We started out the night at the Porter Beer Bar just up the road from the Variety Playhouse (behind it we snagged some super great parking for $2). We found this place on Yelp, it had excellent reviews and we were not disappointed. There was a Giant, I mean GIANT beer selection which Clay looked through and decided on a white Thai beer that was recommended per Yelpers. I saw that they make their own Bloody Mary mix and infuse their own vodka (4 pepper vodka) so I had to try a Bloody Mary which was very good, you could really taste the peppers but it wasn't so hot that I didn't enjoy it. They come in pint or quart options. Before the meal I had already decided on dessert. For starters we had foie gras for Clay and goat cheese fritters with honey. I loved the bacon jam that came with the foie gras! The goat cheese fritters were very tasty, the little bit of sweetness from the honey was just right and we even took a little of the stone ground mustard from Clay's plate and had it with bites of the goat cheese and honey....amazing!
For our entrees we had the black bean and quinoa burger with house pickled onions and Belgian fries, and beer brats and house made sauerkraut. Out of these 2 dishes, the fries were what to write home about. Perfectly crispy and fantastic flavor! The burger was good but texture was a little mealy for my liking and to me the beer brats were a little sweeter than I would have liked, not bad, just a personal preference.
Then to desert....I was surprised, the one desert I had been pining over since we arrived was the PBJM, a peanut butter custard with apple cider jelly, shortbread, and burnt marshmallow. However this was a disappointment, the whole dessert lacked significant flavor. I was expecting something with a little more zing on my tastebuds. That being said, the other 2 were fantastic! The cranberry bread pudding and brownie with beer ice cream and salted caramel were super duper! The atmosphere of this place is really nice and cozy, decor is interesting, the ceiling in the back is really high so although it is cozy it doesn't feel stuffy. We also have good service, prompt and helpful. This is a definite repeat for us!
This was my first time at Variety Playhouse, and it was a great experience. Parking was really easy, and convenient. It was a general admission show and we got there about 30 minutes early and got nice seats. The front few rows and side rows were plastic chairs the middle section was good old concert hall style chairs. We went to see Guster who is touring with 2 string players at this time. They put on a fantastic show! The music was superb but they were also entertaining. The lead singer made jokes and kept things light. They engaged the audience, even agreeing twice to play Chinese fire drill where they switched instruments several ending up with instruments they didn't know how to play and the drummer singing quite hysterically out of tune. Clay and I both very much enjoyed our experience and next time Guster is playing within travel range we will be there.