Smoke scented with flavors such as mango, pineapple, and cherry wafts through Aladdin Restaurant and Hookah Bar as patrons linger over waterpipes as late as 3 a.m. Besides Al Fakher and Starbuzz tobacco, skilled staffers also blend house mixes with names such as Bubble Yum and Candy Drop, and can even fit hookahs with heads made from hollowed-out pineapples, watermelons, and other fruits. The kitchen also crafts a full menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare, including kebabs, gyros, and Turkish coffee.
The clink of whiskey glasses, the upbeat strains of fiddles, and the mouthwatering aroma of braised lamb shank: these are the sights, sounds, and smells that envelop the senses at Claddagh Irish Pub. The lively eatery sates stomachs with a menu of traditional dishes, such as shepherd’s pie, and those with modern twists, such as the fish accompanied by fresh mango salsa or cilantro-lime rice. The chefs try to use seasonal ingredients and keep tongues from getting bored by changing their offerings twice a year and hiding firecrackers in the desserts.
Diners swig a variety of Irish beer and whiskeys and sip more than a dozen wines surrounded by dark-wood accents and stone walls that evoke the Emerald Isle. A slew of events entertain ears, including team trivia nights and live sessions of traditional Irish music.
Several nights a week, guitarists, drummers, and vocalists gather on stage at Mansion Hill Tavern to tear through blues tunes. But that's not to say the restaurant's customers have much to be blue about. Instead, they tend to take pleasure in dining on house-made soups, fish sandwiches, and chili, and in washing it all down with a cold beer. The burgers?void of any frilly toppings?pack more than enough flavor to have earned an induction into Polly?s Burger Hall of Fame from CincinnatiUSA. During warmer months, the party spills out onto a patio with plenty of seating. Please note that Mansion Hill Tavern only serves fish sandwiches on Fridays, only accepts cash, and has an ATM on-site.
You don't have to drive all the way to Nashville for great music and food?just head over to The Little Nashville of Newport. Executive chef Shamus Craig offers a menu of Southern favorites, such as slow-cooked baby back ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches with slaw and pepper jack cheese, and crab cakes. The laid-back joint features weathered wooden floors and a bar that holds plenty of drinks and the occasional dancing guest. Libations pour freely inside the joint as guests enjoy live entertainment on the stage with local musicians and karaoke nights.
Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
The independently-owned Mayday offers a variety of unique burgers, made from turkey, black bean, or beef patties with toppings such as Korea-style kimchi and cilantro chili sauce. Patrons pair the burgers with oven-baked fries and draft beer at this hub of the Northside neighborhood, along with trivia, comedy, and live rock and roll, and a two-tiered patio provides a fun atmosphere for the whole family.
The boldness of burgers isn't all Mayday specializes in, however. The subtle flavors of fine whiskey and charcuterie reward more ambitious palates, while a full array of hotdogs?served on homemade pretzel buns?add an upscale spin to comfort food. To top it off, customers can add a fried egg to anything on the menu, just like when we were kids, frying eggs on the sidewalk to top off our summer ice cream cones.