Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's time to go out and enjoy the nightlife in Youngstown

The Jambar - ae
Issue: 9/29/05


It's time to go out and enjoy the nightlife in Youngstown
By Eric Grosso

Just a few years ago, not very many people in Youngstown mentioned 'fun' and 'downtown' in the same sentence. Over the last few months, the words have become a common phrase to describe a weekend here.

With the opening of new clubs, restaurants, stores and lounges, downtown Youngstown is in an area of growth: something that seemed impossible a short time ago.

The new spotlight of downtown is the $41-million-Youngstown Convocation Center. The center already has top acts booked, including 3 Doors Down, Tony Bennett, Barenaked Ladies and the Trans Siberian Orchestra. The 5,700-seat venue will also house Youngstown Steelhounds hockey starting in November and a possible Arena Football League team in the future.

Countless forms of entertainment are just a short distance away. Classic bars and restaurants combined with big city style dance clubs make for an interesting mix for Youngstown residents.

Cedar's Lounge one of the most notable venues, housing a restaurant serving Lebanese and American cuisine. Cedars also hosts local and national performers. Pittsburgh heavy rockers The Motorpsychos bring their rhythmic punk with The Blastoffs this Friday. Acclaimed artist BJ O'Malley will perform her unique style of alternative county rock on Saturday.

It's also home base for local musicians The Zou, who held the latest Nouveau Rock Festival at Cedars a few weeks ago, will hold their 4th annual Rocky Horror Halloween Party on Oct. 29.

Cedar's also houses DJ Martini on Sundays, spinning new and underground cult classics. Every Tuesday is jazz and blues night with Teddy Pantelas and swing dancing is held every Thursday.

Two of Youngstown's newest clubs, The Bad Apple and Skeeter's Jazz Bar and Grill, add to the variety of Federal Plaza. The Bad Apple offers the best selection of martinis and also offers live entertainment, while Skeeter's has numerous jazz events throughout the week.

The Core and the Cell are two of the area's best dance clubs, bringing big-city décor and styles to Youngstown. Sports fans can visit Buffalo Wild Wings, which shows numerous sporting events in screens throughout the facility in addition to serving some of the area's best wings.

The re-opening of Federal Street in December started the movement, allowing for traffic to pass conveniently through downtown and generating interest for the first time since 1973. The street's re-opening also saw a number of other additions, including the Bean Counter Café in 2003 and B and B's Unique Ladies Boutique in 2004.

Federal Street isn't the only place to be entertained. The Nyabinghi on Salt Springs Road is usually the center of underground music and entertainment. The venue has hosted groups from Columbus natives Red Wanting Blue to synth-pop brother duo Gil Mantera's Party Dream and numerous local acts.

Thursday at the Nyabinghi will see the Rebreather farewell show, while Friday the 'Binghi will host rock acts Posture Coach, Dramatic Ending and Sam Goodwill. You Are The War That I Want and Soiler will perform on Saturday.

Along with music, perhaps the most entertaining event in the valley in "Crapaoke" held every Wednesday at the Nyabinghi. This off-tune karaoke features a wider-variety song list and encourages performers to let it all hang out on stage: in short, it's not your normal karaoke, and that's a good thing. It also offers some of the best drink selection and prices in town and there's no cover charge for the fun on Wednesdays.

The former Jay Jay's, now known as Shenanigans, hosts a foam party every Monday just a few minutes away from YSU on Market Street.

For the sports fan, YSU Penguin Football starts its Gateway Conference schedule on Saturday at 6 p.m. against Illinois State. In addition to the food and drinks offered in the tailgate lot, Inner Circle Pizza and B&O Station are usually packed on game day. The Penguins are currently 3-1.

Youngstown, at least in the entertainment aspect, is going through a renaissance. Go out and enjoy it.