Black Bear Saloon may have all the wood paneling of a Wild West watering hole, but it boasts many modern amenities, including 33 plasma televisions that deliver sports from around the globe thanks to a DirecTV sports package. Cooks keep stomachs fueled for the action with a selection of wraps, sandwiches, and Angus-beef burgers.
After a game has aired, the staff dims the lights and cranks up the volume on the bar’s speaker system and turns the stage over to a live DJ every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Saturday, before the rise of the moon transforms the mild-mannered dining room into a dance floor, the saloon hosts the kid-friendly Cub Club. The club’s staffers lead tykes in crafts, games, and Wii activities, which gives parents time to grab a relaxed afternoon meal or nap on the cool floor behind the bar.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary dancer himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Energetic instructors at Work It lead cardio, dance, and fitness classes seven days a week, cycling through yoga poses and spinning around poles in workouts that avoid gym monotony. Cadres of exercisers move to blood-pumping Latin–based choreography in cardio-heavy Zumba courses ($18/class), where alternating quick and slow tempos create a temporal distortion field previously accessible only to the funkiest physicists. Introductory pole-dancing courses ($25/class) let practitioners build strength and confidence as they twirl aerobically around metallic dance partners who never slip or insist on solo river-dancing routines.
Upon graduating from the New York French Culinary Institute, Chef Pasquale Pascarella continued his education under two of contemporary Italian cuisine's most famous chefs: Mario Batali and Scott Conant. He learned well—today, Chef Pascarella serves up his own take on Italian cuisine at Bar Sugo, a critically acclaimed eatery known for its cozy atmosphere and classic food.
For edible evidence of Pascarella's Italian mastery, look no further than his meatballs prepared six ways—some with duck and foie gras, others with beef, melted gouda, and red onion jam. But those who do look further will discover brick-oven pizzas topped with pulled pork and 12-year-old balsamic, as well as house-made pastas such as mint tagliatelle with lamb ragu. That same tasteful touch is extended to the beverage selection, which encompasses wine, Italian beers, and cocktails made with liquors aged and awarded their diplomas in a barrel. But no matter what guests select from the menu, Bar Sugo's laid-back decor—featuring brick walls, a red-and-white checkered floor, and a copper-topped bar—invites them to sit back and savor every bite.
BJ Ryan's dishes out hearty entrees and effervescent brews in an industrial-chic atmosphere. Diners slide into banquettes or dark wooden chairs and tuck into steak sandwiches, burgers and chops lavished with sauces from ponzu to b?arnaise. Pizzas on white or whole-wheat crusts embrace decadent toppings such as truffle oil or housemade pesto, and plates of pulled pork nachos complement the dining room's rustic exposed-brick walls hung with large plasma televisions. Carved wood encircles the bar, whose inlaid mirrors reflect golden pints of house brews and the haunting stares of bottled spirits. BJ Ryan's also crafts platters of small bites, wings, and pizzas for special events, and a private party room is available for both dinner and cocktail parties
Behind a fittingly old-school facade, The Old Mill's interior echoes the classic look of a saloon?except with better food and way more choices than any cowboy likely had. Take, for instance, their enormous selection of meats straight from the smoker, including a 12-hour, slow-cooked pulled-pork platter and a half-chicken basted in a zesty bourbon-barbecue sauce. They don't skimp on seafood either, serving thick blackened tuna steaks and broiled Atlantic cod with shrimp scampi.
In warmer months, a breezy patio welcomes diners to sit outside while having a half-pound hand-formed burger and a cold one. But feasts are equally enjoyable indoors, surrounded by darts, live music, and no chance of seeing the terrifying moon man.