Guys like to chill together; it's in their nature. If you and your hombres want to change things up -- something besides poker nights and video game marathons -- there are two concerts coming up that have the making of a men's night out.
You can get into a southern state of mind with Texas bluesmen ZZ Top as they deliver hits such as "Legs," "La Grange" and "Sharp Dressed Man" -- or catch up with L.I. fave Zebra as the band from the Big Easy returns to rock its old stamping grounds. Here's how you can make a night out of either show:
DINNER If you are going to see a band from Texas, it's important to start the evening with a belly full of barbecue. Hit up Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint in Massapequa Park for a feast bound to fulfill any meat-lover's fantasies. Whether you like pulled pork, baby back ribs or smoked brisket, Al's got you covered. Toss in a haystack of onions and fried pickles for good measure, then close out with Mississippi mud pie (516-799-4900, smokinals.com)
SHOW After you wipe the barbecue sauce off your face, catch ZZ Top's headline set at NYCB Theatre at Westbury. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers recently released their first album in nine years, "La Futura." On Wednesday, the band will pull out material spanning their entire 44-year career. "We will be playing stuff from the first album all the way to the latest one," says Dusty Hill. "We still enjoy playing together."
Besides their music, Hill and guitarist Billy Gibbons are known for their matching beards, which happened by accident during a break from touring.
"We let them grow separately. When we walked in to start rehearsing, it was like, 'Whoa, what's this?' It just fell into place," says Hill. "It wasn't a planned-out thing."
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $39.50-$49.50 (800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com).
AFTER-PARTY Just because the music stops doesn't mean the night is over. Head over to Cue Nine in Levittown to play some post-concert pool. With 14 tables and a lounge area, it's a place where you can unwind with an after-show cocktail while shooting some stick ($4-$6 an hour per person, 516-796-4600, cue-nine.com).
WHEN May 19
DINNER Before catching Zebra in concert, it's only natural to head to the Bayou in Bellmore. You'll feel the down-home funky Southern vibe that will set up your evening by sipping a Hurricane or enjoying some jambalaya, chili cheese grits and pan-fried catfish. Don't miss out on the sweet potato fries with étouffée gravy (516-785-9263, bayou4bigfun.com).
SHOW After your Cajun cravings have been satisfied, it's time to put your stripes on for Zebra's homecoming gig at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury.
Despite their New Orleans roots, Long Island claims Zebra as one of its own. Back in the day, the band was a regular at Hammerheads in Levittown, Speaks in Island Park and the Mad Hatter in Stony Brook.
"Long Island is our second home," says lead singer/guitarist Randy Jackson of Centereach. "I think we mean a little more to L.I. fans because they saw us back in the clubs. To put it in a sports perspective, we're their team."
In fact, Zebra's hits, "Tell Me What You Want" and "Who's Behind the Door," are still in rotation at WBAB, and last fall the trio was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
"That's very satisfying," says Jackson. "It's special because we're not the biggest band in the world."
Showtime is 7 p.m., tickets are $39.50 (800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com).
AFTER-PARTY When you're done rocking out with Zebra, head to McCann's in Massapequa where you can play darts or catch up on the sporting events of the evening on more than 50 flat screens. Grab one of the 12 beers on tap and relax in the lounge (516-798-1496, mccannspubnyc.com/massapequa/main.html.