The Daily Planet comes to Raleigh

I dropped by the construction of the Nature Research Center that is joining the Museum of Natural Sciences at 11 West Jones Street. It’s pretty cool.

The Daily Planet is a 3-story, HD, multi-media space that sits smack dab in front, positioned as if it could just roll away like a pin-ball in the downtown Raleigh machine. And check the skywalk connecting this new 80,000 square foot research center to the museum.

From the looks of it and the hype surrounding what they’ll be offering inside, it seems truly worthy of the goal to recruit and inspire minds.

Which is what the director, Margaret D. Lowman, is looking to do. She’s led a pretty daring life – hanging around in treetops and raising a family in them too – and sounds like the right scientist for the job.

The Nature Research Center will be complete next spring (2012) and plans don’t stop there. Ultimately the master plan is to complete a Green Square Complex – which will also be the new home for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Push your glasses up and pop on the latex gloves, cause Science is getting a two-block multi-use development project in Raleigh.


Raleigh Times & Landmark (bars)

I know you shouldn’t pick favorites, but this country was founded on competition (wasn’t it?) so it’s in my blood and I’m going for it.

And you, my faithful readers, deserve it.

The two best bars in downtown Raleigh are Raleigh Times and Landmark. Hands down. Always a good time. And best when hit up in combination.

Raleigh Times

I have to tell you a secret. This bar inspired me to start this blog. I was sitting with a friend outside and for the first time felt really proud and excited about my city. I’ve always been in love with Raleigh, but this was butterflies.

I mean, Obama came here when he was in town.

The food is great 100% of the time. No lie. Favorite app – pickle chips, favorite meal – chop salad. Deliciously cheap PBRs, modestly priced local drafts and a big ole selection of expensive, special stuff.

Landmark

The bar-only, party-only younger sibling to The Times. No food, just Jager bombs. No, no I’m kidding, but this is the place to celebrate a new job, take friends from out of town or who don’t get out much, and just have a good time.

“Well, there are a lot of hipsters there…”

You know what I say to that? If they are having a better time than you are because you’re upset “hipsters” are there, then you’re the one that’s lame.

Ah, and if you meet a guy named Gary there, have a pint with him. He’s totally rad.

These two set the bar really high (hehe) and that’s what downtown needs. A standard, aspirations, bars that aren’t hiding anything, no gimmicks.

Places like Foundation and Busy Bee are on that grind too.

Then there’s Issac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern who caught my eye but I’ve been unimpressed with it’s lack of character lately. It was on the path…and then somebody somewhere got too cool. I’d love to see them get it back.

Another favorite in downtown is the Amplified Art gallery. These folks hit the ground running when they opened last year — a featured artist and drinks every First Friday and at least a few special events every month.

This weekend on Saturday, March 12th check out the work of Justin Helton. He’s done a lot of work with Ween and The Avett Brothers (including the New Years and surprise shows last year).

His website: http://statusserigraph.com.

Live music: Debonzo Brothers (http://www.myspace.com/debonzobrothers), who also have upcoming shows at Berkeley Café and Fullsteam.