Blackthorn Tavern’s ebony exterior gives way to cream-hued walls adorned with beer signs and a dozen LCD TVs flickering with sports games. Darts, pool tables, and pinball line the sports bar's innards, and the back patio warms bodies with heat lamps and a snuggle-friendly polar bear. Local bands and DJs pump out tunes into the wee hours of the morning, and trivia and karaoke nights enhance the pleasures of flowing beer and mixed drinks.
Though its doors recently closed for a full renovation, The Napper Tandy emerged bigger than ever, stuffing its interior with nine plasma TVs, two fireplaces, and a giant projector screen. While watching games of Ireland’s beloved football—or the American adaptation that’s less faithful to the original book—patrons nosh on everything from hearty irish breakfasts to beer-battered cod fillets served with tartar sauce and hand-cut fries. A karaoke and billiards area offers a more interactive experience to entertain guests as they sip on 1 of 13 draft beers or a bloody mary made with the pub's own pickling spices.
Nestled just beyond the former home of the 49ers, Kezar Pub stands for all things sports. A well-thought-out schedule lists not only the day’s football and basketball games selected to grace the pub’s 24 screens but also a comprehensive broadcasting of European soccer, hurling, and rugby. Diners keep track of fantasy teams while washing down bites of fish tacos, nachos, and shepherd’s pie with sips of craft beer. Hockey and boxing also receive ample attention within the expansive, wood-paneled bar, and guests looking to put on athletic displays of their own can challenge each other to pool.
Cafe Flore serves a distinctive combination of Hawaiian, French, and Spanish influences for both brunch and dinner. Earlyish birds leave the worm alone, opting instead for the kalua pork hash with two eggs, parmesan, pico de gallo, shallots, garlic fried potatoes, and toast ($10.50), or salmon benedict ($11.75) with a side of chicken apple sausage ($3.95). Begin an evening meal with a shrimp cocktail appetizer ($8.95), or get an order of three cheeseburger sliders ($8.95) with onion rings ($4.50). Cafe Flore's chef, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, specializes in scouring local farmers' markets for the freshest fruits, vegetables, and nuts shaped like iguanodons. Take advantage of fresh ingredients with an avocado salad ($8.95, add $3.95 for grilled chicken breast) or dodge the green bullet with grilled NY steak frites in a mushroom ragout ($13.95).
Have you ever seen someone smell a glass of wine and remark on its “lemony overtones” or “essence of plum” and wondered if they had any idea what they were talking about? Usually you're right, and they're pulling words from the 2009 Unabridged Wine Libs Dictionary. Pair one word from the "Obscure Fruits and Woods" chapter with another from "Vague Concepts" and you've got a smart-sounding wine description. How many times have we heard a Wine Libs poser foolishly declare that a wine resonated with "cedar echoes?" Too many times to count on one seven-fingered hand—eight times, to be precise.