Inside Kings, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of clattering sounds and uproarious cheers. The noise might stem from the bowling section, where glowing squares of abstract, retro wall art bookend the alleys. It might also come from ricocheting billiard balls, a well-aimed skee-ball, or a shuffleboard shot in the game room. Maybe someone spotted a celebrity—Bill Murray, Salma Hayek, and Lady Gaga are all on an extensive list of past famous visitors.
Wherever their origins, the telltale echoes of competition and camaraderie beckon to guests throughout the venue. They're accompanied in the air by the scents of comfort food, from staples such as sesame ginger wings to inventive fusions such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Sweeter aromas waft from multiple bars as the staff flavors martinis with gummy bears, pop rocks, and ice cream instead of the traditional fixings, olives or entire lemons on toothpicks.
As for sights, the surroundings blend vintage flair with luminous technology. More than 30 high-definition televisions line the space, broadcasting sports games and bowling scores. The Back Bay location has six Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and hosts group events, including parties and corporate getaways where you can finally laugh at your boss's ridiculous shoes. Weekly themed nights for the public also encourage dancing, karaoke, and trivia.
As guests pass under Lewis' Restaurant and Grille's festive blue marquee, they enter an inviting world of Americana, with a bar that has been in place for generations and a kitchen offering up the appetizing aroma of freshly baked pizzas and Angus beef burgers. Guests share plates of buttermilk pancakes and eggs benedict during Sunday brunches and savor the tastes of inventive burgers and sandwiches, such as caprese-salad burgers or chicken-pesto sandwiches drizzled with balsamic reduction, all week long. Upscale haddock and salmon entrees satisfy refined palates, and a spread of bar food pleases crowds with chicken-finger baskets, tots, and tuna melts.
Though it has welcomed in families and bar regulars for decades, Lewis' has recently updated its interior with new bamboo flooring in the dining room and crisp dollar bills in the bar's cash register. Patrons regularly join in special events hosted by the bar, such as Tuesday-night trivia, where first-placers win a cash prize.
James's Gate Restaurant & Pub, named and designed after Dublin's St. James's Gate Brewery, site of Arthur Guinness' famed stout, serves traditional Irish and American cuisine in a classic, inviting setting. Diners can take a seat in the restaurant section of James's Gate, filled with bright colors and elegant décor, such as local artwork depicting kings getting facials. After taking a gander at the restaurant menu patrons can stick a fork in the pan-seared duck, served with traditional roasted potatoes and a spinach salad ($21), or sink sharpened incisors into the hand-cut salmon, a savory combination of a grilled filet, red-beet risotto, and arugula salad ($22). For a more casual outing, patrons can pop into the pub, where a wood-burning fireplace and authentic Irish church pews support a pub menu spouting imported appetizers, including bangers and chips ($9) or chips and curry ($6), that open for a classy cast of sandwiches ($9+) and entrees such as the Gate meatloaf ($13) or shepherd's pie ($11).
Charley's invites diners to taste a sprawling menu that features American classics such as steaks, seafood, and salads. Hand-cut french fries are served alongside burgers piled with bacon, crisp fried onions, and enormous pickle slices. As forks and knives dig into steaks forged from USDA choice beef, aged a minimum of four weeks, a wine list details more than 60 different wines available in bottles and glasses, instead of a server’s boots. During weekend mornings, brunch details specialties such as thick-cut french toast, filet-mignon benedict, and corned-beef hash, served with spicy bloody marys, mimosas, or champagne.