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.
Having materialized only recently in a puff of grill-smoke, The Artisan and its grizzled restaurant veteran, chef Justin Hourani, conjures a menu of Greek and Mediterranean delights out of locally grown, organic produce. An opener of steamed mussels in a tomato garlic sauce with a dash of ouzo ($9) synchronizes taste buds so that they hum harmoniously from the flavor-symphony of the lamb shank, which arrives braised with carrots, potatoes, and vegetables in a red-wine tomato sauce, garnished with rosemary and cinnamon ($17). Diners nursing more hippo-like hungers will leave full after a repast of herbed chicken sautéed in creamy ouzo sauce ($14) or the Alexander, a seasoned chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta and crowned with cheese and tears from the realization that there are no more worlds to conquer ($14). Adventurous vegetarians, meanwhile, can avoid offending their bovine blind date with the veggie mousakas, made with flippant eggplant, zucchini, and potato in a béchamel sauce with grated cheese ($12).
The chefs at Draft Carolina Burgers & Beers craft specialty burgers out of high-grade, local beef, boasting an extensive array of chuck cylinders alongside salads, sandwiches, and shareable appetizers. Every day, grass-fed Angus beef is ground in-house, eventually transforming into finger-bound feasts such as the Southern Lovin', a burger topped with fried green tomatoes, Holly Grove Farms goat cheese, bacon, and balsamic. Thanks to their partnership with the Mash House Brewery, Draft Carolina's bartenders decant ice-cold brews such as the Mash House blonde and the Mash House IPA, which won the 2001 Great American Beer Festival medal for Hoppy Hour IPA. Billiards and shuffleboard make ideal after-dinner entertainment, and a casual, welcoming atmosphere greets diners inhabiting all points of the monocle-to-jorts fanciness scale.
Chef Conrad Johnston injects innovative twists into Krave's menu of modern American cuisine, topping Parisian-inspired flatbreads with caramelized shallots and dousing small plates of Cajun-style calamari with creole seasoning. With fresh meats, local fruits and veggies, and sauces made from scratch, Chef Conrad concocts tapas, entrees, and salads before diners' eyes in his show kitchen. Meals are savored on the outdoor patio or within Krave's sleekly decorated interior, which surrounds diners with chrome metallics and subtle kinetic lighting. On Friday and Saturday, night owls or owls in human disguise can sip handcrafted signature cocktails until 2 a.m., scarf down items from the full menu until 4 a.m., and groove to tunes spun by top area DJs.
During 30-minute tours at Boylan Bridge, foam-enthused folk get to ogle high-end machinery and learn about the beer-making process from potable professionals. Keep all of your senses engaged by sniffing, swishing, and swallowing six freshly brewed beer samples such as the Pullman Porter, a dark beer with coffee and chocolate flavors, or the Gantlet Golden, a pale pilsner-like brew with flavors of hops and citrus. Once you and your tour cohort have discovered new favorites, grab a seat at Boylan's hand-crafted bar to treat yourself to an additional pint, or mosey out to the pub's deck to try to spot Waldo amidst the scenic city skyline. Although not covered by this Groupon, Boylan Bridge Brewpub also serves up a newly overhauled menu of tasty pub grub favorites.
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.