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Charleston, SC Restaurant & Bar Blog

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In our Charleston, SC restaurant, bar, and nightlife blog, we'll keep you informed on which restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, live music venues, or events our staff attended recently? We'll let you know facts, findings, and places to cherish, or steer clear of. 

To list your Charleston restaurant, bar, or nightlife hot-spot, on our blog, contact us. We'll be happy to pay a visit and let web viewers read our findings!

The staff of Charlestoncocktail.com, who dine at Charleston, SC restaurants and drink at Charleston, SC bars frequently, has collaborated to offer you a blog of our recent stops, and what we did or did not like about them. As Charleston, SC restaurant and nightlife connoisseurs, we wanted to pass along a bit more knowledge, firsthand accounts, if you will.

If you'd like to comment or add to this Charleston, SC restaurant, bar, and nightlife blog, feel free! Just fill out our "write a review" contact form.

Monday, August 14, 2011 - Our staff writes;

Our week started off with a little fishing on the Stono River, trying to catch that "bruiser" I had been dreaming about all week. Yes, people who have a fishing addiction do dream about this all the time. Needless to say I never caught that “the granddaddy of them all”, but I did catch a great bite and a buzz that was just as good! (Well, almost as good!)

Sun kissed and in need of restrooms and beer in a hurry, we docked at Charleston Crabhouse restaurant on the Wapoo Cut, or if you were coming by land just off of Maybank Highway. After a quick hand and face wash, we decided to hunker down on the Crabhouse's back deck, overlooking the sunset on the "cut" for some cocktails and crab legs.

Our server was a polite, steadily accommodating, senior in high school probably. Down to business, he took our drink order, and before you know it, we had some ice cold Yuenglings in our hands. We were in no rush at this point and our server was quite observant of this.

Another 10 minutes of brews and bullshitting went by and the apps started arriving. The seared Tuna had a nice crust and a bright red interior. My companions were happy! I could tell by how fast that Tuna flopped into everybody's mouths.

The "not hard to mess up" Calamari had the same problem as the Hushpuppies, a little dark on the outside. It was evident it was time to change the fryer oil. No biggie, we decided crispy Calamari would do us just fine, and we engulfed those as well. When you have been in the hot sun, with nothing to eat but beef jerky since breakfast, it’s not that hard to devour any "solid" as soon as you come into contact, lol! “I do say though, that they were pretty darn good”.

Dinner arrived promptly after we devoured our apps, and the smell of steaming King Crab Legs and drawn butter filled the already, salty, low-tide, air. We got a pound each and they really did hit the spot!

After a quick nightcap at their indoor bar, we settled up the bill and called it a night. Overall, Charleston Crabhouse restaurant really did its job. It's a casual dining restaurant in Charleston with middle-of-the-road appeal.

Monday, August 27, 2011 - Our staff writes;

Tuesday night, after a heart pounding NFL Fantasy Football Draft, my business partner Rod, our friend Lee, and my roommate/friend Rick decided to go to Oasis Bar and Grill on James Island to discuss our picks. This wouldn’t have been my first choice of bar, but Rod and Lee seem to love it. They feel like it’s their "Cheers", and get treated with respect.

As I walked in I was greeted by GM Jeremy sitting at the bar with a half a buzz on. He's a nice guy and loves to joke around and make you feel at home. It worked.

We had one more shot and one more beer as we enjoyed a smoke on the back porch, which I'd like to add was overgrown with vegetation and just waiting to see some action. It has so much potential if they would only take a little better care of the area.

We said our goodbyes and headed home for the evening. Even though it’s not the nicest bar on James Island, I would go back simply because the GM Jeremy always treats us like family and the owner is also an old friend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2011 - Our staff writes;

Not a bad night at downtown Charleston, SC's restaurants and bars!  We landed at a few unassuming establishments which turned out to be quite fun for as Tuesday night in July. It filled our bellies and quenched our thirst!

First, we started out at Kickin' Chicken, located on King Street, where we enjoyed their classic sandwich, with fries and their special sauce, as well as a few tasty draft Sweetwater 420's. The original Kickin' Chicken' sandwich always hits the spot and the service was impeccable!

After dinner, this Charleston, SC restaurant and bar was quite dead, but the bar had a few patrons.  They were enjoying MLB on the tube while sipping on their drink of choice. The bartender, in his mid-twenties, was absolutely worthless! He acted as if we were a nuisance and he was a little too important to deal with us right away. His big five customers must have been pretty important people!

After we finally caught this worthless bartender's attention, about five long minutes, he took our order, we sat, enjoyed our beer, and took off with out saying "thank you" or "good bye". The bartender did not deserve it and because of the service we may try to go back on a different night, when the "seasoned" bartenders are behind the bar working! We suggest a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night.

Next, we decided to meander on over to Burns Alley, which is located parallel to Calhoun just after King Street. We did make the right decision there! The three of us took a seat at this Charleston, SC bar and enjoyed the scenery, as well as our cold adult beverages! Burns Alley was offering $2 house drinks which packed the house with hot young professionals and college students galore! Like I said before, the scenery was hot!

I enjoyed a Guinness while my acquaintances slurped up the $2 well drink special. The bartender, who introduced himself as TJ, took great care of us! He was "quick with a joke or to light up your smoke!" There were around 30 people in this Charleston bar and he was "on point", making sure everybody had a full glass. We suggest you give Burns Alley in Charleston, SC a shot!

Wednesday, Dec 29, 2011 - Our staff writes;

Joe Pasta, on King Street in Charleston, a few friends and I decided to have some dinner at a restaurant on upper King somewhere. We decided on 39 Rue De Jean in Charleston, SC!

We were kindly greeted by the hostess and were seated in the bar area, which we prefer. After a kind greeting by the server, we started with a few glasses of vino. We then went on to order the duck confit, braised pork belly, mussels (garlic aioli) and braised lamb shank. The server that waited on us was a Folly Beach resident and he turned out to be buying in to Rue De Jean's  menus, --well informed, quick, witty, and not overbearing...perfect!

The meal was just the brand we wanted, and we would give the menu items, that we chose, the following ratings: pork belly, 8/10, mussels, 10/10, duck confit, 9/10, and lamb shank, 7/10. Once again, 39 Rue De Jean restaurant & bar in Charleston never disappoints!  We highly suggest Rue De Jean to transients and locals who have not had the fortune to dine at Charleston's finest French restaurant!

We at Charleston Cocktail haven't had an opportunity lately (if you call 3 days lack, lol), to visit the several new Charleston bars that surfaced!  We desperately needed a night on the town!  So, we made a few phone calls, gathered for a pregame cocktail, and then hit the road.  First stop, Cocktail Club!  Talk about some talent behind the bar!  Not only were the cocktails inventive and packed with flavors, but the mostly female staff was especially easy on the eyes, too!

The décor at Cocktail Club reminded me personally, of a  childhood memory. Seeing my family's new house being built, for the first time. Skeletal (in a good way)!  Mostly separated  with just 2x4 frames, Cocktail Club's openness is soothing. Three lounge areas, packed with wonderful earth tone colored furniture, interact with Cocktail Club's main bar area, nicely.  It makes it feel w-I-d-e open inside!  You see everything around you, including their remarkable liquor selection which can only be reached by ladder.  Remember that comment "...especially easy on the eyes"? Lol!?

Reminiscent of Raval (old tapas bar where Closed For Business is now stands), Cocktail Club has a small butcher/cold food production area, on the left-hand side of the bar.  One can choose from small "bites" to accompany the imaginative cocktails, Cocktail Club serves-up. We love the place!  Drinks are well prepared, staff are hotties, and the place is comfy!  We'll be back for more soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2011 - Our staff writes;

2012 Charleston Restaurant Week appears in Charleston, SC January 12 - 22. Choices are 2, 3, and 4 courses for $20, $30, and $40. We highly suggest you check them out!

Here are the Charleston restaurants and bars participating in “Charleston Restaurant Week". They are offering 3 courses for $20

AW Shucks Seafood Restaurant, Bricco Bracco, Butcher & Bee, Charleston Crab House, EVO Extra Virgin Oven, Firewater Grille, Fish Restaurant, Five Loaves Cafe, Fuji Sushi Bar and Grill, Gilligan’s Seafood Restaurant, Grindz Burgers & Brew, Heirloom Eats, Hyman’s Seafood, Iacofano’s Italian Bistro & Bar, J. Paulz, Juanita Greenberg’s, Locklear’s Restaurant, Manny’s Neighborhood Grille, Mellow Mushroom Downtown, Mercury Bar, Noisy Oyster Seafood Restaurant, North Towne Grill and Seafood, Old Towne Grill and Seafood, Queen Anne’s Revenge, Southend Brewery, Starfish Grille, Swamp Fox,The Roost Bar N’ Grille, Tommy Condons, Tsunami Downtown, Vespa Pizzeria, Virginia’s On King, Wild Wing Cafe, Yamato Japanese Steakhouse, Yokoso Japanese Restaurant and Zeus Grill and Seafood Restaurant.

These Charleston, SC restaurants and bars are offering 3 courses for $30  during this year's "Charleston Restaurant Week":

17 North Roadside Kitchen, 39 Rue de Jean, 82 Queen, Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, Anson Restaurant, Bambu, Barbadoes Room, Bistro 536, Blossom, Blu Restaurant & Bar, Bocci’s Italian Restaurant, Chai’s Lounge, Circa 1886, Coast Bar & Grill, Cork,  Cypress, Eurasia Wine Bar & Cafe, Fat Hen, Fleet Landing, Fulton Five, Graze, Gullah Cuisine, High Cotton, Huck’s Lowcountry Table, Husk Restaurant, IL Cortile Del Re, Jacob’s Kitchen, La Fourchette, Lana, Leaf Cafe & Bar, Magnolias, Mercato Italian Restaurant, Middleton Place Restaurant, Morgan Creek Grill, MUSE, O-Ku, Oak Steakhouse, Old Village Post House, Opal Restaurant and Bar, Osteria La Bottiglia, Poogan’s Porch, R.B.’s Seafood Restaurant, Red Drum Restaurant, Red’s Ice House, Saffire Restaurant, Sea Island Grill, Shem Creek Bar and Grill, Slightly North of Broad, Social, Stack’s Evening Eats, Station 22 Restaurant, Atlantic Room, Boathouse at Breach Inlet, Grocery, Jasmine Porch, Library at Vendue Inn, Macintosh, Tomasso at Turtle Point, Two Keys Tavern and Wentworth Grill.

Tuesday, February 15, 2012 - Our staff writes;

A friend and I started out our evening with a little din-din at Zen Asian Fusion, on Sam Rittenberg Blvd. in West Ashley. The Asian fusion claimed restaurant is located across from the Citadel Mall.  Server was informative, sweet, talkative and precise.  She made it well worth it!  We had a few glasses of house vino, which where priced quite fairly for the location. Food was so-so, as we tried the Udon Noodle Bowl (not a soup like we hoped), Chicken Pineapple Fried Rice, and couple a few sushi rolls. 

There are better options in the area for that type of Asian food, but the place is posh. It's fashioned with a lot of Bamboo and several other types of modern Asian flair. It seemed like a spectacular place to go for happy hour. Or, on date night. :)

Afterwards, an old favorite on Folly Beach we always are partial to, Surf Bar was the next stop. Again, we love this Folly Beach Bar!  Live music, wood-fired eats, island cocktails, surf videos, and friendly owners keep us coming back!

Charleston, Mt Pleasant, or North Charleston restaurants can be a wonderful experience...with the right people and choice. This next stop happened to be the right selection, with the best of company!

On a Sunday afternoon, with friends in town, we decided to go enjoy some high gravity beers. Closed for Business was the bar, and we loved every minute of it!

The first round we started off with was a suggestion from the gentleman tending bar. Ben was his name-o, lol. It happened to be a warm and sunny spring afternoon and he suggested a White Ale would be perfect!  He was right with his suggestion!

This particular Charleston, SC restaurant handpicks a selection of rotating beers that change with season and availability. Only makes sense, right?   So many restaurants and bars don't get this!  Such an easy task when planned out properly.

The next big decision was what to order from the lunch menu. It all looked so good! Whenever the scent of bacon fills the air air (which it was), you've got to be pretty excited about what you are about to dive into!  We ordered the hotdog, with house-made mustard and pickles, along with fresh local green beans. Not the typical side dish for a snappy dog, but when a restaurant knows what they’re doing, all rules go out the window. We also sampled a few apps and had a several more rounds of dank beers.  Great experience, great place, great company!

You can always trust any restaurant or bar Rev owns (Taco Boy,Monza, Poe’s Tavern and Closed for Business). They don't spend buckoo bucks on advertising, but instead properly train their staff members the right way. So key in the Charleston F&B biz! This practice keeps locals and tourists coming back to their unique Charleston restaurants for more!  Their latest project is a Seafood restaurant, somewhere in uptown Charleston.  Not sure of the name yet.  We'll keep you posted a soon as we hear more.  We also heard rumors of a brew pub  in the works.  We're excited to try both of these new Charleston bars and restaurants, once they are completed! Kudos to Karalee, Tim, and Ben!  Hi guys! 

Tuesday February 29, 2012 - Our staff writes;

A restaurant and bar in Charleston, which we don’t always remember to visit, is T-Bonz!  Located on the Market, between East Bay and Meeting Streets, this Charleston restaurant and bar has been popular with casual dining restaurateurs and steak lovers for years!  They also brew damn-good beer which flows freely from  several taps!

We popped in to see a friend who was just getting off work. We sat at the bar (usually the case unless it’s formal), and she ordered a cocktail.  I did too, and decided on a New Belgium Belgo IPA.  Hoppie and delici-oso!  We ordered a few steaks, too! One had a wonderful blue cheese crumble on top and was cooked perfectly mid rare!  Not bad!  We suggest you try it out for yourselves! 

The T-Bonz family of casual dining restaurants in Charleston, SC consists of their spot on Market Street downtown, another on Cosgrove in West Ashley, Pearlz in West Ashley on Magnolia Road, and Pearlz on East Bay Street next to McCrady’s. And, don't forget Kaminsky's next door to T-Bonz on the Market, known for deserts and coffee drinks.   Pretty sure Liberty in Mt. P is theirs, too.  All great choices!

We really enjoy the customer service and oyster shots at Pearlz, downtown on East Bay Street. They are always naturally friendly and courteous! 

The oyster shots are a unique alcoholic concoction containing Absolute Peppar, an oyster, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, and some horsey sauce (No, I wasn't referring to Arby's, lol).  Yummy!  We sometimes substitute rounds of oyster shots for appetizers, lol.  They are meals of their own!

Next, we ventured to see an old bartender friend of ours, at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub, just steps away from the historical Market and T-Bonz.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t in that evening but that didn’t stop us from knocking back several pints of Guinness and a few Fish and Chip Platters.  When in Rome…lol. One can catch live music at Tommy's with their Irish house band.  They jam Irish rock and more, Wednesday through Sunday.

Tommy Condon's Irish Pub was, and always is, a great time!  For those visiting or new to the area, make sure to stop in. Whether it’s a weeknight, weekend night, St Patty’s Day, or Halfway to St Patrick's Day, this place is the original Irish Pub in Charleston!  Halfway to St Patty's Day, you ask?  Yes!  Why not, lol?!  Years ago they used to close off the street in front of their Charleston bar and restaurant!   Fun times!  The streets would be lined with party-goers, beer trucks, live music and familiar faces!  Definitely miss those college days, lol!

Tuesday March 14, 2012 - Our staff writes;

You don’t always have to spend a fortune in Charleston to have a good meal.  This next Chinese buffet in Charleston is a prime example.  We at Charlestoncocktail.com are longtime fans of Chinese buffets and have been known to put down more than our fare share of all the popular dishes that are usually offered at that sort of place.

A1 Super Buffet was the victim this time! We’ve seen signs hinting that they were opening soon and wanted to give it a shot. 

There used to be another "spot-on" Chinese Buffet in Charleston (actually West Ashley), called King Buffet, in that same shopping center (Harris Teeter on 17 where he, Coburg Cow, stands proud).  We always agreed that it would be a great idea to stick another one there, in the same general locale.  Finally someone did and it was worth the approximate 5 year wait!

We settled in for what turned out to be the best Chinese Buffet in Charleston!  Hands down!  They had roughly 50 dishes, ranging from the norms to a few unique choices.

We had 2 different steamed clam dishes, raw oysters on the half shell, sushi, squid salad, seaweed salad and a few different types of dumplings.  A1 Super Buffet also offers a “Mongolian Barbeque“, where one can choose items and have them freshly stir-fried right in front of you.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the attentiveness they showed each guest! We saw, what seemed to be an owner, staying on top of the entire operation like it was nobody biz.  The décor could use a consultant, but we aren't  too picky about that sort of thing if the food is on point, which it was!

Tuesday March 28, 2012 - Our staff writes

It's the end of March and starting to get hot!  That means it's time for the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, South Carolina!  If you’re looking for a just the right spot to relax before, after, and during this year’s bridge run, Mad River Bar and Grille on South Market Street is offering ALL DAY specials. After the "River" Run, stop by the "River" ("washing me down") for; $2.50 Mich Ultras, $2.50 Bud Lights, $2.50 Bud Selects, $5 Bloody Marys, and $4 Mimosas!They also have a special bridge run food menu, available ALL DAY!

Another great event, coinciding with this year’s Bridge Run, is the Bloody Mary Throwdown.  It involves several restaurants (Coast Bar & Grille, Poogans, Cocktail Club, Fleet Landing, Fiddlers, Voo Doo Lounge, and more) competing for the rights to "the best Bloody Mary" in Charleston, SC.  Each Charleston restaurant or bar competing this year, will be represented by one of their own stud bartenders.  Can't wait for this one! Watch out for John from Coast...he's won several contests like this in the past and can mix up quite a fine cocktail!

Tuesday April 10, 2012 - Our staff writes

Loggerheads Tavern - Folly Beach, Folly Beach Sunset Cay Marina Bar, Max & Henry's - James Island

We made our way to Folly Beach on a Friday night, to listen to live music in Charleston (or, Folly in this case) and enjoy a bit of "downtime'. I have to say, it worked out quite well:)!

We started at Loggerhead's Beach Grille, on Folly Beach. Great Bar on Folly Beach to visit! It is located two blocks off Center Street, at 123 West Ashley Ave, going towards Folly Beach County Park (or, what's left of it). We had a group 6 that evening, and have only great things to mention! We absolutely loved the set-up there, now that it’s been revamped. The deck mostly!

The outdoor deck/patio/bar is well equipped with a sufficient sized bar and seating area, for around 75 people, easy! That area offers a great communal high-top table, with the coolest centerpiece of flames and stones! Captivating and pleasing to the eye, the esthetics of fire draws one in and renders a more intimate feeling to the area. It’s just right for catching up with friends. Loggerheads Bar on Folly Beach capitalizes on that effect!

Loggerhead's restaurant and bar on Folly Beach also has ample space inside! It's equipped with a large bar that seats roughly 20 people, and approximately 15 more tables and booths.  They have several Flatscreen HDTV's, a stage for great live music, and a pool table.  The live music though, makes Loggerhead's "tick"!  They fit right into Charleston, SC's live music scene!

The only neg for the evening was trying to order drinks over the live music inside. We just adapted by buying our drinks between songs:). Not a biggie whatsoever, just a "tip". The door to the deck is usually closed, so the deck scene provides a quieter ambiance where the music can be enjoyed, but it doesn’t hinder ordering drinks or friendly conversation.

Outside on their patio there would not have been that issue. The areas are separated by a door and provide separation between "scenes".

BTW - did we mention the ladies? That's nice too, if you’re a single guy, "looking"! And ladies, there’s also eye candy for you. Plenty of men to go around, so please no pushing! K ladies, lol?

Next, we meandered over to Folly Beach's Sunset Cay Marina Bar and Restaurant, formerly a Folly Beach bar called “The Hideaway.” A friend of ours keeps his yacht there, and has always had nothing but good things to say about the spot. He was dead on! Great bartenders, interesting crowd to spark up conversation with, and above average food, for "just" a marina bar!

We ordered several rounds of cold Corona's (because that's what you do by the water, lol) and menu items to share. First we decided on a "Fresh Catch" sandwich which offers several preparation options as well as the choice between local Snapper or Grouper. We went with the Grouper, blackened. Yummy flavor and tender!

We also tried the Fish Tacos and Turkey Club. Like the “Fresh Catch” sandwich, the Fish Tacos were offered in Snapper or Grouper and several preparation options. Since we had chosen the Grouper for the sandwich, we went with the Snapper for the tacos. They came stacked with fresh tasty nuggets of well-seasoned Snapper, red onions, lettuce, tomatoes, drizzled with sour cream, and served on a round soft corn tortilla.

The Turkey Club was "on-time", and while simple, it was delicious! Bacon, Turkey, and Provolone cheese, were layered on a perfectly toasted piece of white bread! When a bar or restaurant realizes the importance of precise cooking techniques (easier said than done), the sky's the limit! Try out Sunset Cay Marina Bar and Restaurant next time you’re out to Folly Beach! Or, if you’re traveling by boat, pull in for a bite and a beer! You'll be glad you did!

Last, but not least that eve, we stopped off at Max & Henry's on Folly Road --- just for a nightcap...or so we thought. :) Max & Henry's has a game room stuffed with video games, pool tables, ping pong, and more. It’s a bit like Dave and Busters, just on a smaller scale. We wrapped ourselves in Max & Henry's arcade-like environment! We had a few competitive (that's what guys do) Nascar Races, shot some stick, and soaked up several "beves".

Max & Henry's on East Bay Street has a great "separate but together", feel to it. There are two entrances and areas, to savor. Walking into the main bar/seating area, one can watch sports and relax. The second area allows for easy access for drinks (it has a "service bar") and is stacked with entertainment! If you’re against fun, Max & Henry's is probably not for you! If you’re out to have a blast, we think this James Island bar and restaurant is the "ticket".

Tuesday April 24, 2012 - Our staff writes

Mac's Tavern -Downtown Charleston and Recovery Room - Downtown Charleston

Mac's Place, you ask? This downtown Charleston bar and restaurant is sweet! Talk about comfortable! They have live music, bartenders that actually give a shit, great food, and there really isn't a particular "type" of crowd that goes there. That's why we prefer this Charleston bar! It has a cool neighborhood feel to it! We met a few out-of-towner's, several locals, and other chefs/food & bevy employees, that night.

It kind of reminds you of an Irish pub, but classier. Mac's Place has a cool open-aired freezer tucked into the wall, behind the bar, where shots meant to be served cold, are housed. Brilliant! They have half a dozen (if not more) beers on draught and do a bang-up job on the food, too! We ordered a round of burgers cook to our various desired temps. The kitchen delivered with burgers “just right” for everyone; and instead of the usual boring fries, crispy hand-cut potato chips accompanied the burgers.

If one is looking for a non-pretentious Charleston bar & restaurant to enjoy some good food, drinks, and live music, Mac's place in Charleston, SC “certainly fills the bill”
Our next stop was Recovery Room ((known as the Rec Room by locals) on upper King, and underneath the I26 bridge.

  Recovery Room is a Charleston bar you have to take advantage of! The crowd at this bar is an eclectic mix, unlike others we have mentioned recently. I enjoy the mix of people there, and it doesn’t hurt that the crowd contains many that are “easy on the eyes.”  Drinks are moderately priced, crowd is sociable, and the bartenders are on-point!  You'll see students from local colleges in Charleston, service industry employees, and neighborhood folk, soaking up suds ands cocktails daily.

The Rec Room was packed when we showed up...and rightfully so! Good people congregate at good bars:). There is an average sized horseshoe-shaped bar, several booths, a patio in front, a pool table, and an alley for you smokers.

Rec Room isn't anything special to look at when you break it down. It's more the people that make this Charleston bar such a great place to visit! Check it out...if you haven't done so already!

Thursday May 17, 2012 - Our staff writes

Mad River Bar And Grille In Charleston Introduces their New Spring Menu

Beside watching Facebook's initial launch price today, lol, check out Mad River Bar & Grille's new Spring menu!  They brought in some great new additions to the table for the hot season!  We suggest trying the Lobster Ravioli, Tuna Taco's and Fried Pickles!

Also, "Metal Monday" are back in Charleston on Mondays, Ladies Night is on Wednesdays, Thursday's are reserved for VIP parties and "Parties For A Purpose", and Sunday means All-You Can-Eat Brunch Buffet (include a free Mimosa)!  Check out Mad River's weekly line-up for a more detailed look at their upcoming events, entertainment, specials, and happenings.