Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse lures locals and celebrities, such as Adam Richman of Man v. Food, with a dinner menu of hearty Alaskan pub fare and local draught beers. Flash fried with herbs and breadcrumbs, Alaskan-king-crab nuggets herald dinners of marinated-portobello-mushroom burgers drizzled with pesto aioli. The pub’s hand-tossed pizzas include the Olympian, which lives up to its name with a mountain of kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sausages, and crunchy marble statues. Though not included with dinner, foam-crowned pints of beer ($5.25–$9.75) include local brews such as Denali Chuli stout and Silver Gulch Fairbanks lager, as well as imported pours of Lindeman’s Framboise and Delirium Tremens. As ales effervesce, big-screen and plasma TVs flicker with sports games above marine-life murals, wall-mounted tap handles, and a moose paid to serve as the pub’s coat rack.
In collaboration with the Anchorage Opera, Alaska Dance Theatre's graceful gambolers leap to the invigorating heights of opera's great arias. Sound, color, and motion blend in a 75-minute showcase, where live musical accompaniment sets the pace, singers attain unfathomable feats of aural agility, and brightly-clad dancers make the melodies visible through the movements of their bodies and their flowing, prehensile costumes. The supernal scenes unfold among the smooth contours and below the playful, polka-dot-style acoustic discs of Discovery Theatre.
The Woodshed Lounge welcomes diners into an eating establishment where nightly karaoke, pool tables, and a menu featuring pizza, burgers, and more wait to appease patrons. Wash away the idea of a dry gullet with a beer, and fortify bellies with a large, 14-inch pizza ($15), selecting from six toppings ($1 ea.) such as red onion, Italian sausage, and jalapeños. Pub patrons can order the JJ Burger plain ($7), with cheese ($8), or with bacon and cheese ($9) while pondering good times and repressing the urge to yell "Ceci n'est pas un burger!" The Woodshed also cures smaller appetites with a choice of seven appetizers, including nachos made with house-cut corn tortillas ($7) and JJ's wings, available in teriyaki, mildly spicy, and flightless ($7–$13).
Within the historic 4th Avenue Market Place is the Alaska Experience Theater, a time capsule of state history and a portal for cultural exploration through film. The curators perennially screen four short documentaries on Alaskan history, projecting one about the devastating Good Friday Earthquake of March 27, 1964, in an earthquake simulator that rocks on hydraulic lifts designed to soothe Zeus in his infancy. A 40-foot screen commands attention in the 96-seat main theater, where the documentaries are relayed in vivid detail by a 3-D Christie Digital Projection System along with cult classics, independent films, and wide-release blockbusters. Out in the marketplace, dancers perform native Alaskan dances to the beat of drums, and two permanent exhibits reveal more information about the earthquake and display the full collection of prints by Alaskan artist Fred Machetanz.
While Center Bowl’s neon marquee has retained its vintage look for over 50 years, the bowling alley's modern innards include 30 updated Brunswick synthetic lanes with touchscreen scoring and automated gutter guards. The lights go dim on weekend nights for neon-bowling sessions, during which bowling balls and toothpaste stains glow in the dark. Between frames, bowlers can refuel at the concessions stand, which doles out pizza, wings, soft drinks, and beer.
An area mainstay for 51 years, Al's Alaskan Inn now pumps out DJ-helmed tunes from high quality sound systems in both its upstairs and downstairs spaces. Six bars, each with their own theme—such as Area 51, Voodoo Lounge, or The Injustice of Feudalism—stretch across the sprawling confines, while open mics and karaoke keep guests entertained outside of their nearby hotel rooms.
There are a dozen burgers at Long Branch Saloon, but the cooks treat each as if it were the only one in the world. They make every facet—the bun, the patty, and even the fries—in-house, forming a delectable base for topping combinations such as ham and swiss or bacon and cheese. And all this effort has paid off. During the Anchorage Daily News' 2012 March Madness–themed burger-bracket showdown, Long Branch Saloon's burger came out on top, earning the championship with its "scrumptious bun" and juicy patty.
With this title under their belts, the cooks haven’t just hung up their aprons. Instead, they bolster their menu with beer-battered fish sandwiches and turkey-bacon clubs on housemade bread. For a heartier meal, diners can add appetizers, such as jalapeño poppers and teriyaki sirloin tips, or order full dinners of prime rib, served twice a week. Budweiser and Bud Light pour from the taps, but specialty brews claim the bulk of the beer menu, with Alaskan White Ale buddying up to Midnight Sun Sockeye IPA. The bar also lays out a spread of pool tables so groups can engage in friendly competition or build forts out of the cues.