Although Growlers Pub mimics the no-frills congeniality made famous by its British counterparts, the similarities between them end at the kitchen door. Instead of leaning on traditional greasy grub, the pub’s expert chefs populate their sandwiches, salads, and entrees with fresh ingredients sourced from local producers whenever possible. The Farmer’s Market section of the menu flaunts local, heirloom tomatoes in the caprese salad, and free-range chicken in the chop salad. Chefs also toss Atlantic salmon and Angus strip loin on the grill before pairing them with seasonal veggies, and customize steak burgers with eight types of cheese and toppings, such as fried pickles and roasted mushrooms. Up to 33 beers on tap, and another 40 in bottles, help wash down bites of hand-cut truffle-parmesan fries within the lively dining room or out on the sunny, sprawling patio.
Framed memorabilia, celebrity caricatures, and TVs line the walls at Weber's, a neighborhood pub that takes pride in its chow and sociable setting for taking in the game. Topping the expansive menu is the pork tenderloin ($8.99), made of tender-cut, juicy meat that's flame-broiled and lovingly basted in your choice of Cajun or Jamaican spice sauce. Spice up lackluster stickball championships with the hot, meaty chicken wings ($8.99 regular, $11.49 platter), or start your own stickball game with cheese-stuffed Bosco sticks ($6.99). Sandwich artists can build a burger (starting at $7.99) or nosh the Mardi Gras burger ($8.99), which bedecks a charbroiled ground chuck patty in shrimp sauce, Cajun spice, and a rhinestone jumpsuit. Your Groupon is also good for drinks; Weber's offers an array of beers on tap and by the bottle.
Llywelyn's menu introduces an impressive assortment of traditional pub classics to salads, flatbreads, wraps, and ambitiously portioned sandwiches. Start with an order of Welsh potato chips ($3.95); flaky, fried Irish pies ($7.95); beer-battered fried pub pickles ($7.25); or the much-talked-about chicken chili ($4.95 for a bowl). Then wrap mouth muscles around fish and chips ($10.25): two beer-battered and fried cod fillets served with house-made tartar sauce. From meaty chunks of lamb, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and green beans swimming in Guinness-Jameson stock ($9.95) to shepherd's pie ($10.95), the selections side well with a sudsy sip. The beer menu includes an exhaustive library of selections by the draft or bottle. Llywelyn's also offers a menu of kid-friendly fare.
Cheers rise whenever the home team scores a point at Pepper's Grill and Bar. Maybe it's a 30-year history that gives the space its space swagger. Pair that with 27 HDTVs, and almost every table has a good view of the action. Abiding by the tenets carved into the stones of the original basketball rule book, Pepper's pairs its spectator sports with burgers, pizzas, and its signature pepper bites. Most impressive on the menu is the Cowboy burger, which is piled with bacon, onion rings, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. This combination of atmosphere and edibles earned Pepper's Grill and Bar accolades from the readers of the Riverfront Times, who awarded it the Best Neighborhood Bar (City) in 2011.
Both eight-lane alleys come from the old school and serve up "bowling the way it used to be," when film was more filmy and carpet designs were mesmerizingly carpety. Take a virtual tour of Moolah or Saratoga. At Saratoga, you'll keep track of your score on paper, just like President James Monroe, so Wii-cosseted bowlers may have to bone up on their strike and spare calculations. There are no laser lights, smoke machines, or thumping discojock jams to sully the moment when ball perfectly hooks into one-pin.