickled Onion is a casual neighborhood hangout that serves upscale bar fare for lunch and dinner. Midday munchers can nosh on classic bread bombs such as the warm turkey melt or the roast-beef sandwich, both served with a complimentary pile of potato chips and an extra-sharp pickle spear that can be used to stab runaway condiments ($5.99 each). Later pub-goers may opt for a dinner entree of beer-battered fish 'n' chips ($9.99) or the beef-smothered baked ziti ($9.99), and Wednesday- and Friday-night karaoke competitors can boost their singing stamina with a chili cheeseburger served on a kaiser bun ($7.99) and toast to an excellent effort with a classic two-scoop root-beer float ($3.99).
Ruckus Pizza and Bar's chefs have been satiating the immense hunger of NCSU's budding student body and esteemed faculty since 1999. They crown their fresh, made-to-order pizzas with garlic, roasted red peppers, and ricotta, and will even swap out traditional pizza sauce for ranch and spicy buffalo sauce. As their savory pies bubble in ovens, the kitchen team prepares a number of handheld foods, including gourmet philly cheesesteaks, meaty sub sandwiches, calzones, and spinach-stuffed harmonicas. Bartenders shake up fruity cocktails or pour beers and wine that complement the flavors of their hearty cuisine. On select nights, the staff welcomes guests to cheer and shout during trivia, participate in open-mic nights, and dance to the thumping beats of live DJs. They also unify their newly remodeled eatery's sports-themed decor with athletic flourishes such as jerseys, commemorative ballpark photos, and neon signs.
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.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.