Inspired by early 20th century chili parlors, Hard Times Cafe aims to preserve the tradition of delectable, hearty fare served in a friendly, lively community eatery. Elevate taste buds to new heights with an order of legendary grilled wings in one of five flavors, including original Texas, chili-lime, honey-barbecue, and eternity ($8.99 per order). Hard Times Cafe serves four distinct varieties of chili. The authentic chili mac is served over spaghetti with your choice of accouterments ($7.49–$8.89). Burgers, sliders, and chili dogs are easily transportable by hand or hovercraft, and savory steaks and other suppertime favorites provide more refined nourishment options. To reward you for your literary prowess, every Groupon reader who texts HTCGRP to 59925 gets an additional coupon good for one order of bar nachos. Combine this offer with a Groupon, or save it for a subsequent visit.
The graceful ease with which a good bartender mixes drinks masks the difficulty of the job, one that requires knowledge and dexterity—not to mention charisma. The seasoned barkeeps at Bartender of America, a TIPS-certified school, know what it takes to be a good bartender and lead their students through deliberate exercises inside a fully simulated tavern environment. Amid ambient sounds and music, novice bartenders dole out maraschino cherries and shake martinis while refining their conversational skills and learning how to identify underage kids by their mustaches. Fully committed students can opt for the entire Bar 101 curriculum, attaining a bartending license and valuable tricks for managing their resume and acing job interviews, while abbreviated classes offer insight into the fundamentals of the trade.
The enthusiastic instructors at That's Dancing Ballroom & Dancesport Center guide students of all levels through an eclectic schedule of group and private classes. Fledgling hoofers shimmy to hip-shaking rhythms during the beginner rumba class, and the intro and advanced waltz classes beckon both novice and veteran dancers to glide across the ballroom floors while holding tightly to partners or imaginary friends. Build skills in the intermediate fox trot class or undulate midsections during belly-dancing sessions. Teachers dole out one-on-one instruction during half-hour private lessons, helping dancers to conquer difficult steps or instilling the ability to simultaneously dance the charleston while preparing a five-course meal at home.
Since 1933, servers and entertainers at Blob's Park have led crowds in authentic bouts of stein hoisting and singing over platters of delicious German cuisine. A hefty beer list stocks gatherings with a frothy selection of delicious libations, with familiar, neighborly domestics, such as a Yuengling lager, or exotic German imports, such as the Augustiner Edelstoff. Authentic German entrees sneak up and bear hug taste buds with savory servings of Nurnberger weisswurst and sauerkraut or schweinschnitzel, a dish of breaded pork loin with cranberry and tomato salad. In addition to dishing out sudsy brews and appetizing meals, Blob's Park treats lederhosen-laden guests to musical acts such as the folksy accordion waltzes of Leon Umberger & The Rheinlanders or the energetic shows of The Hubcaps, which celebrate the sounds of roots rock as well as Aerosmith's little-known back catalog of polka hits.
Husband-wife duo Julio and Lily Soto opened Azul 17 to celebrate not only Mexican cuisine, but to also embrace the culture through music, vibrant design, and a selection of more than 100 tequilas made with 100% blue agave. Their chefs all hail from Mexico and bring family recipes to the kitchen—including one chef's grandmother's recipe for black beans. It's “old world style with updated presentation,” says manager Peter Bonohue. Peter has been in the restaurant business since he could legally work, and to him, Azul 17 has an especially fun atmosphere. “I love tequila now,” he confessed.
While chefs simmer their signature mole sauce and servers add fresh lime juice to margaritas, guests recline atop white leather banquettes or modern chairs. Eyes dance with murals and shimmering blue-tile mosaics splashed against white walls. Those whites are illuminated with a multicolored neon glow as DJs spin club, house, and Mexican tunes starting at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Thursdays at 8 p.m., guests can spice up their tired hokey-pokey routine with salsa lessons.
If comfort food is supposed to evoke a sense of ease and familiarity, the Impossible Double Hank burger breaks rather severely with tradition. With its intimidating name and heaps of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, bacon, and cheddar, the burger forces the brave patrons of Hank’s Tavern & Eats to confront their most delicious fears. Though less overwhelming than the double-portioned hamburgers, the tavern’s shrimp po’ boys, baby back ribs, and fish burritos are made with similarly fresh ingredients and prove just as tasty. While digging into these and other hearty eats, patrons can follow local sports on 20 TV screens and guesstimate their height by lying facedown on the 50-foot bar.