Sometimes it takes an out of town visitor to help me discover the coolest stuff in my own backyard. Well, not in the backyard, exactly, but within walking distance. You know what I mean.

I took my friend Aimee out yesterday to visit the shops and restaurants on Old South Pearl St., thinking we’d window-shop our way over to my favorite neighborhood wine bar, the Village Cork. We popped into 5 Green Boxes (I bought a vintage-looking red bead necklace, she bought a sassy turquoise hat and a pair of red slippers), then visited Dez, the owner of Polkadot across the street, and wandered down to the Black Pearl restaurant for the yummy 13-ingredient chopped salad (healthy) and the even yummier marscapone macaroni and cheese (not so healthy, but oh-so-good). Later, we wandered around more, hitting Maxine’s Market and Nosh, that darling gelato spot with the gorgeous ivy-covered gazebo, and then, on our way to the Village Cork, we saw BB’s on Pearl. It only opened three weeks ago (though Amanda Faison had the scoop on this spot last December). I couldn’t believe it. A new, live music venue? In my neighborhood? Open for nearly three weeks already? And I hadn’t heard about it, let alone visited the joint? Jeez. I must be losing my edge.

Needless to say, I beelined into the new spot, and chatted up the friendly hostess. Too bad we’d already eaten or I may have opted to try the bistro menu in the downstairs dining area. Upstairs, the second level boasts a brand-new lounge, complete with a dark, cozy bar, cocktail tables, low couches, and a grand piano holding court in the southwest corner. The piano man was singing into a microphone — not that it was necessary in such a small space — but he was doing justice to the Van Morrison cover he was playing. Looks like they’ll be hosting blues, jazz, and piano tunes on a regular basis, with one-man-bands and piano shows during the week, and full bands only on weekends after 10 p.m.

Eventually we did make it to the Village Cork. But now I have a new local haunt to visit next time I stroll down the road.