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.
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.
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.
ComedyWorx entertains audiences of all ages with competitive and party-formatted improvisation shows. The ComedyWorx Show pits two teams, garbed in red and blue pajamas, against each other in rounds of skits and games based on audience suggestions and the tilt of the earth's axis that day. At the end of each round, the referee selects a spectator to judge the team's winner by measuring audience laugh levels, earning the victor points on a glowing scoreboard. As music plays between rounds, waiting teams—named for local university mascots and institutions—huddle in color-coordinated dugouts on stage. Referees also call brown-bag fouls on saucy suggestions from audience members or excessive product placement from players, forcing offenders to wear a bag over their heads for the show's duration.