Archives for the month of: January, 2012

February 14th is creeping nearer, and we all know what that means. Flowers, candy, cards and gifts will rain down on couples and special “someones” everywhere in celebration of arguably the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day. If you’ve already made your plans, we applaud you, but if you’re still searching for the perfect V-Day date in Greater Raleigh, we’re here to help!

For a date a little outside of the box, consider seeing the My Funny Valentine Comedy Jam at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Comedians Bruce Bruce, Tony Rock, Arnez J and Gary Owen will be delivering laughs on Feb. 11th, but why not start the romance and fun a little early?

If you’d like to wine and dine your significant other, you’ll love Valentine’s Evening at Prime Smokehouse in Garner. The velvet-voiced Henry Lovett and the sultry Gina Revae will entertain you while you dine on a lavish three-course meal, two of which will be paired with wine. As if this wasn’t already romantic, there will also be long-stemmed roses and chocolate for the ladies.

Looking for a quiet, romantic dinner date? Use this restaurant locator to find Greater Raleigh’s most luxurious steak houses, culinary gems and intimate locally owned restaurants with the click of a button. Once you’ve found your ideal Valentine’s Day date spot, make a reservation as most restaurants will be especially busy.

A high-intensity game that reaches far beyond the basement of your home where you sometimes play, table tennis is officially classified as an Olympic sport. You may be surprised, wondering how chasing a ping pong ball around a room all day could possibly qualify for the Olympics, but that’s probably only because you haven’t seen the game played at its highest, most entertaining level.

If you’re curious and want to see the action yourself, you’re in luck. The 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Table Tennis will take place in Greater Raleigh’s very own Cary, N.C., from Feb. 9-12. A few months later, the North America 2012 Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament will also be held in Cary in the same venue at Bond Park.

Attending this sporting event will leave you anxious for the 2012 Olympics to begin, so you can continue following your favorite players and see the champion through to the end. Adrenaline Junkies everywhere can step out of their usual sports comfort zone and get a glimpse of a game just as exciting and sometimes as physically involved. This isn’t your childhood ping pong tournament; this is a matching of the best table tennis players in the entire country, and later, in all of North America.

Intrigued? Tickets are on sale now for both events, starting at only $5 for daily tickets and $75 for a VIP Welcome Reception and admission to both trials. The Embassy Suites in Cary will serve as the host hotel for both events, and rooms are available for just $89 a night. For more information on how you can take advantage of this unique opportunity here in Greater Raleigh, visit this site.

With Valentine’s Day approaching and the season of romantic dates upon us, we thought we’d create a few date itineraries for our Foodies, Creative Geniuses and Adrenaline Junkies out there. When it comes to what makes a date great, everyone has her own ideas, and we’re here to share a few exceptionally different, yet all very fun ideas.

Foodies would obviously enjoy a decadent multiple-course meal at a restaurant that takes cuisine seriously, but what about the drinks? After dining at Zely & Ritz, The Umstead’s Herons Restaurant or The Mint, venture over to Foundation, which makes their own everything. Next, find delicious gourmet cupcakes at the Cupcake Shoppe Bakery in flavors you won’t find anywhere else.

If you’re a Creative Genius who enjoys visual and performing arts, why not start off your date with a wonderful show at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts or a fun walking tour of the many art galleries around downtown Raleigh.

An Adrenaline Junkie’s ideal date may not be considered technically romantic, but it sure can be fun and exciting! Catch a Carolina Hurricanes game with your special someone (make sure to buy him or her a souvenir!), or head to one of these awesome local sports bars where gourmet food is served and you’ll never want for a large-screen TV.

Draft Magazine recently released a 2012 list of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars. With six awesome bars populating the list, Raleigh was put in the spotlight as one of the top cities in the entire country in which to pull up a chair and enjoy an excellent beer selection and great atmosphere. Check out the bars that made the list.

Brewmasters Bar & Grill keeps the party going with fantastic specials like discounted beers on Mondays and make-your-own-beer flights on Wednesday, when you’ll also find locally brewed beer. Did we mention there are 66 taps?

Busy Bee Café has 15 perfectly curated taps that rotate a lengthy and unique beer selection, some of which comes from barrels the Bee donates to local breweries to age their beer and sell it back to the bar. The robust bottled sour list is a real treat, as is the small dance floor you’ll find on weekends.

You can’t have a complete beer experience in Raleigh without visiting the Raleigh Times Bar. You’ll find rare beers galore in this Belgian-style beer bar, including bottles like Hanssens Experimental Cassis. Local offerings from breweries like Big Boss and Foothills also rotate through the draft lineup, giving you a nice variety to choose from.

Also topping the list are Tyler’s Taproom, World of Beer and Flying Saucer (it’s based in the West, but Raleigh has one, too!) where you’ll find equally amazing beer selections. Take a weekend to visit all of these bars and you can brag to your friends about how you visited six of America’s best beer bars in one fell swoop.

Winter weather may not be the ideal time to head out on the boat or go on a garden tour, but we’ve found plenty of indoor activities around Greater Raleigh that are just as Winter-proof as they are fun. Of the seemingly endless list of things to do when it’s cold outside, we’ve narrowed it down to five favorites.

1)      Indoor Shopping: As a Fashionista, you may have the largest and most stylish winter wardrobe, so why not show it off? There’s no need to bundle up on your next shopping spree. Just head out to Crabtree Valley Mall or Triangle Town Center where you can browse all your favorite retailers without needing the bulk of your jacket (as fabulous as it may be!).

2)      Hurricanes Game: Calling all sports fans! If you’ve recently been to an outdoor game, you know just how chilly it can get. While we’re sure you Adrenaline Junkies weren’t phased by the weather, just know that you can catch an action-packed Carolina Hurricanes hockey game from the warmth of the RBC Center. Who knew being a great fan could be so comfortable?

3)      Catch a Show: In need of entertainment? Creative Geniuses everywhere will find something to look forward to on the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts’ calendar. Watch talented performers sing, dance and act their way through shows tailored to the season.

4)      Museum Hopping: Wonderful museums dot the Greater Raleigh map, but if you want to do some quick museum hopping with as little outdoors time as possible, you’ll love how close the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museum of History are. Just pop out of one and right on in the other for a two-in-one experience that will keep you out of the cold.

5)      Indoor Play Areas: If you’ve got kids who have a lot of pent-up energy, why not take them to one of the many indoor play areas? Indoor ice skating, inline skating, sports, bouncing and jungle gyms all await you and your family when you need to get out of the house.

If you see something you love, try it out! If you’ve got something else in mind, check out this great website of Greater Raleigh things to do!

Greater Raleigh consistently ranks among the best cities in the country for young singles. With a growing workforce, booming start-up scene, excellent food and lively nightlife, it’s no wonder so many 20-somethings are attracted to this vibrant area. Speaking of nightlife, the bars and clubs of Raleigh are where you’ll most easily find yourself amongst fellow singles (besides the outstanding colleges and universities), so we’re here to fill you in on where to go if you’re looking to make friends and find out why Raleigh ranks so high on the singles list.

Meet fellow singles under the stars at the Solas rooftop bar. Here, young professionals rub elbows over martinis and enjoy one of the best views on Glenwood Avenue, no matter if it’s hot or cold, rain or shine. If dancing is more your scene, just venture to the second floor and bust a move on the glass dance floor. Look down and you’ll see the Solas restaurant, where you’ll find amazing cuisine before the night begins.

For a fun dive bar scene complete with skeeball and pool tables, head out to Lucky B’s. A favorite of local young singles, this relaxed bar provides plenty of opportunities for meeting people and making friends over a game of pool or a bucket of beer.

If you’re really into dancing and enjoy the electricity of a club, you’ll have a night to remember at Still Life. The dance floor flashes and pumps to the beat of the DJ’s mixes, and you’ll always find it packed with fellow dancers. Once you’ve danced the night away, find your way over to one of the club’s comfy lounge areas and enjoy the night relaxing.

Pubs, bars, cigar lounges, and clubs filled with fellow young singles await you on your next visit to Raleigh, so check a few of them out the next time you’re here and have a great time!

Beer. It quenches your thirst, unites you with friends and pairs well with your favorite meals, making it something to celebrate. Whether you consider beer tasting a hobby or just like to enjoy a pint from time to time, you’ll enjoy some of Greater Raleigh’s beer-centric events in the coming months.

The first-ever Raleigh Rare and Vintage Beer Tasting event will take place on Feb. 4th at Tyler’s Taproom. With participating breweries ranging from Allagash to Weyerbacher, you’re sure to get your fill of a wide range of both new and already beloved beers. More than 40 rare and vintage brews will be available for tasting as you learn what makes each of them so special.

If you want to hone in on one brewery you’re curious about, try out a local brewery tour. There are several to choose from, including Big Boss Brewing, Carolina Brewing Company and LoneRider Brewing Company. To see several of them in one fun tour, sign up for a Beltline Brew Tour. These private tours range from three to four hours and travel all over the North Carolina’s capital city for tours, samples of the craft and good times.

Combine your love of beer and food at a beer pairing dinner at one of the great restaurants in the area. There are usually several beer pairing dinners a month throughout Greater Raleigh at many of the restaurants listed here. Delicious cuisine and artfully crafted brews; it doesn’t get much better than that!

During every season, the Carolina Hurricanes designate a select number of games as Family Nights for you and yours. What makes a Family Night any different from a regular Hurricanes game, you wonder? Here’s the lineup of perks designed to make this a Family Night you’ll all enjoy:

1)      Buy four Upper Goal Zone tickets for only $39, OR

2)      Buy four Lower Level North tickets for $159

3)      $1 hot dogs for everyone! Need we say more?

4)      A great fan experience with more families in the crowd.

As if you need any more reasons to jump on this great deal, the Feb. 20th Family Night coincides with College Night and the March 3rd Family Night coincides with the Eric Staal wall cling giveaway. Family Night on March 30th versus the Winnipeg Jets is sure to be a fun-filled event, with a Front Lawn Party, complete with live music, inflatable moon bounces, street hockey and more. There will also be Jamie McBain bobblehead giveaways to the first 10,000 fans, plus its Stormy’s birthday!

Find seating maps, a Family Night calendar and pricing on the official website of the Carolina Hurricanes. Round up the family and meet Stormy for an awesome night of hockey and fun.

The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) has proudly displayed the largest collection of Rembrandt paintings ever presented in an American exhibition for the past few months, but this wonderful collection will soon continue on its journey, never to return to the East Coast. If you haven’t had the chance to see the Rembrandt collection for yourself yet, have no fear; there’s still time!

In an effort to allow everyone who wishes to enjoy this spectacular exhibition a better chance, NCMA is offering extended hours for Rembrandt in America during its final week in the museum, Jan. 16-21st. Each day, the exhibition will open at 10 a.m. and remain open until 9 p.m., with the exception of the final Saturday night, when it will stay open until midnight.

NCMA’s Rembrandt exhibition has been so popular among visitors and locals alike that the Museum recently welcomed the 100,000th exhibition visitor. Trust us, if all of those people took the time to visit, you can bet there’s a reason to make the trip! Featuring more than 50 paintings, this exhibition explores the often controversial issues of collecting and connoisseurship with Rembrandt, while also paying tribute to one of history’s great masters of art.

To purchase your tickets and find more information, visit this site.

An event that has raised Greater Raleigh’s profile as a spectacular culinary destination in years past, Triangle Restaurant Week is back in 2012. From Jan. 23rd to 29th, embark on an adventure your taste buds will not soon forget, as dozens of local restaurants feature some of their best dishes at affordable prices.

Participating venues will offer fixed-price, three-course meals at lunch, dinner or both. With prices at $15 per person for lunch and $20 or $30 per person for dinner, you’ll have the opportunity to dine at multiple venues for the cost you may normally pay at just one. Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try out a few places you’ve never been or revisit some of your favorites.

More than 70 restaurants will be participating in 2012, and the final list of unique menus will be posted here once available. Experience from past events has shown that it’s best to make reservations if they are available to avoid crowds, and always check in advance to make sure the restaurant is participating in either lunch or dinner.

Get ready to let your inner Foodie run wild, explore and affordably experience the Greater Raleigh dining scene at its fullest!

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