Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms the upstairs stage of Houston's Fitzgerald's into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces dance floors with 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, Swedish dance wizards Lo-Fi Fnk enchant with instant club hits and songs for strobe-light campfires, and pop enthusiasts Dom charm with stargazing Casios.
Although it shares its name with a certain morose cartoon character, Charlie Brown’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill invokes anything but grief. Along with cultivating a casual, welcoming environment, the friendly eatery dishes up familiar American comfort food, including more than 10 different flavors of wings and half-pound Angus burgers with everything from bacon and barbecue sauce to caramelized onions and grilled jalapeños. Although it keeps patrons entertained with 11 televisions beaming sports broadcasts and overly long slideshows of the bartender’s Grand Canyon vacation, the grill also works to enthrall guests with karaoke nights, free trivia competitions, and live musical performances throughout the week.
The Continental Club isn’t shy about embracing its past, claiming to be Austin’s first true burlesque club. Since opening in 1957, the elevated stage has showcased some of the finest blues, rockabilly, country and swing music in the city. Vintage signs and posters of past performers line the perimeter, meaning burlesque dancers like Candy Barr share wall space with musical legends like Mojo Nixon. By the bar, a chalkboard lists the week’s musical lineup, while the back is filled with packed-together tables, encouraging visitors to trade their seats for the dance floor. Couples twirl and two-step while the bands play, lit ever-so-slightly by the red curtain sporting the club’s name behind them. In a separate room behind the stage, guests play pool while admiring the motorcycle that hangs from the ceiling.
Friends and strangers gather around outdoor picnic tables at Moon Tower Inn, clutching cold brews and artisan weenies (think duck sausage with apple brandy or rabbit with bacon, wine, and herbs) nestled in soft pretzel rolls. The all-alfresco ambience at this dive bar/restaurant makes any meal feel like a chummy backyard barbecue, but with the added appeal of more than 60 beers on tap, and no curse-laden tirades from apron-wearing dads. This unique set-up, along with a list of no-nonsense burgers, has made Moon Tower Inn a destination recommended by both the Houston Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal.
Lee Harvey's is filled with wood paneling, neon beer signs, and all the lived-in feel you'd expect from a building that's served as a bar for 50 years. It's also, as D Magazine once put it, "perhaps the greatest bar in Dallas and, really, the personification of the Cedars." Southern Living placed it on its list of Dallas's "hidden gems." As the weekend crowds demonstrate, it's getting less and less hidden every day.
The current owners have transformed the humble building into something of a local celebrity not by remodeling or placing a giant wig on the roof, but through sheer force of personality and camaraderie. Out back, fire pits blaze around picnic tables as friends drink and feast on fish tacos, half-pound burgers, and award-winning onion rings with an addictive chipotle aioli. (Plenty of the snacks are fried and meaty, but the kitchen also makes sure vegetarians have interesting options in the form of panini topped with basil aioli or grilled pears.) Live music cranks up the energy most weekends, and in quieter moments you might even spot Bacon the cat slinking around a corner.