No Idea Tavern cultivates a lively sports-bar atmosphere with craft beers, pizzas, burgers, chicken wings, and ample opportunities for watching football, baseball, hockey, and European Premier League soccer. There's a vast array of games and entertainment here—you can fill the bar with a danceable soundtrack from the Internet jukebox, challenge friends to games at the beer-pong table, or impersonate firemen at the pole in the lounge area. Meals such as crab pretzels, margherita pizzas, and cheesesteaks make for excellent tailgating fare as fans watch every Penn State, Jets, and Liverpool match. Brunches kick off weekend mornings with spreads of bloody marys, maple-syrup-drenched pancakes, and french toast.
The Reserve's eclectic menu arrays out chic entrees, sandwiches, and salads that promenade across red carpet tongues on the arms of microbrews, craft beers, and wines. Patrons can observe the limits of their friends' selflessness as they politely race to grab shared bites such as crab sliders, two lump crustacean cakes in a dijon old bay aioli ($8). The knowledgeable staff can suggest a selection from a robust medley of wines to pair with entrees, such as the spicy basil veggie stir-fry, served over cilantro lime rice in a thai peanut sauce as spicy as a commencement speech given by Hugh Hefner ($13). Bites of the Angus-sourced barbecue beef burgers ($12), along with other bread-hugged sandwiches, test cheeks' elasticity or slide down throat waterslides with gulps of one of The Reserve's 16 beers on tap.
Not everyone who loves wine is fortunate enough to transform that love into a viable career, much less a successful business. But Christopher Spann did just that with Wine Market Bistro, whose numerous accolades stand as testament to his achievement. More than 25 wines can be savored by the glass in the loft-like dining room, while the adjoining wine shop stocks more than 800 bottles ranging in varietal and region. These bottles can be enjoyed in the bistro for a small corkage fee. The wine-friendly menu fills the rustic-chic dining room with the aroma of house-made mini brats, diver scallops, and dry-aged ribeye. And in warmer months, diners can take their meals on the courtyard patio and cool off by piling ice block after ice block onto their laps.
Founded in 2007 by bartender Jason Zink, Don’t Know Tavern prides itself on being a superb spot to watch the Patriots, Red Sox, WVU football, and post-collegiate bear hockey. As your favored hometown squadrons sport lightly on their fields of play, satisfy hunger with a menu selection such as the tomato bruschetta platter or the hummus platter ($8 each). Don’t Know Tavern's strapping sandwich selection includes the cheese steak—a stack of grilled, shaved fillet with onion, mushroom, roasted red pepper, and provolone ($11)—along with the broiled crab cake ($15) and Italian panini ($10), all available with fries or field greens. Think inside the bun with a Kobe ($12) or buffalo bison burger ($11), or go with an entree such as the bacon-friendly chicken alfredo ($13) or the creamy, crabby lobster ravioli ($16). Save room for sippable sustenance, as this deal is also good for beer, wine, and mixed drinks from the bar menu.
Nestled on a street corner in the Federal Hill neighborhood, The RowHouse Grille beckons to passersby with homey feasts of freshly caught seafood, crispy fried chicken, and burgers. A misty, old-timey charm pervades the welcoming tavern, with wooden rafter beams overhead, dark varnished hardwood floors underfoot, and a silent 'e' defiantly hanging off the end of the word "Grill." Friendly tenders at two different bars pour out frosty glasses of beer from 16 taps, perfect for pairing with a plate of P.E.I. mussels or New England lobster rolls. Servers bear gifts of jerk chicken, gator po' boys, and English pea risotto, or cart out five-course sampler feasts of smoked cheese, seared scallops, bacon-wrapped steaks, and pear tartes.
The Feisty Goat Pub’s kitchen crew enhances a menu of hearty American grub with an upscale culinary twist. Hunks of fresh-baked baguette scoop up creamy crab dip ($11) made from succulent jumbo lump crabmeat, and white-corn tortilla nachos ($12) heave under the weight of beef chili, melted cheese, and sour cream, which extinguishes the heat of accompanying spicy jalapeños by screaming “Stop, drop, and roll!” at the plate.
In recent years, The 8x10’s musical focus has returned to the name and vibe that it first debuted in 1983, serving up nightly live bands alongside a full bar of drinks and draft brews. The tap slings 16 ounces of frosty fermentables into beer glasses ($3.50–$6) and a backing track of bottled brews wets whistles ($4.50–$6; $8 for 22 oz. Fat Tire). Like a giraffe on stilts, drinks at The 8x10 are double-tall, so a goblet of Red Bull and vodka hosts an up-tempo duet of two shots ($8.50).