Though 200 domestic bottles, craft beers, and imports reside on the drink menu at Hop Heads Ale House, the bar’s draft selections are some of its most popular brews. With a rotating selection of kegs on 11 taps, servers encourage guests sample bright and foamy brews culled mostly from small-batch breweries. To accentuate the flavors of each pint, the kitchen crew at Hop Heads crafts pub specialties such as rib-eye-cheesesteak sandwiches and chicken wings smothered in one of eight sauces. Wraps come stuffed with the likes of seared ahi tuna or veggies, and fresh soups are tapped fresh from local soup trees. The bar also runs a daily happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day, in addition to nightly specials and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Benchwarmers Pub bustles with the raucous cheers from Ravens fans watching the game on wall-mounted TVs intermingled with clinking pint glasses and ambient tunes from the Megatouch jukebox. Here patrons gather to throw back brews while snacking from a menu of classic pub food. The cooks whip up baskets of crispy fried pickles and wings smothered in fixings ranging from mild honey-barbecue to spicy 3-Mile Island sauce. Heartier fare includes half-pound cheeseburgers, quarter-pound Nathan's hot dogs, and barbecue pulled pork piled on pretzel rolls.
When they're not glued to the TV or filling their bellies, patrons can challenge one another to a friendly game of pool. Benchwarmers Pub also plays host to live DJ sets and weekly karaoke sessions, during which patrons can show support for their favorite team by belting out every song on the Rudy soundtrack.
Ribs, burgers, and beers sate appetites at Memphis Belle Saloon, but the saloon's crowded calendar and collection of games draw as many visitors as its kitchen does. As draft handles bow to fill glasses with Guinness and Sam Adams, groups gather for mixology classes or Monday-night poker tournaments. Dart leagues and skee ball leagues meet Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Trivia occupies four hours on Fridays, while teachers enjoy free access to a buffet and stacks of all-they-can-grade Scantrons. Thursdays host programs such as bourbon tastings and wine dinners the educate palates on fine flavors.
Sully’s strives to keep it classy. With a clean-comedy policy and a two-monocle dress code, the club hosts a lineup of regular and traveling comedians who have honed their timing everywhere from Comedy Central to HBO to Last Comic Standing. Winner of the 2011 World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas, Ryan Dalton takes the mic on August 17 and 18, opining with in-your-face glee on the health risks of exercise and vegetables, and the best way to inform someone they are not a triceratops. Also taking the stage is Nick Cantone, who transforms his mustache into comedy gold by meditating on its effect on his dating life and the sophistication it embodies. While laughing along, audiences can munch on classic pub eats or sip signature cocktails such as the Silly Sully, a blend of Malibu rum, blue curacao, and pineapple juice.
Sipping Pretty acts as a conduit to the world of wine, welcoming customers with wine tastings and educational classes. Its mobile tastings follow a curriculum centered on the four S's of wine tasting and succeeding as a talking police dog: see, sniff, sip, and summarize. Each tasting showcases critically acclaimed wines that tasters can pair with meat and cheese from included snack platters. Seminars offer an alternative way to explore wine, delving into not only the art of tasting but how wine is made and questions of etiquette surrounding its consumption, such as which vintages are best served with a curly straw.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon's Chicago-based piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.