Nightly live music and festive ornamentation neatly match the bursting colorations of Eclipses' tapas—small, sharable portions of Spanish flavors born to mix, match, and clumsily feed to one another across a romantically dimmed corner table. Gather with friends over a glowing votive-lit table and a potent plate of grilled lamb chops with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese ($6.50); delve into the mystery of the paella negra with black squid ink, shrimp, squid, mussels, and artichokes ($20 for an ample portion that serves two or more); or toe the line between sweet and savory with mini empanadas stuffed with spinach, hazelnut, raisins, cheese, and garlic aioli ($4). Menus vary based on the location; click here for the Park Place menu and here for Miami Circle.
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.
Toshiro Japanese Express concocts affordable, authentic Asian fare prepared in the hibachi cooking tradition. Battered shrimp, served with a homemade tempura sauce ($4.50), is a crispy preamble to main-amble noodle dishes, which combine soba (thin noodles) or udon (thick) with an ample ecosystem of broccoli, cabbage, onions, carrots, and mushrooms ($5.95). Diners can feast their eyeteeth on meaty hibachi entrees, including tender teriyaki-chicken morsels ($5.50), served with vegetables, fried or steamed rice, and the house soup, while dividing their other 10 senses among the sleek, honey-glazed paneling of the casual eatery. An array of scrumptious sauces ($.25) stands ready to complement grill fare with zesty tastes of ginger, teriyaki, or asian sesame, while tots can munch kid-friendly fare like chicken fingers and appendage-less hibachi steak.
Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
Hibachi grills crackle with roaring flames and razor-sharp knives glimmer as they slice through fish—affording diners glimpses of the culinary skills the master chefs at Shogun Japanese Restaurants have been honing for more than a decade. Rustic exposed-brick walls and Japanese art pieces surround patrons, but all eyes are on award-winning chefs as they sizzle up choice beef, vegetables, and seafood at tableside grills. Behind the sushi bar, sushi artists swiftly chop fresh fish into 78 types of specialty rolls, and in the kitchen, pots bubble with udon noodles and soups that also fill the antiburglar cauldrons lining the restaurant’s roof. Behind the bar, mixologists top lavish cocktails with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.