This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Comedy Special

Thursday was a night out in Raleigh for Tim and I.

I had booked tickets for Rich Vos about a month ago, once I found out he was coming to Charlie Goodnight's.

I am a Rich Vos fan, ever since I saw him on the best season of Last Comic Standing: season 1.

Tim and I saw him in Raleigh in 2007, with his wife, Bonnie McFarlane, a fellow comedian and a season 2 Last Comic Standing. I am also a huge McFarlane fan because she is fucking FUNNY. And I thought she had a bad rap during that season because she was a great female comedian. So to me, this was a double-header, as they came for a Valentine's special at Goodnight's.

Goodnight's offers a great deal: $30 Thursday tickets that includes dinner at the Old Bar. I booked it with a lot of ruminating: should I book a Thursday show? What if he doesn't do his best material for us cheapos and waits for the big shows on Friday and Saturday nights?

But I don't like to do things that everyone else does on the same day: Friday and Saturday will be big date nights for the commoners. *I* have to be different. And I think: I am supporting him on the off nights. Isn't that worth some brownie points?

So we head out to the Old Bar with low expectations.

The Old Bar used to be in the basement of Goodnight's. Back then? Mediocre food.

Then it became The Underground, one of Tim and I's favorite restaurants. But then it closed and became the Old Bar again. Both times it was open, the Old Bar was and is, supposedly, Mexican/Tex-Mex.

And I will say that the Old Bar hasn't done much to improve an image of 'quality' meals for a night at Goodnight's. Although for the price, it will suffice if for only the cost of the tickets alone is worth $30. But this is not a place worth dining out for any other reason.

Granted, there is a special menu for the $30 evening. Perhaps the food on the other part of the menu is worthy? But I think not.

The choice was one appetizer:
spinach and artichoke dip
chips and queso
or chips and salsa any other Mexican/Tex-Mex establishment, the chips & salsa are on the house. The waitress states that the spinach and artichoke dip is the bomb. OK. We'll take it but I tell Tim that this isn't an often seen item on Mexican/Tex-Mex menus.

Then there is the choice of two entrees:
Black Bean Burrito
Taco Salad with Sirloin Black Bean Chili
Chicken Quesadilla
Spinach and Artichoke Quesadilla
Chicken Sandwich

That's it. No fajitas. No tacos. Enchiladas? Just this. And I found it scary that there happened to be an appetizer *and* an entree with the same ingredients.

I asked the waitress if she thought the taco salad or the chicken quesadilla was good. She said to definitely go for the quesadilla. I did. And it was just...fine. It wasn't horrible. But it certainly wasn't anything to write home to mom about. I've made better quesadillas at home...

Tim's black bean burrito was just that: a tortilla filled with black beans. That be it.

I had a Corona. They didn't have Corona I think. The waitress, in hindsight, looked at me funny and at the time, I thought it was because they didn't have any. Now, I believe she didn't know what the fuck I was talking about.

Tim had a margarita. When he ordered another, he asked if it could be topped off with Grand Marnier. The waitress was like "i'll see what i can do". Um. It's a fucking BAR. You don't have to see what you can do. You tell the bartender what the freaking order is.

I realize now that the Old Bar is a sell out. They don't give a shit about food. Or they would actually make something of it.

They don't care about hiring a decent waitstaff, or you'd have someone that could actually do a decent job.

It's all about getting people in on the special with $20 worth of food product and get them on everything else: $8 mixed drink prices; $20 wine bottle prices for wines you can get for less than a quarter of the price at Kroger's.

When we got to our table in the comedy club, their appetizers at the table were: $4 popcorn (in what amounted to the equivalent of the "small" popcorn at the movies), $4.50 hummus, etc. I would be afraid to know where the hummus came from. Oh. And none of the apps matched anything we saw on the menu downstairs. Well. Maybe chips & salsa for $6.


But the comedy is worth it. Rich Vos was great and held us hostage (his words, not mind) for nearly two hours. As usual, there were the folks in the audience who think they can befriend the comedian and just 'chat' with him during his routine. I loved when he ripped them apart.

In the end, the price was worth the TICKETS ALONE. The Old Bar is NOT AT ALL IMPRESSIVE.

And I realized that there is no longer a restaurant upstairs either. Gone. I found out when I walked all the way up the stairs, in hopes of hitting the restroom (normally located there) and finding that not only were the stairs dark, but the whole god-damn floor.

I don't want to see the comedy club go away. But they've got to do something about the rest of the place.

And I still have another set of $30 Thursday special tickets for Greg Giraldo's show in July.


  1. Pretty much every time I've seen a show at Charlie Goodnight's, I've had dinner in one of their restaurants. I haven't been in a while, but I completely agree with you about the food. The Underground was decent, and the times I went while it was The Underground were pretty much the only times I had a good meal experience. I dined in the fancy restaurant a while back, and the service was so slow that we actually missed the first part of the show. What??? Everyone at your restaurant has tickets to the show downstairs and your sole purpose is to feed them with plenty of time to get seated and enjoy the show. Miserable. I also found the food to be overpriced and awful at the Old Bar, though preferred it to paying the higher prices upstairs. It's really too bad that they have reverted back to the Old Bar. I had hopes that lasting improvements had been made. I guess that was too much to expect! Oh well, I'm sure I'll do the same and get the meal deal when I want to see a comedy show. It's sad that it remains more or less our only option for this type of entertainment.

  2. You know, Kerry, the more I think about it, the more pissed I get. I think you are so right about why this is all we get. It's not only a bad user experience, it's an experience they don't care to improve. Greed, IMO. And that makes me angry that I contribute to it.

    I'll probably think twice about this Thursday special. The next one I'll do because a few other folks are joining us (you and Gabe should consider it, if you're willing to have a night out with bad food :)). But I am not sure I want to be a part of this cause and will fork my money over for tix to a show but will invest in another local establishment for food.

    BTW, I did go upstairs once too. The food wasn't bad *but* we went under the premise that the owners of The Underground were running this one. We knew right away, based on the menu, that it was not them. Service was SLOW. We made it to the show but probably because we knew to go earlier from past experience!!

  3. Oh all the good places are dropping like flies. First Vin and now the Underground. :-(. At least the show was good!