Tipperary Pub's story begins with four longtime friends pounding the greens on their weekly golf game and discussing their passion for hearty food and heavy drink. Perhaps it was the whistling winds, the hue of the course, or pulling James Joyce out of a sand trap that inspired them to open their own Irish pub. Now the friendship of the founders extends to the patrons of their restaurant, where streams of 22 beers on tap and more than 80 whiskeys await happy gullets. The menu is loaded with Irish staples, including potato- and corned-beef-packed appetizers, and dishes such as shepherd's pie, lamb stew, and bangers and mash. Spirits continue to be raised by weekly trivia games and weekday specials, and Jersey Shore bands keep patrons dancing on weekend nights.
Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
In the kitchen of Tavern on the Lake, chefs not only cook pub classics such as 14-ounce burgers with mushrooms and onions but also an upscale house made ravioli entrees with scallops, chorizo, and mascarpone cheese. Meanwhile, patrons sing karaoke tunes, listen to live band performances, or adjourn to the outdoor patio to sip a pint of beer from the full bar.
At Dean Casmirri's Colonial Inn, the downstairs patio and overhanging four seasons deck both overlook a creek with a little waterfall. Guests can take in the scenic views while dining on the restaurant's American bar and grill food, which includes 15 different burgers, pastas such as housemade lasagna, and comfort foods such as roast turkey with stuffing.
Equally abundant is entertainment. Karaoke, trivia, and bingo nights fill the already crowded event calendar (which features live music three nights a week), and bar games such as darts, horseshoes, and billiards allow patrons to take out their competitiveness on something other than the food.
Dr. Lou’s Place offers hungry diners a menu full of reliably delicious, hearty American fare. Today’s deal lets a three-legged race team prep for a competition with a pair of cheesesteak sandwiches served with fries—an edible manifestation of brotherly love. Twelve wings can be evenly divided among eaters or saved for Thanksgiving in case a Mayan-predicted turkey shortage occurs. In addition to live entertainment and a dedicated staff, Dr. Lou’s also features an ice-cream window and an open stage policy that lets local guitar handlers try their hand at axe shredding with a chicken wing instead of a guitar pick.
Trenton Social's convivial environment sprawls from its indoor lounge to its cozy outdoor patio, where dining and drinking often melds with special events. Its menu fuels guests with eats ranging from seafood and pastas to hot sandwiches and parmesan fries. Between drinks on Sundays, guests can learn to shimmy as salsa dancers teach free lessons, and monthly bike trips explore historic Trenton as tour guides expound upon relevant historical morsels, such as stories of the brutal penny-farthing gangs of old.