Father-and-son team Ken and Terry Sweeney founded Sweeney's in 1985 to fortify sports fans and unaffiliated revelers with family hospitality and hearty pub eats. Like visiting foreign dignitaries, wings arrive smothered in one of eight zesty sauces and sampler platters designed for digital delectation bear chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, pizza fingers, and onion rings. Eight Philly-steak sandwiches sport tender slices of beef and chicken alongside oven-warmed jewels such as a roast-chicken grinder stacked with bacon and swiss cheese on crisp garlic toast. A pair of house-made broiled crab cakes steps out on dinner platters with potatoes draped in parsley and the vegetable of the day carved to comment on that day's newspaper headlines.
The banners of New York's sports teams hang from the ceiling at Play Sports Bar, a space lined with flat-screen TVs tuned to sporting events all while more than 100 different beers flow from the bar. The diverse selection of bottles and drafts, many of them craft beers, complements a menu of traditional sports-bar fare such as burgers, wings, and pizza that can be molded into a football. On nights throughout the week, the bar is enlivened by events such as live music, beer tastings, and karaoke.
1 Republik Lounge whisks patrons into a low-lit series of rooms decorated to evoke classic Hollywood, Rat Pack glamour, and the Land of Oz. Nine flavors of tobacco-free hookah add an aromatic complement to meals in the beer garden, where red tables polka-dot the patio like the spots on a zebra's back. NCAA season sends cheers coursing past tables along with Italian-tinged entrees such as shrimp scampi and pub snacks including bruschetta and meatballs. Meanwhile, versatile, outgoing bartenders tap beer, pour wine, and mix cocktails while adding to the conviviality of the dive-inspired lounge whose "hospitality is second to none," according to Shecky's NYC Nightlife.
Partially demolished and built anew to look old, The Gutter couples its eight gleaming wood lanes with a vintage Brunswick scoring system, ensuring that you'll get both a thumb workout and a healthy dose of mathercise. Beyond the nostalgia, there's substance, too: the facilities operate on 100% wind power, which means bowlers are more than welcome to contribute to the lighting bill by making airy boasts after rolling a strike. While you can certainly top off your pitcher with the finest Natural Light, there are plenty of craft beers flowing as well.
Inhabiting a former sweet shop, Pete's Candy Store unveils a whimsical seasonal menu of eclectic cocktails and gourmet sandwiches amid free nightly live music and other bustling bar activities. On Sundays, revelers can gobble up a roasted turkey, cheddar, and spicy aioli sandwich ($8) during open-mic (5 p.m.–8 p.m.), and then enjoy the indie-folk sounds of The Go Round (8:30 p.m. in March) while trying to keep the Dragonfly Punch cocktail ($10) from winging around the heads of other bar patrons. On any day of the week, an artichoke heart, brie, and onion-relish ciabatta sandwich ($8) pairs well with a Bleeding Heart cocktail, made with Akvavit, Cherry Heering, and lyrics from Celine Dion ballads ($10).