Lots of times the phrase "intimate venue" is simply another way of saying "a rather tiny spot that no one of any importance every plays." Yet there's no denying the intimacy — or importance — of the Black Cat. Located in the U Street Corridor since its opening in 1993 — it moved in 2001, but only three doors away — and co-owned by Dave Grohl, this legendary venue specializes in indie, alternative, punk, and experimental music, and has played host to everyone from Jeff Buckley and Neko Case to The Killers, Radiohead, and The Roots. The Cat is also home to the Food for Thought Café and the Red Room Bar, so you can find an excuse to stop by even if the show hasn't started yet.
Unlike most storied music houses, the walls of the 40 Watt Club haven't heard decades of history making — but that's mostly just because it's moved so damn many times. Currently settled into some digs on Washington, this venue was instrumental in the rise of America's punk and new wave scene, playing host to bands like Pylon, Love Tractor, Indigo Girls, Modern Skirts, and R.E.M. — in fact, the ex-wife of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck is now the owner. These days, it's the home base for acts like of Montreal, The Whigs, and the Drive-By Truckers, serving notice that while the address may have changed, the club's importance has not.
Sure, the Florida Panhandle isn't exactly known as a music mecca — but if you happen to be in the area, you need to make a pilgrimage to the Vinyl Music Hall. Set in historic downtown, this quality venue is large enough to host national acts yet small enough to keep an intimate feel, and plays host to everything from bluegrass and folk to rap, rock, and even burlesque shows. And with all quality venues, there's also a bar to keep you well lubricated throughout the show, and a patio if you need some fresh air.
Run by the folks behind the nearby reBar restaurant, the ReRun Gastropub Theater is an ideal place to catch a casual showing. This independent theater was imagined as a drive-in, and thus features reclaimed car seats for seating, as well as an in-theater bar serving up beers — including two craft selections on tap — sustainable, organic, and biodynamically farmed wines, and a full range of liquor, and of course tasty snacks from the reBar crew down the hall. All of which makes it far more enjoyable than a trip to the local multiplex.
No, that's not a joke — Billy Bob's Texas is a real place. And considering its size — over 11,000 square feet — and the lineup of talent they bring, it's no joking matter, either. This massive multi-functional venue offers a large stage, which has played host to names like George Jones, Willie Nelson, Alabama, Loretta Lynn, and Dierks Bentley, as well as a restaurant that specializes in Southern-style dishes like BBQ'd brisket and ribs, chili, and quail sliders, an arena that hosts live bill riding (!), a large dance floor, an arcade with plenty of games and billiards tables, and, of course, plenty of spots to grab a cold refreshment.
Going to the movies to watch new films is all well and good — except for, you know, the waiting in line, the high prices, the bad food, and the annoying people — but sometimes catching a classic is a lot more enjoyable. The Academy Theater is PDX's best place to do so. Opened in 1948, abandoned in the '70s, and fully restored in 2006, this classic, independent theater features a metallic, two-story dome in the lobby, and an excellent selection of snacks, including offerings from Flying Pie Pizzeria, Bipartisan Cafe and Miyamoto Sushi, as well as beer and wine. Oh, and if this all sounds good to you, stop by their Indiegogo page and pony up a few bucks to help them convert over to digital projection.
It might not sound that big given the name, but Commonwealth Bar & Stage actually has more than enough room to function as two venues in one. The large stage and dance floor is used to accomodate both touring acts and DJs, while a separate bar — on a different floor — allows for two events to happen at once. Theme nights are also quite popular, with the Saturday night party boasting modern tunes playing upstairs and vintage tracks downstairs, Wimbledon Wednesdays featuring ping pong and live music, and Wonder Years Thursdays filling the converted warehouse with the sounds of the '80s, '90s, and '00s. Oh, and don't forget to hit up Tubby Dog - Commonwealth's own food stand - while you're there.
One of the huge drawbacks of going out to a theater is the potential for a crowd full of obnoxious teens too busy texting — or talking — to enjoy the film. No such worries at the Big Picture. This first-run theater is 21 and up, removing the possibility that your evening will be ruined by younglings. And since it's adults only, you can also get a cocktail to go along with your signature white cheddar popcorn. You can even pre-order a drink and have it delivered at your specified time during the movie — and with only 100 seats, they should have no problem finding you.
The middle of a desert wasteland isn't exactly the first place we'd think to head for 18 holes, but Furnace Creek Golf Course isn't your average course, either. Surrounded by Death Valley National Park, the 18-hole, par-70 course sits at 214 feet below sea level, making it the lowest course in the world by elevation. Add in the oppressive heat, and you've got one hell of a challenge. Yet despite the surroundings, the course still has water on nine holes, as well as subtle mounding that was added in 1997 by Perry Dye, who also re-contoured the greens. Have fun and enjoy the views — just don't forget to hydrate.
Founded in 1992 and immortalized in multiple Tony Hawk video games, the Skate Park of Tampa is one of the most famous parks around. It just happens to also be one of the best. Inside, you can find the "pro course" with a pyramid and multiple rails and ledges, while outside, you'll find a full-size vert ramp. The pro course is redesigned every year to keep things fresh, and there's also a beginner's course available for those who are just getting started in the sport. Need some gear? Not to worry, as they have a killer skate shop on property.
Summer is the season of big blockbusters — and equally big flops — at the local megaplex. If you're looking to see something a little less mindless, The Palm Theatre is the place to go. This locally-owned venue — built in 1995 and recently restored with digital projection and Dolby 5.1 systems in all three theaters — is dedicated to showing screenings of first-run foreign and independent domestic films, as well as screenings of classic films from the past. And thanks to an array of 98 solar panels on the room, the Palm was also the first movie theater in the country to become solar-powered, making a trip to the Palm good for not only your mind but also the environment.
Plenty of golfers enjoy auto racing, but it's pretty rare to get to mix the two. Brickyard Crossing gives you an opportunity to do exactly that. Set next to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this Pete Dye-designed course offers great views of the complex from 14 of its 18 holes, and absolutely unparalleled views from the four holes placed inside the track.It also offers a good-sized Pro Shop and a recently renovated restaurant and bar, but the real attraction — aside from the golf — is the track itself, and the museum and ride arounds that go along with it.