Backyard Bistro’s menu is rich in barbecue traditions that are upheld by the resident pit master. A level-seven sage of the barbecue pit, this wise individual slow-cooks pork in handcrafted cast-iron pit smokers for a potent punch to the tastebuds. Barbecue items such as the beef brisket ($13.50) and the ½ lb. slow-roasted pork barbecue ($9.95) are roasted overnight to bring ultimate moisture and smoky flavors to each bite (both items include choice of two sides). Also served with two sides, the ribs are rubbed down with Backyard’s signature rub and slow roasted until the tender meat slides down the bone easier than pigs down backyard Slip ‘n Slides ($18.95 full rack/$13.95 half rack). In addition to the tender, smoky barbecue options, diners can also tuck into the steak ($21–$23), fish ($12.95–$16.95), burgers ($8.50–$12.50), and sandwiches ($7.50–$12.95). Backyard Bistro serves food until midnight every night of the week.
The building has been there for generations, beneath a neon "Restaurant" sign that used to serve as a beacon of sustenance for WWII-era soldiers stationed nearby. Decades later, under that same sign, people still show up in search of food, and more importantly, in search of drink. This historic spot is now the home of Brewmasters Bar & Grill, a taproom that celebrates North Carolina brewers with its selection of nearly 100 craft brews. "Beer geeks," as Brewmasters likes to call them, can discover local suds from Big Boss and Crank Arm mixed in with nationally renowned beers such as Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.
Of course, beer is also integral to the food menu. On it, guests will find pork belly braised in brown ale and beer-battered onion rings. The kitchen makes many of their ingredients in-house, including spinach dip forged from a family recipe and Brewmasters' signature candied bacon with jalapeño-apple jelly. As guests tackle their meals, they can study a state map that pinpoints North Carolina's best-loved breweries and least-invisible rivers.
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.
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.
At Raleighwood Cinema Grill, mid- and second-run movies flicker across a full-size screen with HD Digital Projection, brought to life with enhanced Dolby Digital surround sound. Yet what sets the theater apart is the experience off the screen. Instead of stacking seats into rows or demanding patrons stack into human pyramids to cram as many bodies in as possible, Raleighwood cultivates a relaxed atmosphere. Patrons lounge on cushioned, swiveling chairs at cabaret-style tables with a beer or glass of wine while servers lay out a menu of burgers, pizzas, and appetizers. Comedies, dramas, and family films enhance the flavor of dishes and the calendar of special events and food specials.