Gold-leaf writing inscribed across the towering red portico at the entrance to The Shannon Rose Irish Pub announces what one might expect to find inside: “Premium Stouts,” “Irish Whiskies,” and other culinary staples of the Emerald Isles. Behind this imposing entryway lies a series of dining rooms that have a markedly different effect; chandeliers create a sense of intimacy as they illuminate Gaelic artwork and aged hardcovers resting on lofty bookshelves.
With six handcrafted beers on tap and a full menu of delicious pub provisions, J.J. Bitting Brewing Company enrobes taste buds in warm, comfortable flavors. The Blazing Brewhouse wings ($5.95) perk up palates with a tangy zest that earned them the title of Best Hot Wings in Woodbridge by BestHotWings.com. Wrangle the Colorado burger's bison patty into hungry mouths aided by sautéed onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried-tomato pesto mayo ($7.95), or follow the delicate salmon steak's incredible journey through pan-searing and potato-breading before rousing it from snug beds of rice and fresh veggies ($15.95). Like the cool table in a high-school cafeteria, Bitting's homegrown pints ($4.50 each) stay popular with or without delicious food. The Garden State IPA balances appealing bitterness with a floral aroma, and the heavily roasted Black Jack Stout swoops up from cellars to slake any thirst in the house.
Big Shots' massive, three-floored space bombards sports fans with walls covered in flat-screen televisions, ensuring they never miss a kick, toss, or posttouchdown pirouette. While patrons soak up multimedia entertainment from every direction, cooks whip up a menu of classic bar grub, such as specialty pizzas and burgers named after NFL teams, including the brown-gravy-drenched Chicago Bear and the cheddar- and bacon-topped Green Bay Packers. At night, the establishment can transform into an all-out dance party led by live bands and DJs.
Head chef Andrew DiCataldo helms Patria Restaurant and Mixology Lounge, crafting Latin fusion cuisine so artfully executed it moved the New York Times to advise readers: "Don't miss the place". DiCataldo's menu highlights classic ingredients such as avocado, plantains, and queso fresco, presenting them in contemporary updates of traditional Latin dishes. Patria and its afterhours lounge are divided in both atmosphere and décor, alternating between the restaurant's scarlet walls, rich wood furniture, and luxurious curtains, and the lounge's cool-toned lights, well-stocked bars, and wizards attempting to resurrect disco.
Dugout Pub South tempts appetites with slow-cooked, smoked ribs, thin crust pizzas crowned with clams or deep-fried calamari, and more than 25 burgers made with 8-ounce Angus beef patties and toppings such as blue cheese, banana peppers, and house-made chili. Inside the dining area, four dartboards, a shuffleboard table, and flat-screen TVs entertain patrons sipping libations from the full bar, which features 20 different brews on tap. Live entertainment includes DJs, bands, karaoke, and wandering minstrels, tickling the ears of customers in the dining area or outside on the tiki deck.
McGinn's offers patrons a cozy respite from the hustle and bustle with a collection of cold brews, comfort foods, and all New York sports on the TVs. Diners-to-be sally through the saloon doors with a good friend or frenemy triplets and belly up to the long wooden bar for the cheese-infused Johnny burger seasoned in secret and topped with bacon. While sipping a fine domestic brew or soft drink, masticators can linger over the complex flavors of a burger with cheese cooked right inside the patty, or enjoy the salty goodness of the accompanying basket of sweet-potato fries or straight-up white-potato fries. Patrons choosing not to disco skate to the pub find plenty of places to stable their cars while they strap their own feed bags on.