I've always been a huge comedy fan, so I have no good explanation for why I never make it out to comedy shows. I still have an unredeemed voucher from two years ago for free tickets at the Improv.
The shows can get expensive, though: tickets, drink minimums, cocktails with double-digit pricing — there are a lot of ways to spend a lot of money at these things, and the tab at the end of the night can keep them limited to special occasions.
Then I heard about Jack's Joint, a Clearwater dive bar that happened to host a stand-up comedy night on Saturdays. That sounded pretty affordable, and also a great opportunity to try out something new. I spend plenty of time checking out Irish pubs, swanky cocktail joints, wine bars, taprooms and breweries, so a night at a comedy show seemed like a perfect change of pace.
Jack's Joint is a small, strange-looking building sandwiched between a Days Inn and the Clearwater Inn, which gives it the appearance of being some sort of hotel add-on rather than a business of its own. The main entrance is on the side of the building, while a small outdoor tiki bar and patio is located on the front, street-facing side.
It certainly looked pretty divey from the outside, an observation that was consistent with the interior. To the left of the entrance is a fairly minimal bar lounge, followed by a somewhat cluttered pool room, which is where you'll find free pool every Sunday. There's stool seating along the bar and a few small tables adjacent to it, but other than that, it's your standard, bare-bones watering hole, complete with a friendly bartender who was happy to explain the specials and selection.
To the right is a larger dining/show room, which is where much of the action at Jack's Joint goes down. Live music, open mic nights, and karaoke take place on the stage here, as well as, of course, stand-up comedy nights, hosted by Coconuts Comedy Club.
A very nice lady took our $10-per-person cover and let us know that we could seat ourselves, but all of the open tables had little "reserved" signs on them and no one came around to show us where to sit. Our server eventually came by and told us that we could take one of the "reserved" seats. A little disorganized, but at least friendly and helpful.
The show itself was pretty funny. My personal favorite, I'm surprised to say, was a ventriloquist act — Peter Hefty and Justin (no affiliation). The headliner, Chris Gorges, had no trouble racking up the laughs either, with a lady in the front row actually falling completely out of her seat at one point. I figure I got a good $10 worth of laughs during the show, easy.
You'll notice that Jack's Joint has a Bar & Grill in the name, and the kitchen indeed seems to be one of the strong points here. The food I had was very good (sundried tomato and spinach flatbread, minus the cheese), and I counted few scraps on the finished plates of other diners, which is probably a good sign. Best of all, food is served until 1 a.m., so if you hang out after the show, or even just come on a regular night and get a case of the midnight munchies, Jack's Joint has you covered.
Overall, Jack's Joint struck me as a bit rough around the edges but ultimately a good value. It's a friendly, low-key place with affordable drinks and very reasonable entertainment. On non-show nights you could probably get in and out with nothing but a $20 bill, but even for shows you can't get into too much trouble. For under $30 per person, my girlfriend and I had a light dinner, a couple rounds of drinks and a comedy show featuring four very entertaining performers. In my book, that's a bargain.