Meridian's seasonal menu draws inspiration from global bar bites made from all-natural and locally grown ingredients. Start with an order of bacon mac ‘n’ cheese with buttered panko ($8) or the almond-breaded cod fingers served with jalapeño tartar sauce ($12). For a refreshing post-triathlon meal, opt for the togarashi ahi-tuna niçoise salad with capers, tomatoes, Humboldt fog, and sesame-orange vinaigrette ($14) or quell carnivorous cravings with an all-natural beef burger served with cheddar or blue cheese ($9). The grilled bangers and mash ($13) will evoke sweet childhood memories of playing hopscotch outside the smoky pubs of Bangladesh and also will serve as a delicious stomach stretcher for a third course of sticky toffee pudding ($6) or a house-made ice-cream sandwich with mocha sauce ($6).
In its early years, Magoo's Grill was, in its staff's own words, a "nondescript local watering hole." Twenty-five years later, the entrance twinkles with holiday lights, welcoming guests into an open space with dark-wood floors and deep, cozy booths. The kitchen staff hand crafts half-pound burgers, sealing in their juices by broiling them over an open flame. To make Magoo's signature sandwiches, chefs also grill chicken breasts and tri-tip steaks, which get topped with cheese or applewood-smoked bacon. Meals can be paired with a selection of microbrews or specialty drinks, such as Magoo's melon margarita, made with melon liqueur and lime juice.
Zambur Bar & Grill's masterful menu makers welcome visitors by handing them plates filled with kebabs, seafood, pub fare, and more. Begin the tasting session with sambosa, a puffy pastry indwelt by spicy potato eats ($4.95). Or, promise your mouth hot wings ($5.95), but then surprise it instead with battered crab cakes ($6.95) paired with a frothy brew from Zambur's full bar.
Most of The Republic’s food doesn't come from beyond 150 miles away. As hinted at by the name and grizzly bear logo, the restaurant uses local ingredients to support its mission of promoting the food, drink, and spirit of California. The menu was created by consulting chef Erik Hopfinger, a Top Chef contestant who has tweaked classic dishes by introducing new flavors—queso fresco and piquillo peppers crown carnitas sliders, and charred tomato salsa colors pan-seared Scottish salmon. At brunch, chantilly cream sweetens thick honey-wheat french toast, and avocado adds 25% more alphabet to a BLTA made with applewood-smoked bacon.
The spirits selection is equally conscientious. Sixty-one craft beers, 20 of which are on tap, hail from down the street (Speakeasy’s Prohibition Ale) and across the country (Portland, Maine’s Allagash White). Boutique wines handpicked from around the United States add depth, and a list of specialty cocktails includes the Republic margarita with silver tequila, pineapple juice, fresh lime, agave nectar, and a salted cayenne rim. At game time, 13 high-definition TVs appear from concealed locations, a trick that charmed the Huffington Post into naming The Republic one of the city’s best bars for watching football.
Hardwood columns descend from a vaulted ceiling at Pete’s Tavern, where a menu of pub grub sates sports fans gathered beneath lambent panoplies of wall-mounted flat-screen TVs. Twelve beers, including drafts from Lagunitas Brewing Company and Redhook, gush from taps at Pete’s horseshoe-shaped full-service bar, which also irrigates arid cheering sections with signature cocktails and robust reds and whites from local wineries. Overhanging pennants celebrate the nation’s best teams and complement walls covered with photographs of legendary athletes and endangered mascots. These photographs gaze down on plates laden with house-smoked barbecue brisket sliders and eight grass-fed half-pound burgers.
Bridging the gap between an American sports bar and a European pub, The Mad Dog in the Fog embraces the allure of spectator sports on both continents. The wall-mounted, flatscreen televisions play live broadcasts of football, basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis, and golf as well as European soccer and rugby. With so many games available throughout the year, crowds pack into the long, narrow room––with gray brick walls and a gleaming wooden bar––and cheer for a home team playing half a world away.
Just like the game schedule, the pub’s food and drink menu adopts an international approach. The coolers feature an ever-rotating selection of about 150 beers from as far away as Sri Lanka and the Czech Republic, including the occasional handful of rare and limited-release microbrews. To complement the eclectic beer selection, the kitchen staff prepares comfort foods such as beer-battered fish and chips and jalapeño-spiced corn dogs made from Aidells sausages.