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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: At Zaboo, 'You'll fit right in ...'

July 27. 2014 7:27PM

Manchester has some great restaurants, but if you are in the over-30 crowd, after-dinner entertainment options are limited. There are clubs like Drynk and ManchVegas, if you don’t mind fighting your way through a room full of twerking 20-somethings. (And believe me, some of my 30-something friends don’t mind that at all.) But personally, when I go into those places, I feel like my outfit, demeanor, and dance moves scream, “I’d rather be wearing mom jeans!”

I just don’t fit in.

Rhonda Mumpini understands the Queen City needs a niche for my age group, and last week she gave me a sneak peek into a new place she is helping to open, called Zaboo, at 24 Depot St.

“You’ll fit right in here,” she promised.

The former Social 24 (one of those 20-something clubs) is now a dueling piano bar and restaurant featuring progressive cuisine. It’s designed to attract the 35-to-55 age bracket, and I think it’s going to work.

I wasn’t the only one to lament the closing of Boynton’s Tap Room, which held regular Dueling Piano nights in the Millyard. Mumpini, Zaboo’s brand representative, said it will be open to the public Wednesday through Saturday nights, and feature live music, including dueling pianos, beginning around 9:30 p.m. Lunch will be served Tuesday through Friday.

The Zaboo menu sounds delicious, with unusual offerings such as spaghetti and meatball on a stick, boxes of specially prepared chicken wings, and quinoa salads. Many items are gluten-free or gluten sensitive.

A main bar in the center of the renovated space features dozens of beers, including one brewed just for the restaurant called Zaboo, of course. A second bar for martinis is in a separate area.

The space still sports the large screens used by Social 24. Mumpini said the screens and other television monitors around the bar will be used to give guests sitting away from the stage a better view of the entertainment. They will also be used to show major sporting events.

An official grand opening is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 14.

Visit for more information.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

The trolleys didn’t actually clang, but last Thursday’s Open Doors Manchester trolley ride through downtown gave us a small taste of what the streetcar days may have been like in the Queen City.

The free event, held a couple of times a year, let us hop on and off trolleys at various arts and cultural stops in the downtown area. We were lucky to arrive at SEE Science Center just as one trolley was boarding. We enjoyed the ride along several stops, accompanied by Millyard Museum Director Jeff Barraclough, who welcomed each new group onto the trolley and shared information about each stop.

We eventually got off at City Hall Plaza to hear the Manchester Community Music School’s Summer Band play a few Beatles tunes and a medley from the Disney hit “Frozen.” It was nice to see Billie Tooley, the new director of the music school, there supporting the band. The music was a wonderful backdrop to a beautiful summer evening.

I am sure it is no small effort for the folks at Majestic Theatre to put on this event three times a year, and get each venue to offer free admission or special attractions that night. Kudos to everyone involved for making it happen.

Power of the parks

Looking for an adventure close to home? On a recent Sunday trip to Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, my family and I were thrilled to find Student Conservation Association interpretive ranger Claire Delbecq running a program called “Caught on Pond’s Edge.”

We were each given nets to catch creatures from Catamount Pond and then have Delbecq identify them. Not to brag, but I was an expert catcher, yielding a small pike, a newt and a water snake.

Delbecq is from Seattle and has been living with other SCA rangers at Bear Brook since January. She is one of more than 4,000 volunteers working in national, state and local parks, forests and refuges across the country as part of the SCA this summer. Delbecq offers the “Caught on Pond’s Edge” program every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. She also runs other programs at the Bear Brook State Park campground area Wednesday through Sunday.

All programs are free with paid admission to the park, which is $4 for adults and $2 for children 5 to 11. Bear Brook also has a nice little beach, canoe rentals, a small store and a beautiful playground. For more information, visit and click on What’s Happening to find a link to the Bear Brook page. Events of the Week

We are in the midst of our brief summer here in New Hampshire, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to catch some outdoor entertainment. There are many free local options listed on this week, so pack up your lawn chairs and picnics and head outside.

Kids will enjoy Steve Blunt’s songs and stories outside the Manchester City Library (aka Carpenter Memorial Library) Thursday starting at 6 p.m.

Also on Thursday, the high-energy, five-piece string band called Rockspring will play a mix of bluegrass, classic rock and folk music at Veterans Park. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Sunday afternoon, Annie & the Orphans will play 50s, 60s and 70s rock and roll in Stark Park beginning at 2 p.m. These Sunday afternoon shows have been very well-attended. Arrive early to get a good parking spot.

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