For more than 40 years, British expats Wally and Doris welcomed guests into Wally’s Sixpence in Savannah, where Wally would talk their ears off and Doris would feed them with lunch she’d prepared in her home kitchen. In 1999, two men who considered Wally’s their favorite watering hole took it over. They renamed it Six Pence Pub, renovated the interior, and converted the menu to a full array of English and American comfort food. The success of bread bowls brimming with Guinness-stout-marinated beef tips and classic reuben sandwiches has enabled the duo to launch another two locations. Although each pub has its own menu, they all pay homage to the Queen’s country with steaming shepherd’s pies, bangers and mash, and more than a dozen sandwiches. On-tap brews, bourbon, or single malt scotches help evenings pass more enjoyably than a staring contest with a Kit-Kat clock.
Each location’s atmosphere is unique: in Savannah, diners can lounge among plants on the patio or perch at a glossy wood bar guarded by unfurled British flags. In Fort Mill, guests know they’re at the right place when they see the unmistakable cherry red of a British telephone booth outside.
At Cloud 9 Martini & Tapas Bar, conversation passes between friends alongside tastes of 45 cold, sweet, or bitter martinis and 18 shareable tapas plates. A blue-lit, martini-shaped bar acts as a stage for mixologists’ concoctions to enthrall eyes and tongues with fruity, chocolaty, and gentlemanly flavors. The Baxterini’s classic recipe of Beefeater gin, vermouth, and olive juice gains approving nods from traditionalists, whereas the Smores replicates a summer treat—complete with flaming marshmallow—without the hassles of camping or starting a bonfire on your kitchen table. To expand a martini-centric evening, Cloud 9 also serves up handmade Chimay beer as well as SweetWater and Turbodog craft brews.
Around the rest of the lounge, sofas and chairs stacked with pillows serve as a convivial perch where guests share tapas. Cherry peppers pop with goat cheese and prosciutto, and quesadillas mix sweet and savory with a dollop of mango chutney atop a filling of apple and brie. On Saturday, DJs accompany bites with energy from their decks, infusing the space with up-tempo beats for dancing or karate montages.
Every weekend, The Comedy Zone puts on a three-act standup show, each headlined by nationally-touring comics often boasting credits from such programs as Last Comic Standing and Sirius XM Radio. On Thursday nights, the floor opens to a flurry of local up-and-comers, giving nascent comedians the chance to cut their teeth on a live audience and a microphone-shaped chew toy. Its partner restaurant and bar, Madison’s on the Corner, provides the show floor with a menu of drinks and pub grub such as steaks, burgers, and pasta.
Hawthorne's New York Pizza & Bar's dough-slingers serve a piping-hot menu of pasta, heroes, and hand-tossed pizzas, earning a 2011 Charlotte Magazine Voters' Choice award for best pizza. Edible disks are spooned with sauce and configured for specialty deliciousness with such options as the luau pizza⎯a blend of pineapple, bacon, smoked pulled pork, and caramelized onions wrapped up in a grass skirt ($9–$18)⎯and the Sicilian's thick, square crust clad only in mozzarella ($14.50). Herbs and gorgonzola cheese roam across hills of pasta and valleys stuffed with chicken or sausage in the gorgonzola pasta ($10.50), and the philly cheesesteak hero ($8.85) laces standard white american cheese with the illicit flavors of chipotle mayo. Chefs layer eggplant rollentini ($11) with a blend of mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheeses before spackling it with pesto and oven-baking it to monumental deliciousness.
At first glance, Angry Ale’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill looks like a regular sports hangout with its walls lined with dartboards and flat-screen TVs. But the eatery takes a creative angle with its menu of burgers, wings, wraps, and other pub food. From the redneck fondue—a heaping bowl of homemade queso dip—to tot-chos–tater tots smothered in jalapeños, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and a choice of meat–appetizers kick off meals with delicious unconventionality. This culinary aesthetic carries over to entrees and favorites such as the bacon fatty melt, a bacon cheeseburger with 1000 island dressing, whisked to tables by the ghost of Alexandre Dumas. Diners can also put their appetites to the test by participating in the Button Popper, a speed-eating cheeseburger challenge that asks the age-old question, “Are you built for speed or comfort?”
A proud sibling restaurant of Bonterra Dining and Wine Room, the recently opened Sunset Grille cultivates a warm, casual atmosphere for noshing on classic cuisine. Its menu brings together pizzas, sandwiches, and entrees in a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves. Sample the four-cheese pizza pie ($11), which arranges mozzarella, fontina, goat, and parmesan cheeses around delectable sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Starving seafarers may wish to try the pan-seared crab cakes ($18), which arrive sidekicked by fennel slaw and Creole mustard aioli for a refreshing condimental synthesis. The house-made french-dip sandwich ($9) comes covered with caramelized onions and provolone cheese, allowing you to hop on a hoagie-roll canoe to accompany your roast beef through a pleasant stream of au jus. All of Sunset's succulent burgers come cooked by a brick oven, and the feisty Spanglish burger ($9) melds fried egg, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, and tomato, exemplifying the kitchen's fearless experimentation and proud Spanglian heritage. Today's Groupon is also good for drinks from Sunset's full-service bar, which features an arsenal of beers and wines to wet all varieties of whistle.