12 Unique Dining Experiences With Activity Twists In The USA

Tired of spending every weekend at the same bar or restaurant? Epicure & Culture has collected 12 unique ideas for a special social evening in The United States — all with a culinary twist.  All of our top picks have access to quality food to keep you fueled for bowling, live music, arcade games, culinary crawls or wherever the evening will take you.

Punch Bowl Social in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Katie Foote.

Punch Bowl Social in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Katie Foote.

1. Adult Arcade At Punch Bowl Social

Denver, Portland, Austin, Detroit & Cleveland

Punch Bowl Social has three priorities: providing you with top-notch cuisine, libations and nostalgic entertainment. The flagship location is in Denver, Colorado, although they’re all over the US, with more locations to come this year. Choose munchies from a GastoDiner menu that serves locally sourced, organic ingredients in comfort food creations like cauliflower nachos and “hipster chicken” brined in PBR and pickle juice. Sip on libations that span from adult milkshakes to sharable punchbowls to fresh juices. Then play old school games like pinball, boutique bowling, karaoke, darts, billiards, ping-pong or shuffle board.

An evening at Philadelphia Wine School. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Wine School.

An evening at Philadelphia Wine School. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Wine School.

2. Interactive Sommelier Smack-down at Philadelphia Wine School- Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ever dreamed of being on Iron Chef? The Philadelphia Wine School’s Sommelier Smackdown allows you to be the judge as they pit two of Philly’s top wine gurus in a wine and food taste-off. The contestants are challenged to pair the best possible wines for a four-course tasting menu, and you’ll savor the submissions to determine the winner. This Wednesday night event is a hugely popular and has earned mentions in both Wine & Spirits and the Wine Spectator Magazine. This latest hot culinary competition is held at the Wine School of Philadelphia on Wednesdays for $74.99.

Golf, Food and Fun at Topgolf. Photo courtesy of Topgolf Alpharetta.

Golf, Food and Fun at Topgolf. Photo courtesy of Topgolf Alpharetta.

3. Golf-themed Entertainment at TopGolf

Various cities in Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and California

Have you dreamed of playing golf after dark? Bring your family and friends to Topgolf, where the competition of the sport meets your favorite local hangout spot. This premier entertainment and event venue has fun point-scoring golf games for all skill levels, so anyone from the hopeful pro golfer to your neighbor’s 7-year-old kid will stay entertained and engaged. Pair a game with their Injectable Donut Holes and Mushi — Topgolf’s ultimate creation featuring cilantro sticky rice, drunken beans, spiced chicken and Cheddar cheese neatly rolled in a jalapeño tortilla and garnished with sour cream, avocado and sriracha hot sauce.

South Wall of Sushi Roxx.  Photo courtesy of Sushi Roxx.

South Wall of Sushi Roxx. Photo courtesy of Sushi Roxx.

4. Dinner & A Mind-Bending Show At Sushi RoXx

New York City

If you want a new after-dark take on dinner theater, look no further than Sushi RoXx located within The Tuscany, a St. Giles Boutique Hotel in Midtown East New York City. Diners can experience “POP ROXX,” a nightly spectacle where waiters and waitresses take orders before morphing into the night’s stars, singing and dancing to numbers expertly choreographed by former Pussycat Dolls star, Asia Nitollano. The restaurant comes alive as Asian cityscapes project behind guests, dragons weave in and out of the walls and pillars transform into waterfalls. Reservations and dancing are strongly recommended at this Tokyo-themed, restaurant-nightclub hybrid.

Street Food Cinema Opening Night. Photo courtesy of SFC.

Street Food Cinema Opening Night. Photo courtesy of SFC.

5. Al Fresco Dinner & A Movie At Street Food Cinema

Los Angeles, California

What could be better than a summer night spent on the lawn with a cool outdoor movie, tasty gourmet food trucks and live music? Launched in 2012, Street Food Cinema brings together the best in pop culture films, gourmet street food and progressive new music to reinvent the traditional movie going experience – al fresco style. Each of these elements are carefully curated and combined to create a unique experience that keeps audiences coming back again and again. In 2015, Street Food Cinema will host 50 events in 11 different locations across Los Angeles over 27 weeks ­ every Saturday from May 2nd through October 31st.

Gaming Under the Influence, Chicago. Photo courtesy of GUI.

Gaming Under the Influence, Chicago. Photo courtesy of GUI.

6. Gaming Under The Influence

Chicago, Illinois

Are game shows your guilty pleasure? Every Friday from 8-11 PM, participate in the live, weekly, internet-broadcasted show Gaming Under the Influence in Chicago. Watch as three contestants battle in an interactive game show/arcade experience that consists of booze, nerf guns and smoke machines. If you are in Chicago and are over 21 you can get free drinking and gaming as you watch the show (just sign up in advance here). Gaming Under the Influence is in the process of adding a pop-up food element with local restaurateurs in the city so keep an eye out for that.

BreakTime Bar and Bowl. Photo courtesy of BreakTime Bar and Bowl.

BreakTime Bar and Bowl. Photo courtesy of BreakTime Bar and Bowl.

7. Vintage Dinner & Bowling At BreakTime Bowl And Bar

Pawtucket, Rhode Island

For those seeking a classy dinner and bowling experience, check out BreakTime Bowl and Bar in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Enjoy the atmosphere in a renovated 1920s historic mill building showcasing exposed brick, a sleek bar and comfortable leather sofas. Bring your own beverage and bowling shoes, but get ready for amazing food, not found in most bowling alleys. Meals are made at the restaurant Bread Lab downstairs, serving up “booze and bread” centric creative comfort foods. Picture cheeseburger flatbread pizzas, lobster mac and cheese, queso-ladden plantain sandwiches and nachos topped with barbecue pulled pork. In this nighttime hot spot, the duckpins are hand set each time a guest bowls, and a staff personally returns the bowling balls to you as you bowl.

Grande River Vineyards in Palisade, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Katie Foote.

Grande River Vineyards in Palisade, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Katie Foote.

8. Picnic and Live Music At Grande River Vineyard

Palisade, Colorado

Dust off your lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Relax and rewind in a beautiful vineyard on the Western Slopes of Colorado with Grande River Vineyards “Heard it through the Grapevine” concert series. On Saturdays throughout the summer, they deliver live music, great wine and delicious food to benefit a variety of local charities. From jazz to Latin, bluegrass to classical, there’s something for everyone. You can pack a picnic or enjoy dinner prepared at the vineyard.

C Casa Tacos, one stop on the Napa Culinary Tours. Photo courtesy of Napa Culinary Tours.

C Casa Tacos, one stop on the Napa Culinary Tours. Photo courtesy of Napa Culinary Tours.

9. Downtown Napa Culinary Crawl

Napa, California

Connect with other foodies or enjoy a fun evening with friends at Napa’s bi-monthly culinary crawls. In addition to the region’s legendary tasting rooms, discover the best of Downtown’s renowned restaurants with a delicious culinary crawl on Thursday nights. These walking food and wine tour offer locals and visitors the opportunity to “Walk. Taste. Sip!” their way through Napa’s remarkable culinary scene. Each crawl lasts from approximately 5 to 8:30 p.m. and showcases three restaurants. Every evening features a different combination of stops so attendees can explore a wide variety of flavors where specially paired bites are paired with exclusive drink specials.

Sid Gold's Request Room Piano Bar in New York City. Photo courtesy of Sid's.

Sid Gold’s Request Room Piano Bar in New York City. Photo courtesy of Sid’s.

10. Piano Bar At Sid Gold’s Request Room

New York City

Check out Chelsea’s newest piano bar, Sid Gold’s Request Room, for a contemporary take on the classic piano bar. Cmbining an interactive performance space and socialization saloon, the glitzy Mad Man-style venue brings customers back in to a time when a person at a piano entertained a crowd with party tunes, back before discos. Customers sit around the piano, sipping cocktails and munching timeless party pleasers like pigs in blanket and deviled eggs. The pianist determines the type of music, the style of performance and the general tone of the evening; however, don’t be surprised if you get a smattering of 60s and 70s pop, rock and soul, eighties and nineties new wave, disco and punk as well as 21st century indie rock and current pop.

Hazelnut, one of the lambs that awaits at Living Farm's "Love a Lamb Night"

Hazelnut, one of the lambs that awaits at Living Farm’s “Love a Lamb” Night

11.  Table to Farm At Living Farm Cafe

Paonia, Colorado

“Farm to table” is all the rage in the current culinary scene, but how about spending a night going Table to Farm? Start with a winemaker’s dinner at Living Farm Cafe in Paonia, Colorado. During this fall dinner series, Chef Mike will construct a multi-course meal paired with local wines and spirits for an educational and social evening at a truly farm to table restaurant.  After eating, check out Chef Mike’s family farm right down the road to see where the ingredients are grown. On Tuesday nights, from 7-8pm, the farm welcomes visitors and members of the community to “Love a Lamb.”  Spend a few hours petting, snuggling and loving some of the farm’s cutest creatures.  This event helps the lambs socialize and helps create a bond between farmers and townspeople.  The Living Farm also offers felting classes in the winter, tours and other events.

One of the Stops of The Stars Bars Tour.  Photo courtesy of Hollywood Walking Tours.

One of the Stops of The Stars Bars Tour. Photo courtesy of Hollywood Walking Tours.

12.  Old Hollywood Walking Tour

Los Angeles, California

Do you wish you could travel back in time to Hollywood’s Golden Age of iconic, Art Deco bars, speakeasies and mobster hangouts? Join Historic Hollywood Stars & Bars tours Tuesday to Saturday evenings for the opportunity to linger at bars once frequented by Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway. This walking tour will bring you to the hidden bars and restaurants of Old Hollywood, including history, ghost stories a drink in several different places in order to experience the ambiance of these historic spots and a street food snack.

What’s your favorite unique dining experience with an activity twist in the USA?

By Katie Foote

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Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she travels the world any chance she can get. After four years of semi-nomadic life as she finished her PhD, she's recently moved to Auckland, New Zealand. Despite beginning a more traditional life, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes to swim, do yoga and hike (or "tramp" as they say in New Zealand). Check out Katie's blog to follow her adventures around the world.

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