Why settle for a regular meal out out when you can dine while being entertained? A dinner and a show checks all the right boxes: Good food? Check. Good company? Check. Music, comedy, or live performances that make you close your eyes and sway to the beat or hold your belly with laughter? Check-check-check.

This summer, we invite you to savour a delicious meal, chat with friends, and enjoy local music, comedy, or theatre, all here in Ontario’s Highlands.

Minden Music – The Dominion Hotel, Minden

Head to the Dominion Hotel in Minden for a delicious dinner and excellent performers. Must trys are their black bean soup or their Dominion 1865 Lager Beer Bater Fish. At the end of the night you don’t even have to worry about driving home – stay right on-site in one of their five rooms. Reservations recommended.

The Entertainment: Purchase tickets for The Salt Cellars on Aug. 13, or Ian Tamblyn on Sept. 23. For a more casual experience, try their Tuesday Tiki Party on Tuesdays between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. all summer long.

Smokin’ Good Time - Truss Foodworks, Haliburton Forest

Located in Haliburton Forest, Truss Foodworks smokes their menu items on their three smokers they have named “Cheech,” “Chong,” and “Snoop Dogg.” Try their brisket which is slow smoked for 24 hours, served up with mashed potatoes, veggies, and coleslaw for the perfect smoked meal.

The Entertainment: Belly laughs will be on the menu on Aug. 6 for a Laughing Buds Live in Haliburton comedy performance here. Headliner is Paul Thompson, and also featuring Ryan Hillis & Sandro Veri. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., comedy show at 7 p.m.

Music and Beer - Haliburton Highlands Brewing, Haliburton

This brewery will prove to you that not all beer is alike. On show nights they offer an expanded menu so you won’t walk away hungry. We recommend trying one of the wood fired pizzas from Into the Blue Bakery’s on-site food truck – the Queen Magharrita will not disappoint!

The Entertainment: Performances take place every Friday and Saturday night in July and August and include performers like Ragged Company, Not Responsible, Chad Ingram, and Zachary Lucky. Plan to be there Aug. 12 to 14 for the Abbey Gardens Music at the Gardens music festival. Shows are FREE.

Shed Jams – Neat Café, Burnstown

Burnstown is rocking on weekends in the summer in Neat Café’s cute outbuilding, the aptly named location for their “shed sessions.” You can expect some good music and good food during a performance. Please note the menu is not as diverse as normal on show nights but a must try is their wood-fired pizza.

The Entertainment: Each performance gives you the option of purchasing just the ticket or the ticket with a dinner reservation. Look for Jeremie Albino (Aug. 12), BROS (Aug. 14), Jake Clemons (Aug. 19), Monowhales (Aug. 27), and Common Deer (Aug. 28).

Music in the Courtyard – Harvest Social, Smiths Falls

This lovely restaurant in downtown Smiths Falls is known for its healthy menu and their fabulous outdoor patio. Try one of their good-for-you smoothies paired with a hearty sandwich like their pesto chicken.

The Entertainment: Look for performances Aug. 26 from Shawn McCullough or Sept. 30 from Green House Revival. All shows run between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The best part is these shows are FREE!

Dinner with a Side of Drama - Stirling Festival Theatre, Stirling

Stirling Festival Theatre puts on a variety of high quality performances by talented artists. Located in the historic Stirling Theatre, this venue is high class, all the way. Their pre-show buffet is served in Burrell Hall and can be added to most tickets and includes a roast beef or chicken entree (vegetarian option) with salad, veggies, potatoes and desserts. You can also pre-order your drinks to have them ready for you at intermission! 

The Entertainment: The cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is playing Aug. 25 (8 p.m.), Aug. 27 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.) and Aug. 28 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased through the website.

Resurrecting a Local Favourite - The Rockcliffe, Minden

The folks at The Rockcliffe have brought to life an old favourite in Minden. The Rockcliffe had been vacant for about seven years before it found new owners who are resurrecting this long standing community hotspot. With a focus on tapas and a rocking patio you will love the ambiance here. 

The Entertainment: On Friday, Aug. 26 J.J. Blue returns to The Rockcliffe at 7 p.m. 

Bonus: Sharbot Lake Inn & The Crossing Pub, Sharbot Lake

This venue is tucked away in beautiful Sharbot Lake, and is known for their dinners paired with an amazing performance from musicians like Sean McCann (founder of Great Big Sea), 3Tir, The Abrams, Alan Doyle, and more.

These folks don’t have any performances scheduled for August or September but they’re worth keeping an eye on for their next event.