Blue Dome District: Fill 'er up at the Blue Dome
Just a few blocks east of Tulsa's tallest downtown building is the Blue Dome District, one of Tulsa's newer and fast growing nightlife and local dining areas. It gets its name from the prominent blue-painted dome atop a 1920's gas station at 2nd & Elgin. Two very popular Irish bars are in the area, Arnie's (located in the Blue Dome building) and McNellies Public House. Both regularly feature terrific live music. El Guapo's Mexican Restaurant features Tulsa's only rooftop dining patio, with a great view of the downtown high-rises, and the original Joe Mama's Pizza was the focus of a 2011 episode of the Travel Channel's "Man v. Food Nation."
A few years ago denizens of the Blue Dome District started "The Blue Dome Art Festival" in response to the Tulsa International Mayfest's policy of featuring only artists, mostly non-local, who have been invited to participate. It is a free-wheeling festival with an open invitation to all local artists. It is held here at the same time as and just a few blocks away from the annual Mayfest International Art Festival.
Brady Arts District: Welcome to the "Old Lady's" Neighborhood
The Brady Arts District is a brick warehouse area directly north of downtown. It is centered around North Main and Brady. Tulsa's orginal performing arts center, The Brady Theater (affectionately known as "The Old Lady on Brady" and still used for concerts), and the historic Cain's Ballroom, are in the area, along with a number of working artists studios and galleries. Both the Gilcrease and Philbrook Museums are also building spaces in the Brady District as extension of their main museum campuses (both expeced to open in 2012). Popular nightlife destinations in Brady include Caz's, The Marquee, Club Majestic, Soundpony and Gypsy Coffee House. Several restaurants also inhabit the area: Caz's Chowhouse, Hunt Club, Hey Mambo, Brady Tavern, Mexicali Border Cafe, and a Spaghetti Warehouse. A major addition to the area was ONEOK Field, built in 2009 as the new home of the Tulsa Drillers AA baseball team, which is spurring additional loft living spaces and retail development.
Boston District: No Harvard Yard, Just Good Times
Named for the street where its located, Tulsa's Boston District has nothing to do with that town back east somewhere. Located south of downtown at the intersection of 18th and South Boston Ave., the Boston District is a tightly packed collection of high quality clubs and restaurants offering a mix of atmosphere and entertainment to suit many tastes. Club hopping here is a breeze, as all are within a one block area. The Boston District also hosts arts and crafts shows on each Saturday during the summer months.
Cherry Street: Just like a cherry - cool and tasty
Cherry Street is known more for its shopping and dining options than as a pure "nightlife" area, but it also shines as a great destination after hours. Dubbed in honor of its original name, "Cherry Street" is actually a seven block stretch of East 15th Street between Peoria and Utica Avenues. Along the stretch there are a number of places that offer great food and drink and regular live entertainment. Among them are Smoke, Full Moon Cafe, Tucci's, Palace Cafe, Kilkenny's Irish Pub, Doe's Eat Place, White Owl, Mary's Italian Trattoria, Gray Snail Saloon, Drake's Tavern and Empire Bar.
Brookside: Tulsa's Old Favorite
When it comes to Tulsa's main nightlife areas, the area centered around South Peoria Avenue and East 35th Street known as "Brookside" has served as a hotspot longer than others. The area was once a popular strip for teens to cruise in their cars, ala "American Grafitti," stopping for impromptu hook-ups along Peoria, grabbing a bite to eat at Pennington's Drive-in or Der Wienerschnitzel.
Those places are long gone, and the teens have grown up along with the area. It is now a hip neighborhood and collection of nightclubs, "yuppie biker" bars, eateries, and shops. Popular after-dark destinations for music and drinks are The Ivey, Sharky's, Crow Creek Tavern, Smitty's, Bruhouse, and Another Round. There are also numerous restaurants in the area - Wolfgang Puck Bistro, Blue Moon, Cosmo Cafe, Leon's, Lava, Garlic Rose, Cafe Ole, In The Raw, Charleston's, Keo, The Brasserie, Brookside by Day, Fuji and Webers, among others. The Brook Restaurant, housed in the fomer Brook movie theater and open until 3:00AM, is a great spot for after-club dining.
Cain's Ballroom: "The Legend Lives On"
Few live popular music venues anywhere in America can claim the kind of history held by Cain's Ballroom. From the stage where western-swing legend Bob Wills broadcast daily to an eager 1930's audience, to the hole punched in the backstage wall by Sid Vicious in 1978 (its still there), the Cain's bears testimony to the musical and societal comings and goings, fits and starts, of over 70 years. And true to its slogan, "The Legend Lives On," the Cain's continues to bring a steady supply of the best and most innovative acts, many of whom specifically want to play the historic ballroom even though they could fill a much larger venue. The bookings are weighted toward modern rock, but an eclectic playbill makes the Cain's a destination for just about every taste at one time or another.
The building, with its wooden dance floor mounted on heavy-duty truck springs, is a classic. As the name states, this is a "ballroom," not a theater or concert hall. A few bleachers line the side walls, and typically there are a number of tables set up near the back of the floor, but mostly its "standing room only." There is a bar in the back corner, and another bar and lounge area connected to the main building. A fairly recent remodel retained all the ambience - including the huge portraits of the likes of Roy Rogers and Hank Thompson that keep watch over the room - but thankfully and at long last added air-conditioning! If you never experienced it, you can only imagine what the place was like packed full of people in a full-bore rock frenzy on one of Tulsa's sweltering August nights.
There is truly no other place like it in the world. For every true music fan, a trip to the Cain's should be a compulsory pilgrimage.
Dress Code: Well, the attire of the crowd at the Bob Will's tribute is likely to be just a bit different than for the Ministry concert. Know the band? You'll know the dress code.
Peoria from 33rd to 38th streets: Love Brookside area!
This is the best area in town for nightlife! Great little bistros offer everything from Thai to Italian to handcut steaks & Tex-Mex. There's wonderful little shops & art galleries if you want to window shop (most close at 6pm) & walk around after dinner. Then once it's time to go out, there's a little bit of everything! Brookside Bar offers $2 longnecks & $0.25 pool & a friendly neighborhood environment. Suede Bar, next door, is one of the best 21 & up dance clubs in town, usually offering live original music & ladies drink free on Thursday nights. Sharky's has great pool & shuffleboard & The Brook is a great place for people watching. The best thing to do here is walk around & stop in everywhere, try it all. And after a good night's rest, come back in the morning for brunch at En Fuego's & $2 mimosas to salve that hangover, then walk across the street & relax w/ a good cup of coffee & a blanket on the couch at Shades of Brown.
Dress Code: Nice casual-dressy jeans
- Road Trip
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Elephant Run - The Trade Winds Central Hotel: Girls Just Want to Have Fun
A great "ecclectic" club within the Trade Winds Central Hotel, any age from mid 20s - to 60s, can find fun here. Live entertainment on weekends, and a decent dance floor. This is where mom and the girls go out to boogie, when we're feeling frisky!
Dress Code: Casual, but if you want to get noticed, and like in my case, get a drink or two bought for you - DRESS UP! And ... guys, you may think you can dance in sneakers, but really think about that.
Cains Ballroom: Don't miss Cains -- Home of Western Swing!
One of Tulsa's historic icons is Cains Ballroom, formerly known as Cains Academy. It is in what is now an industrial area that is reverting to a neighborhood full of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and small speciality shops on the north edge of downtown.
Cains once was the Tulsa home of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, the band that helped create the western swing sound in country music.
Just about every big name in country music in the middle decades of the 20th Century played at Cains. It had gone through a gradual decline under a recent owner, but was recently cleaned up, modernized (but still retaining its personality, and is once again a venue for the likes of Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard and many more touring country artists.
It's as much a part of American country music history as Ryman's Auditorium in Nashville or the Sun Records studio in Memphis. It's worth a visit if you're a country music fan.
Mr.Luckys: Bloody Kareoke
I dont mind the odd kareoke song but here they take it so seriously,To serious for us Brits who have been known to have a laugh at ourselves. But it was opposite our hotel and on Wednesdays and Fridays cheap beer and lingerie shows with scantily clad ladies wandering around,after 3 hours of this I got bored !!!***&^%$£"!So it was a top bar with us
Dress Code: Big red and black check shirts and stetsons wouldn't go amiss.
- Beer Tasting
Voodoo Room: Dance Clubs
This is a good place to go if you are into dancing and meeting college age people. The bands are usually pretty good. The best time to go is on Saturday nights. The club is located on 1st street downtown. If you want to see the band listing go to www.urbantulsa.com. Hope this helps.
Dress Code: No dress code
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