For all the poshness of its sleek two-level interior, SWAG Sports Lounge's menu is a stars-and-stripes salute to soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Snack on jalapeño poppers ($5.95) and honey barbecue wings ($15.99 for 24 wings) without ungluing your eyes from the 32 HDTVs broadcasting the day’s top live sports and political roundtable knife fights. For something more in an entree size, indulge your inner werewolf with a hearty 10-ounce rib eye steak ($9.95), or idle away long commercial breaks by demolishing Big Bob's fish basket ($8.95) piece by battered piece, with occasional tartar sauce slam-dunks. SWAG’s many dartboards, pool tables, and video games let interactive eaters supplement their snacking with as much needle tossing, ball clinking, and barrel jumping as they like. Challenge friends to a game of darts, then steal fries from their buffalo chicken sandwich plate ($7.95) after “accidentally” hitting them with the game’s designated tranquilizer dart. Otherwise, cap a game of blindfolded pool with an equally befuddling chocolate confusion cake—a mocha-tornado of Oreos, fudge brownies, cream-chocolate mousse, and chocolate-chip cake topped with swirling fudge frosting and chocolate chips ($3.95). Along with a respectable array of beers on tap, SWAG stocks its full bar with many high-end liquors—allowing sports fans to upgrade to stiffer drinks every time their team’s quarterback runs off the field in tears.
The PG-rated program is led by a talented team of in-house improv experts in the vein of Drew Carey’s popular Whose Line Is It Anyway? show on the ABC Family Channel. As a member of the audience, you’ll not only create the show (skits are created on the spot from audience suggestions), you might be in the show, too. Each week, the guffawing gurus invite members of the peanut gallery on stage to act out scenes and test their improv skills.
Baker St. Pub & Grill’s menu offers pub classics along with soups, salads, sliders, generously portioned sandwiches, and lunch plates (most for less than $8). Patrons can start with a medley of chips, fresh salsa, and creamy queso ($5.29) or a hard-boiled scotch egg, encased in traditional english sausage, then breaded and fried ($5.29). Hearty helpings of shepherd's pie, a delicacy of ground sirloin, cheddar, whipped potatoes, and tomato mixed and served with green beans and potatoes ($8.99), and the Baker St. club-house sandwich with roasted turkey, black-forest ham, bacon, and cheddar cheese ($6.99) fill gastro-suitcases. Those needing a break from not eating the House of Parliament mushroom burger can gobble the House of Parliament mushroom burger, slathered in HP steak sauce and crowned with crispy onion straws and smoked gouda cheese ($7.99).
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Thick branches of 140-year-old oak trees stretch above Live Oak Bar and Grill, shrouding its wooden outdoor patio in a gentle blanket of leafy shade. The patio stands behind the restaurant itself, a home built in 1876 that is still decorated with photos of its original occupants and recent shots of their poltergeists.
And while the building itself is steep in century old history, the grill's cooks prefer to use ingredients whose age doesn’t match Live Oak's historic surrounds. Instead, they source fresh, natural ingredients from local farms to create their homestyle versions of classic bar dishes, from half-pound burgers to fish tacos smothered with jalapeno ranch dressing. Feasts unfold amidst rounds of billiards, sports flashing on flat-screen TVs, and weekly karaoke, while outside, live musicians occasionally take to the stage to serenade diners.
The Free Press Summer Fest is nothing if not ambitious. Two days and eight stages light up with genres from indie-minded folk to female-fronted surf rock to bone-buzzing dubstep to sleek, futuristic Eurotronica. Among the elder statesmen headlining the 100-plus lineup, Snoop Dogg rolls onto the stage with his signature hazy, ultra-laid-back flow, Willie Nelson takes an oddly complementary outlaw attitude into the backwoods, and a Primus set offers the chance to count all 13 of Les Claypool's fingers.
The nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters matches children with long-term mentors and focuses on helping kids reach their potential through fun, healthy activities. Make reservation for the Big Impact Group Pub Crawl fundraiser online, then pick up a T-shirt and event packet, which includes a bar map, list of food and drink specials, wristband, koozie, and photograph of Swoosie Kurtz. Event materials can be picked up between 5 p.m.–7 p.m. Friday, April 1 at The Lot on Washington, 4212 Washington Avenue, or between 1 p.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, April 2 at the Porch Swing Pub, 69 Heights Boulevard.