Friendly's Sports Bar and Grill, voted Best Neighborhood Bar by Riverfront Times in 2007, first opened its doors in 1928 under the moniker Friendly Tavern, and served as a community social club and a meeting place for church groups. Since then, the spot has changed hands and embraced modern technology, but retains its original unpretentious atmosphere. More than 40 flat-screen TVs let patrons watch multiple sports games at the same time by crossing their eyeballs in different directions. A game room houses regulation pool tables, arcade games, and more than 30 other diversions, and a spacious outdoor beer garden with picnic benches lures patrons outside during warm months.
Friendly's Sports Bar and Grill complements cold beers and mixed drinks with a menu that encompasses all types of pub appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees, such as the ever-popular fried chicken. The spot's kitchen can also cater private events with trays of gourmet meats and cheeses, or the Southern Chef Special Buffet, which makes bellies growl with a charming Southern twang.
Billed as the oldest bowling alley west of the Mississippi, Saratoga Lanes has been entertaining families and leagues since 1916. They alley has retained a vintage vibe, with black-and-white checkered floors, turquoise seats, and manual scoring. If players need a break between games, they can retire to the bar (which has craft beers from Schlafly), billiards room, or the sunny veranda.
Saratoga's sister alley, Moolah Lanes, has a bit of a sleeker design, with curved leather banquettes at the end of each alley and digital scoring machines. It's located below the Moolah Theater inside the Moolah Temple, making it an ideal destination for date night.
Currating a bustling indie scene of regular live music and movie nights, The Heavy Anchor's press-lauded, dive-bar appeal reels in locals with an extensive line-up of rotating beers and light bar fare. Dining duos can settle into a pair of cushioned barstools and dig in to a Dogtown pizza, smattered with meat or vegetarian adornments. Drink-slingers serve up two beverages from the full-service bar, which brims with soda, more than 50 beers, and an extensive collection of liquors. Take taste buds for a ride with a Twisted Tea, keep it classic with a PBR, or go gluten-free with a Red Bridge brew. Parched pairs can also clink glasses of Wild Turkey or Pernod absinthe to fuel up for impromptu Flashdance flash mobs. Attendees can beef-up their dinner date with a side of Gus' pretzels or Billy Goat chips for an additional fee.
Beneath The Patch Tavern’s yolk-yellow ceiling, bar-biters can peruse a menu bulging with burgers as they sip drinks from the full liquor bar. Chefs arm the 6-ounce grilled patty of The American stuffed burger with bacon spaulders and pickle lances ($6), preparing it for combat against the brown-gravy-stuffed burger girded with mushrooms and shielded by swiss cheese ($6). Appease salt-craving taste buds with crispy french fries ($1) or send mutinous digits a tasty warning with the chicken fingers ($4.50).
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Serving what the Riverfront Times calls "jazzed-up American-grill standards," Fox Park Grille infuses its starters, sandwiches, and wings with signature touches. The grill's casual atmosphere ushers sports fans and foodies alike to its tables, where burgers stuffed with american, blue, and swiss cheese challenge hands to heft their kaiser rolls. From the meatballs to the sauces, including roasted red pepper, honey mustard, and marinara, the kitchen crafts many eats in-house and remains open until at least 10 p.m. six days a week.
Aside from innovative bar fare, Fox Park Grille also specializes in evening entertainment. Guests vie for the top spot during Wednesday trivia nights, and karaoke singers take the stage on Thursday and Friday. On Saturdays, DJ Rayn spins songs from the ’80s and ’90s for a nostalgic dance party that segues into a fight club for former prom kings.