Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
The year 2010 saw a number of shifts among Central Arkansas's clubs. On the Rocks, the home to dirt-cheap drink specials and all-chrome decor, shut its doors. Ditto for Satellite, the Heights cafe and emerging venue; and Rio's, the short-lived dance component of Gaucho's. Meanwhile, several other clubs changed booking focus, including Downtown Music, Juanita's and Vino's, and inveterate smoker's haven White Water Tavern went non-smoking and began to draw a new audience. Sway, a new downtown dance club, entered the scene along with "Gilligan"-themed restaurant/pub Thirst N' Howl.
ACAC: The home of the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative hosts art and film events, as well as local, regional and national acts of all genres, with special emphasis on experimentation. Covers and times vary. No smoking. 608 Main St., 244-2979, www.acacarkansas.wordpress.com.
Afterthought: The long-time home for jazz in Little Rock also hosts acts that specialize in blues, soul and roots-rock, 8 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation presents local, regional and national jazz acts, including, notably, New Orleans' contemporary masters Astral Project, 8 p.m. Mon. Cover varies. 21 and up. No smoking. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd., 663-1196, www.vieuxcarrecafe.com.
Cajun's Wharf: A sprawling restaurant and bar, where local and regional rock, blues, cover and funk acts converge. Free happy hour entertainment, often on Cajun's massive deck overlooking the Arkansas River, begins at 5:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri. Headliners 9 p.m. Thu.-Sat. with $5 cover after 8:30 p.m. 21 and up for bar (not restaurant). No smoking inside. 2400 Cantrell Road, 375-5351, www.cajunswharf.com.
Capi's A Nuevo Mexican restaurant with local folk, jazz and rock music usually Thursday, Friday and Saturday, usually at 8:30 p.m. Free, all ages and no smoking. 11525 Cantrell (in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center), 225-9600, www.capisrestaurant.com.
Capital Bar and Grill: Arguably the state's best jazz ensemble, the Ted Ludwig Jazz Trio, is the house band at this swank hotel bar. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Wed.-Thu., 8 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. 111 W. Markham, 374-7474, www.capitalhotel.com/CBG.
Cornerstone Pub: Argenta's most active music venue hosts local and occasionally regional and national acts of all genres, usually Thu.-Sat. Times and cover charges vary. Smoking is allowed, which means only those 21 and up can enter. 314 Main St., NLR, 374-1782, www.cstonepub.com.
Discovery: The venerable (or notorious?) Riverdale nightclub expanded its dance floor in 2010. Now the large theater, previously the exclusive home of drag shows, hosts a "mainstream" dance crowd, the lobby area caters to a hip-hop audience and the compact "disco" room continues to offer house music. Open 9 p.m.-5 a.m. Sat. only. Adjoins Backstreet, a gay dance club and bar open 9 p.m.-5 a.m. Fri. only. Private club. 1021 Jessie Road, 664-4784, www.latenightdisco.com (Discovery); 664-2744, www.backstreetdanceclub.com (Backstreet).
Downtown Music: An ownership change in 2010 meant that the traditionally metal-oriented club broadened its booking scope, but more often than not you're still likely to hear something with a heavy edge here from local, regional and national acts. Also, the home of popular monthly dance party Cool Shoes. Times, cover charge varies. Concerts and events — save Cool Shoes which is 18 and above — are open to all ages. 211 W. Capitol Ave., 376-1819. www.downtownshows.homestead.com.
Electric Cowboy: Dance music of all genres and occasional live acts Wed.-Sun. Open 7:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. Fri.-Sat., at least 2 a.m. Wed., Thu. and Sun. 21 and up. Smoking allowed. Private club. 9515 Interstate 30, 562-6000, www.electriccowboy.com/littlerock.
Ernie Biggs' Chicago Style Piano Bar: A dueling piano bar with an upstairs lounge, usually manned by a DJ, and occasional special events. 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m. daily. 307 President Clinton Ave., 372-4782, www.erniebiggs.com.
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