Beyond Wednesday College Night fever

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Wednesday night is college night here in the Q.C. — all of the big clubs say so and there's just nothing you can do about it. And while I may have gone back to school recently, I personally am no longer in the college night mindset. So last night my partner-in-crime and I held our own anti-college night and checked out a few places where grown folks can be grown folks, sans Asher Roth's anthem "I Love College."

First up, we met at 1300 Southend Tavern for a quick drink. Located in Southend where Original Pancake House and the old Nikkos used to be, it's a small neighborhood bar that attracts the locals. Wednesday is Trivia Night, and the only question I knew the answer to was, "Who was the butler on Fresh Prince of Bel Air?" Geoffrey, of course. Seeing as we weren't going to win anything, we headed to our next destination: Plaza Midwood.

Twenty-Two, the newest art gallery/lounge to open up in the area, debuted the works of artists Kelly Keith and Scott Nurkin in the combined exhibit, That's Our Jam Right Der. Sipping on a glass of pinot grigio (and not just because they don't serve liquor either) and admiring the colorful works of art, my friend and I managed to transition nicely from exercising our brain power over meaningless trivia to discussing high-class aesthetics with artist Kelly Keith. OK, actually, we talked about mushrooms, the Butthole Surfers, and how you should never drink the water in Mexico. But it was cultural nonetheless. Here's a photo of some of her works (and yes, those are pot leaves).

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(The opening reception is this Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. The "after party" will be at Carolina Actors Studio Theatre with performances by Sea of Cortez and Andy the Door Bum. It's an 11 p.m show with a $5 cover.)

Moving on, we walked around the corner to Whiskey Warehouse, recently opened in the old Creation spot. We definitely weren't going to be encountering any college kids here, as the door guy promptly asked for my ID. The vibe at Whiskey Warehouse is defintely a feel-good one. On one side of us at the bar were two young women sharing an appetizer and probably catching up on the drama in their lives (or maybe not). A couple obviously on a date sat in one of the booths. And there were numerous lively groups sitting at the high tables in the middle of the bar, having a grand ol' time. (Happy birthday whoever it was that got that delish-looking cupcake-looking — perhaps homemade? — dessert!) We didn't eat anything, but the food smelled fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that my mouth is watering now thinking about it.

Before heading home, we had to make one last stop on our Anti-College Night tour, this time in Elizabeth: Loft 1523, an oldie but goody. Wednesdays are a pretty quiet night there it seems, but they offer $7 "Build your own" martinis. And Terri and Craig, the two fabulous people behind the bar, are super nice and try to get to know all their customers.

As you can see, not one of our stops was in Uptown, and that was intentional. There is life beyond Uptown, you know. And there is definitely life beyond college night fever on Wednesdays. You just gotta get out there and find it.

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