If it weren't for the parking meters in front of Canterbury Ales' Tudor-style building, you might think you were walking into a centuries-old English pub. The spot opened up 35 years ago after two college friends—one an English literature major—journeyed to Canterbury and were inspired to start their own pub. Today, current owner Billy Hoest says patrons are delighted to find that the English-style stews, sandwiches, and never-frozen burgers they loved 35 years ago haven't changed, though they've made some additions over the years. The sizeable beer list, which rotates with the seasons, stars 20 draft beers including craft and local brews, such as Blue Point, backed up by 50 bottled varieties. But the ample sip selection doesn't make Canterbury Ales an adults-only spot. "We're very family-oriented," Billy says. "We're more of a family pub, which we find over in England, than a bar in the sense that you find here." In addition to offering a kids’ menu, he and his staff make sure there are highchairs and coloring pages on hand to welcome their younger patrons. Customers can devour their prime-rib sandwiches, English brown stews, and spicy Cajun blue burgers at dark wood tables and booths. "It's a dark, cozy, warm feel," Billy says. The interior is covered in English artifacts, including a picture of the queen, as well as more than 200 beer tap handles from brews they've tapped over the years and stained-glass panes created by a local artist to depict old English scenes. The snug pub is especially popular when the weather cools down, says Billy, and patrons can warm up with Irish, Jamaican, Mexican, and other coffees, all topped with a dollop of whipped cream. To celebrate its 35th anniversary in April 2012, Billy picked one item from the food menu and one item from the beer list and offered them at the original menu's prices. He wasn't making any money off of it, but for him, it was a way to thank loyal customers. "We have regulars all over Long Island [who] easily travel 45 minutes to an hour to come," he says. "So I do things to give back, to thank the customers for supporting us."
A close look at the truffle selection tells you that XO Restaurant • Wine & Chocolate Lounge walks the tightrope between classic tastes and reinvention. Seated near the upstairs fireplace, you can sample a set of housemade chocolate truffles in classic milk, dark, and white variants, or nibble truffles dressed up as childhood treats such as oreos and s'mores. Alongside indulgent fondues, these desserts lend sweetness to the romantic atmosphere of the lounge, where live music plays every Friday and Saturday night.
Downstairs, the scene swings to a chic, brick-lined restaurant. The same spirit of experimentation is present in the menu, though: lobster pot pie, lamb and feta burgers, and flatbreads with toppings of fig and prosciutto are just a few of the kitchen's elegantly plated New American dishes. Wines have been sorted into flavor profiles such as "full-bodied and robust," saving patrons the trouble of asking each bottle for a character reference.
Rookies Sports Club performs a full-court press on the senses, sporting a menu with a mouthwatering array of grilled and fried snacks and displaying 10 television screens that allow fans to survey the scores around the league. The whole baseball squad or the Russian Olympic go-kart shot-putters can share an order of 50 Rookies signature wings ($38), swaddled in a choice of eight sauces. The Bronx Bomber steak burger creates a favorable matchup against offensive hunger pains, boasting a lineup of chopped sirloin, caramelized onions, applewood bacon bits, and blue cheese ($15.99). Rookies Sports Club also stocks a frosty collection of craft beers for a postgame celebration/commiseration, from the Belgian Gulden Draak Triple Ale to the coppery Keegan Ales Hurricane Kitty IPA. While nursing a glass of Black Dog Ale, guests can listen to sports commentators pontificating over their choice of game from a set of cordless speakers.
Deer Park Bowl sets an atmosphere of relaxed fun with its state-of-the-art lanes and onsite bar and grill. Patriotic stars and stripes adorn 16 gleaming Brunswick Pro Anvil synthetic lanes that also feature upfront ball returns, delivering balls back to players faster than it takes to memorize the 14 Eskimo words for “bowling.” Servers at the onsite Pinheads Bar & Grill dish up pizzas, fried fare, and Italian entrees as customers play darts, gaze at six plasma televisions, and swig from an extensive selection of cold bottles, tap beer, and top-shelf liquor. On weekend nights, neon lighting transforms the alley into a cosmic wonderland, accompanied by satellite radio and Saturday night.
Mill Creek Tavern’s nautically themed dining room excites the eyes with model ships, wood crackling in a stone fireplace, and the restaurant’s logo of crossed canoe paddles. Meanwhile, the aroma of freshly caught seafood and juicy steaks on the grill signals the feast to come, much like the smell of cigar smoke signals a spritz of Winston Churchill cologne. A part of the Mim’s family of restaurants, Mill Creek Tavern has been a Bayville staple for more than a quarter century. One of the tavern’s owners is always onsite holding the entrees to a consistently lofty standard, inspiring a rave review from Joanne Starkey of The New York Times, who recommended “the fall-from-the-bones-tender baby-back ribs, a perfectly grilled fillet of lemon sole, and a rousing rendition of chicken scarpariello with meat on the bone and lots of garlic, sausage, and potatoes.”