Cricket's Tavern is known just as much for its food as for its friendly confines and ample selection of brews. The menu is chock-full of soups, sandwiches, burgers, seafood, sandwiches, and noodles served in heaping helpings. Warm up from the inside with hearty spoonfuls of new england clam chowder ($2.25 for a cup, $4.25 for a bowl) with a side of garlic texas toast ($0.75), which contains more oil derricks than other toasts. Or, dunk mozzarella stix ($3.95) and cheddar pints ($3.45) in a cup of spicy cheese ($1.25) to put enough cheese in your tummy for it to declare itself related to a cow. Seafood options include crab cakes ($7.25), two-piece beer-battered cod ($8.95), shrimp gumbo ($8.95), and barbecue beer-battered shrimp ($8.75). The jukebox is free every Wednesday night, and there's Karaoke on Tuesday nights.
Resting in the shadow of the Grand Wayne Convention Center, Thirsty Camel features more than a handful of beers on tap and more than a dozen imported and premium bottled beers. The restaurant's suds selection makes for a model accomplice to its food spread, which includes such shareable munchies, such as buffalo-style wings and onion petals served with an onion-petal sauce. After warming up with some appetizers, diners can tackle homemade hamburgers and 16-ounce T-bone steaks—all while nodding to the beats of a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
Overlooking the St. Mary’s river, Curly’s Village Inn accommodates birthday parties, anniversaries, rehearsal dinners, and constitutional keggers in its party room, which comes equipped with a full cash bar and bartender. Up to 60 people will have plenty of space to mingle, break dance, or play impromptu games of musical chairs with the ample seating. Hosts are also welcome to add their own aesthetic touches, including balloons, streamers, and photo shrines to invisible friends. Although guests cannot bring their own hot food, famished merrymakers can refuel with chicken strips, cheeseburgers, mini burritos, and tenderloins from Curly's Kitchen.
Hunker down under the fizzling, romantic glow of neon beer signs for an evening of sports, live local music, unpretentious pub grub, and affordable drinks. The bar menu offers a classic array of meaty sandwiches, burgers, salads, nachos, and fresh pizzas with more than 10 possible topping options. Wings ($4 for six, or $7.50 for 12) can be served with five different glazes: regular, flaming, BBQ, teriyaki, and the coquettish Sassy Sauce, the newest member of the sauce ensemble. Seven-year itchers can satisfy cravings for variety with a Mill Basket (jalapeno poppers, cheese sticks, wings, zucchini, mushrooms, with pizza sauce and ranch dressing for dipping, $6.50) or Mexican Basket (five mini tacos, three mini burritos, and two taco sticks, with chips and salsa, $6). Evening eaters whose gut-Grendels cannot be slain by mere apps alone can grab a dinner plate, such as the succulent walleye ($9) or the popular seven-ounce New York strip steak ($9), both accompanied by a traveling band of potato, salad, and roll.
If anyone ever suggests going to O'Reilly's and then catching the game, know that you won't have to go very far. The patio at the Fort Wayne location opens right onto the TinCaps' Parkview Field, and the Indianapolis location is just blocks from both Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium. Of course, you're welcome to watch the game inside O'Reilly's, too, as both locations boast plenty of flat-screen TVs and no rules against hanging out for awhile. While watching, guests can order from a menu of Irish and American classics?there's a platter of Guinness-glazed bangers on a heap of grilled bacon, cabbage, onions, and mash, as well as lamb burgers spiced with garlic and sandwiched on a hawaiian bun.