Full Circle Bar's four skee-ball machines provide more than entertainment: they determine national champions. Home to Brewskee-Ball?a nationwide network of amateur skee-ball leagues that's been featured on NPR and ESPN?Full Circle is the epicenter of a growing phenomenon. A chalkboard beside the skee-ball machines is routinely full of official league news, and many of the sport's high-profile events, including the national-championship matches, are decided there, drawing in participants from as far away as Austin and San Francisco. As bar co-owner and Brewskee-Ball cofounder Eric Pavony told the Los Angeles Times, "It's a sanctioned competitive sport. I cover this like ESPN would."
In spite of Full Circle Bar's status as the home for Brewskee-Ball competition, the air is tension free. Friendly bartenders serve more than 40 beers by the can and pour American craft microbrews from an ever-changing draft list. The skee-ball machines are even open for free play on select evenings, letting anyone practice their roll and hone the number of fist pumps in their victory celebration.
While the distinct areas of Italian peninsula merged together 150 years ago, their cuisines still retain their nuanced individuality. That's why the chefs at Dieci Pizzeria & Osteria don't claim to cook Italian food, and instead focus their cooking on the area of Vallo di Diano in the Campania region of Italy. Using recipes heavily influenced by the region's nearby neighbor of Naples, they create Neapolitan-style pizzas sauced with San Marzano Italian tomatoes or a simple brushing of olive oil and mozzarella. They top their pizzas with traditional ingredients, such as truffle oil, prosciutto di parma, porcini mushrooms, and anchovies. Once pies are sprinkled with toppings, they sizzle in a wood-burning oven until the cheese melts and binds all the ingredients to the crust. The flavors of these pizzas are mirrored in their other Campanian dishes, such as linguini tossed with seafood and marinara sauce or veal cutlets doused in mushrooms and brown sauce. Dishes pair well with a reading of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, as well as bottles from the restaurant's wine list.
Mazelle's chefs spread a muted Russian influence over multiple meals each day, including lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches. They often kick off meals with plates full of raw oysters, accompanied by mignonette and lemon on ice. Afterwards, they present modern gastropub plates alongside classic Russian recipes, filling bellies with lamb burgers with lime aioli or beef stroganoff. Their brunch menu not only blends breakfast and lunch, but savory and sweet as well, with rosemary and mint pancakes and eggs benedict over glazed beets and orange hollandaise. They wash down their meals with microbrewed beers or craft cocktails featuring house-infused vodkas or Cognac mingled with peach purée and clove dust.
The restaurant's decor showcases the same penchant for reinvention as the menu, combining exposed brick with vintage wood details and the industrial textures of brushed metal. The chandeliers combine the illumination of reflective domes with the diffused glow of raw bulbs, best left uncooked to avoid explosions.
As clocks strike 5 p.m. across the country, happy hours everywhere celebrate the end of another long workday. Every night from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., however, Black Swan heralds the dawn of a new day with its reverse happy hour. The late night festivity is one of many twists the New American gastropub puts on the traditional bar format. Along with pub staples such as fish and chips, chefs plate internationally inspired treats including a BLT amplified with farm-raised salmon, veggie empanadas, and chicken wings smothered in a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. Innovation continues behind the bar, where mixologists craft such off-kilter cocktails as the Hot "Bacon" Toddy, a blend of bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup served with a strip of bacon. An extensive selection of liquor, wine, and beer is also available inside the space that was once an auto-body shop, now transformed into a "sleek hall with a long copper bar, jet-black hardwood walls, and hand-worn tables," according to New York Magazine.
"We do not carry Bud, Coors, or Miller." So reads a line on the website of Croxley Ale House, but it might as well be a mission statement: for more than 20 years?long before the crazes of drinking microbrews or having fun took off?thirsty patrons have headed to Croxley's for flavorful tastes of Long Island craft beers. Such dedication to serving local libations earned Chris Werle & Jeffry Piciullo the Pioneer Award at the 2013 Golden Tap Awards Gala, a testament to their "forward thinking" and dedicated spirit. At all six locations throughout Long Island and New York, Croxley Ale House serves local and high-end beer on tap paired with hearty feasts of hamburgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, and fish and chips. Along with sipping Belgian brews at the Brooklyn location, visitors can gather for games around one of the 40 HD TVs or two eight-foot projection screen or belly up to the bar for twenty-cent wing nights on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
Venturing inside Black Rabbit, you may feel like you’ve been transported to a 19th-century British pub: weathered floorboards lead past a sleek, dark bar, over which a set of chandeliers casts a dim glow. If the fireplace and framed photos of your disapproving great-great-uncle aren’t cozy enough, then it’s a great time to slip past the swinging doors into one of the bar’s private snugs, which New York Magazine describes as “… so private that you’ll need to button-activate a lightbulb to get your waiter’s attention.” While the décor takes one back in time, the pub food stays decidedly modern. The menu includes mini burgers served with a side of Ruffles chips, along with seasonal pickle plates, bratwurst, and Frito pie. And if the bar’s selection of board games or the comedian-hosted bingo night gets to be too much fun, guests can always slip out back to the garden, a shaded-area decked with picnic tables.