Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Hidden Gems of NoDa Nightlife

A few laughs of Thai food

Posted By on Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 2:27 PM

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In last week's column, I talked about my first trip to Hoppin', the first self-pour beer hall located in the Gold District of South End. On the first Wednesday following their grand opening, it was lit! After one great first new impression in the Q.C., I didn't want to end the night's adventure. The night was young!

My friend and I were both hungry so we decided to grab some Thai food at Deejai Noda Noodle Bar. As a NoDa resident, my friend had been asking me to try out another spot next door called Crown Station Coffee House & Pub for some time. So why not kill two birds with one stone? We snagged an Uber and headed straight for North Davidson Street.

I wasn't quite sure where this Thai place would be located as I haven't ventured to the backside of the neighborhood in a while, so I was all the more surprised to see the massive bridge built for the the light rail right across from the Renaissance Townhomes. A recent CATS report hinted that the new light rail going from Uptown through NoDa to University could be open as soon as February, so I expect I'll be seeing plenty more of this area very soon.

As it turns out, NoDa Street Market, the building Deejai Noda and Crown Station are in, just opened up this past summer. Deejai the first to open, followed by Crown Station in September. With Bold Missy Brewery opening around the same time across the street, the area has become a happening little spot.

We ordered pad thai to go and, to my surprise, we were told that they'd bring it next door when our order was done. Um, where else they do that at?! Having frequented the neighborhood of Elizabeth quite often, I was shocked to find out that Crown Station used to be in Elizabeth, but closed in March of 2016.

We entered Crown Station and I immediately understood why CLT needed to bring back the spot for round two. I walked into an intimate lounge vibe bathed in dim lighting, a sitting area to the left, a full bar, tall and short tables as well as a stage. We headed to the bar and waited for a drink. One more drink and a full belly and I'd be ready for some good ol' sleep.

Little did we know, we were in for a show, a comedy show. That's right, every Wednesday you can catch an open mic comedy show at Crown Station brought to you by Crown City Comedy. We'd noticed someone was writing names down in the corner while someone else was "mic testing" but when I went to their Instagram to see if anything was going down, I didn't see any posts.

We sat down at a table in the corner near the stage and noticed slips of paper on the table that read: "YOU LOOK LIKE." There was space to fill in blanks but I couldn't quite tell how I'd fill them in. We went on about our business and cracked open our pad thai. A few moments later, two comedy hosts started cracking jokes on one another. I looked at my friend and we both had that face of, "You just can't make this shit up." Talk about synchronicity.

"You look like you got your haircut by a lesbian," the female host says to the male host. I most certainly giggled because I thought the male host was #fam i.e. an actual lesbian. Oddly enough, my issues with anxiety around secondhand embarrassment (the personal embarrassment one feels on account of and for another) didn't cause issues when the participants in the show told jokes that just didn't stick.

I actually reveled in the awkwardness, as I would watching a move with dry humor like, say, Due Date. Even when we found out the duo was actually dating in real life and the guy told his partner, "You look like you don't swallow," and things started getting heated, I knew I'd gotten comfortable with the discomfort that comes along with amateur comedy shows. Yep, I was sold.

My friend tried to convince me to get on stage to tell a few jokes, but that wasn't going to happen. Instead, he wrote down his own "you look like" joke. After all of the comedians took their turn, we had the option of making fun of them and my friend called out one of them who was the proud owner of a rather thick pornstache and next thing you know he was asking how to spell "merkin," which is a pubic wig. When I tell you I hollered!

If you haven't had a chance to check out Crown Station, you better now while it's still a hidden gem in the northside of NoDa. And if you're like me and like a good #awkwardmoment, you must check out the Wednesday comedy show.

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