Siips—a cozy, wood-finished bistro—boasts a comprehensive selection of more than 75 wines and champagnes, most of which are available by the glass nightly. These bubbly and waft-worthy beverages accompany lunch and dinner menus brimming with fresh Mediterranean fare. Sidle up to the granite-topped bar with a silky smooth Bonny Doon syrah (3 oz. for $7; 6 oz. for $13), and soak up the creamy tannins with savory morsels of antipasto piled high with cured meats, cheeses, and olives ($16.95). Celebrate a special occasion with a crisp glass of Gloria Ferrer bubbly (3 oz. for $7; 6 oz. for $12) that soothes and smoothes the palate just in time for an artfully arranged plate of wine-sautéed escargot ($9.95).
The chefs at Bull Branch marry local and international ingredients in a menu of salads, shareable tapas, and entrees that strikes a balance between succinct and eclectic. Served in a intimately lit Bohemian setting that The Washington Post describes as "that perfect blend of casual and sophisticated, elegant and honky-tonk," dishes such as hummus, curries, and pulled pork harness the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and down-home America. Occasional live music in the evenings complements the pan-continental cuisine, as does a serving staff of UN delegates who, upon request, sprinkle borders of salt and pepper to delineate your entree and sides.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
A lively atmosphere and rotating menu of delectable gourmet American fare populate F.W. Sullivan's. Chef Sean Murphy fuses a mélange of flavors to craft his American pub fare, which he mixes up based on the whims of the restaurant avatar Sully, who brings a variety of international tastes to the table. Start your tongue-traveling with the Costa Rican coconut shrimp ($9) or the Guinness barbecue-sauce-infused pork shanks and grits ($9). The California fish tacos ($9) meld grilled tilapia, avocado cilantro crème fraiche, and homemade salsa to lusciously please refined seafaring palates. Traditional Irish favorites such as the shepherd's pie ($10) step dance enthusiastically against restaurant originals like Murphy's Meatloaf, a blend of beef, pork, and veal seasoned with fresh, piquant herbs and wrapped in nature's candy, bacon ($10).
Park Lane Tavern mimics the feel of European taverns inside and out, from an exterior that pays homage to London taverns to interior furnishings directly imported from Europe. Like a hot dog curtseying to the queen, the menu blends American staples with traditions from across the pond, juxtaposing steaks and club sandwiches with shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips. Behind a gleaming handcrafted bar, bartenders dole out pints of the tavern's more than 24 beers on tap and pour glasses of wine, single-malt scotches, and small-batch bourbons.