As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon's Chicago-based piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
Recently featured in the Baltimore Sun, Diablita boasts a tantalizing menu chock-full of contemporary Mexican cuisine, with dashes of Caribbean flavor and Texas 'tude tossed in for good measure. Exotic starters, such as crispy, chipotle-encrusted calamari ($9) or pulled-pork empanadas ($9), set the stage for meals made of fresh, novel ingredients. Diablita serves burritos with rice and beans, pico de gallo, and cilantro sour cream; burritos come in mushroom ($11), chicken ($10), and shrimp ($14.50) varieties, each flavor hailing from an alternate reality in the tortilla time continuum. Fajitas such as the tequila-lime chicken ($16) and the adobe-marinated pork ($15.50) flank their protein-rich centerpieces with masterfully sautéed onions. House-made churros ($6.50) conclude the comestible parade with sugar-ignited fireworks.
Distinguishing itself as one of Baltimore magazine's Best Restaurants in 2010, The Prime Rib invokes the memory of elegant 1940s Manhattan supper clubs with its tuxedoed wait staff, opulent dining room, and extensive menu of succulent steaks and fresh seafood. Prime palates with appetizers such as the maine lobster bisque ($9.95) before rising to larger-portioned plates built on USDA Prime steaks in a range of sizes, from the 8-ounce petite filet mignon ($40.95) to the 12-ounce New York strip ($42.95) and the 12-megaton Las Vegas Strip.
While technically and metaphorically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Casual dining is elevated by meticulously designed restaurants that pepper a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.
Luckie's menu is filled to the page brim with salads, sandwiches, and pizzas for sporty Sunday brunch-goers and late-night libationists. Sip an after-work brew and pass around a plate of buffalo, barbecue, honey mustard, or Old Bay wings ($9), or settle in for a bigger evening meal with a full rack of baby back ribs ($16), which you can pile on top of one of six pizzas ($9–$12) like the margherita ($9). Sandwiches and burgers anchor the rest of the menu with two-handed tastes such as the tuna melt with aged cheddar, sliced apples, and strips of bacon ($9).
Housed in a grand townhouse, the Mount Vernon microbrewery offers patrons a carefully curated menu of imported sips, scotches, and brewed-on-site beers. For food, Chef Dave Newman keeps diners guessing with a menu that rotates with the four seasons practiced in the United States. For starters, try the house-made artichoke ravioli, glazed with Meyer lemon-infused butter and pistachio-mint pesto ($10). When you're ready to move on to more filling adventures, entrees include the inventive, crispy Utz-crusted cod with baby clams and smoky mountain bacon ($24), grilled shrimp with spring pea and mint risotto ($16), and grilled lamb loin ($28).