We know, we know — the economy still sucks ... and your pockets still look like rabbit ears. But even though you're broke, you don't have to spend your evenings eating ramen noodles and watching Hulu.com. Yes, you recession-ravaged reveler, you can have a good time without having to take out a second mortgage. And we're here to point the way — by presenting our annual list of 50 cheap thrills to give you the entertainment you long for. Read on ... and then, please, drop the ramen.
1. $2 Tuesdays and No Cover Wednesdays at Club Onyx: Strippers always raise your spirits, and nothing is better than getting to see girls shake it fast with a deep discount (and drink specials to boot). Club Onyx offers two nights of discounts for frugally minded T&A fans. Club Onyx, 5300 Old Pineville Road. 704-525-7050. www.ricks.com.
2. Le Bang at Dharma Lounge: Wednesday night means it's time for one of Charlotte's biggest — and most off-the-wall — weekly parties: Le Bang. Head out and hang with le hipsters, listen to a bizarrely danceable mix of music and snag some cheap drinks. Free entry. Dharma Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St., Suite 105. www.dharmacharlotte.com
3. Wine and beer tastings at the Common Market: For $5, you can sample a flight of wines every week at both locations of the Common Market (you know, one of the city's most beloved convenience stores/delis). Sip vino Tuesdays at the Plaza Midwood store and Wednesdays at the South End spot. And if you dig beer, visit the Plaza Midwood CM on Wednesday for a free beer tasting and the South End locale on Thursday for more beer. Common Market, (Plaza Midwood) 2007 Commonwealth Ave. 704-334-6209 — and (South End), 1515 S. Tryon St. 704-332-7782. www.commonmarketisgood.com.
4. More free wine: Enhance your palate by attending a free wine tasting at area Total Wine and More stores. Free. Every Friday (4 p.m.-7 p.m) and Saturday (12 p.m.-6 p.m.) Details and locations at www.totalwine.com.
5. Open mic at The Fort Mill Comedy Zone: Make a short trip to South Carolina and take an uncensored chance to be the next great stand up comedian — or just sit in the audience and boo those not-so-funny clowns on the stage. Every Thursday it's free to laugh or try to make other people laugh at your jokes. 9:30 p.m. The Comedy Zone Fort Mill, 900 Crossroads Plaza, Fort Mill, S.C. 803-802-3990. www.thecomedyzonefortmill.weebly.com.
6. Celtic/American String wizard Robin Bullock in concert: The Charlotte Folk Society's next Gathering on Friday, April 8, features Robin Bullock — who's described by the Baltimore City Paper as "a Celtic guitar god." Free. 7:30 p.m. The Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave. www.folksociety.org.
7. Social Sundays Day Party: Sunday isn't just for church anymore. Tiffany H. of Twelve Entertainment presents: Social Sundays Day Party at Toxic Nightclub (formerly the Rustic Martini). Free admission and free food. 4 p.m. Toxic Nightclub, 616 N. Tryon St. 919-638-4690.
8. Four years of Tilt: Celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Uptown nightclub Tilt on April 16, featuring $4 drinks. Free admission. 8 p.m. Tilt, 127 W. Trade St. 704-347-4870.
9. Cult Movie Mondays: Hosted by drag goddess Roxy C. Moorecox, this event serves free popcorn, free parking and free "classic" movies (like Weekend At Bernie's and Serial Mom). What could be a better way to start your week? Free. Doors open at 7 p.m.; movie starts at 8 p.m. The Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, 650 E. Stonewall St. 704-342-2251. www.actorstheatrecharlotte.org.
10. The Session: Head upstairs to the Wine-Up on Wednesday night for some live music hosted by Twenty/20 and DJ Raquest. $5. Doors open at 11 p.m. Wine-Up, 3306-C N. Davidson St. 704-372-2633. www.wine-up.com.
11. Rock It Tuesday at The Saloon: Food and live music at NC Music Factory's signature pub/restaurant. Free. The Saloon, 935 N. Graham St. 704-716-2327. www.thesalooncharlotte.com.
12. Pure Wednesday: Dudes take note — every Wednesday the award-winning nightclub Halo offers free entry for the ladies. Got it? Good. Go. Halo, 820 Hamilton St., Suite A2. 704-332-4256. www.haloclt.com.
13. $2 Taco Tuesdays at The Men's Club: The Men's Club is a great place to have lunch (and possibly get a lap dance). Get two tacos (beef or chicken) for $2 — and/or $2 sliders and Coronas. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The Men's Club, 444 Tyvola Road. 704-525-8525. www.themensclub.com.
14. Matthew Mayfield live: On April 7, musician Matthew Mayfield — whose song "First In Line" appeared in the 100th episode of Grey's Anatomy — brings his blend of rock and soul to the Queen City. The show is $5 for men and free for ladies. Doors open at 8 p.m.; show starts at 9 p.m. Double Door Inn, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. 704-376-1446. www.doubledoorinn.com.