At Quench, owner Michael Holstein and barman Matt Allred aim to live up to the hype stemming from the Favorite New Restaurant award they earned from the Restaurant Association of Maryland. They, along with their team of chefs, go beyond simply making food and mixing drinks—they prepare artful dinner specialties and unique, out-of-the-box cocktails. Though their meal creations arise out of seemingly simple ingredients—local produce, house-ground meats—the team crafts wildly creative send-ups of typical pub fare in addition to traditional comfort foods. Baby back ribs are braised for days in homemade cherry cola, and Natty Boh beer cheese, local crab, and nacho cheese chips add local flavor to mac 'n' cheese. Quench also plates healthy fare such as herb-roasted chickpeas and edamame hummus served with local cucumbers and apples, all complemented by inventive cocktails, and the seasonal dessert menu includes house-made donuts and gluten-free flourless chocolate cake. The drinks, with clever names such as Sex in the Burbs and Django Juice, draw on a palette of blood-orange juice, house-made foams, and uniquely infused spirits. Mixology classes prepare students to delight party guests, and Quench also hosts events such as Saturday and Sunday brunches scored by live music, and weekday lunches that feature 10 dishes priced at $10.
The owners of First Break Sports Bar & Grill turned a tragic fire into an opportunity. After the loss, they took time to update the space beyond its original condition, and today gleaming granite tops the bar and hardwood floors shine throughout. A typical night sees the latest sports events flickering on 25 HDTVs, while smokers retire to a separate lounge where they can throw darts through the smoke rings they blow. Players send billiard balls cracking at 9-foot Diamond Pro-Am tables, and on Wednesday nights, participants count their chips during Texas Hold 'Em tournaments. But whether they're spectating or playing, diners can fuel up with selections from the bar's menu with sandwiches, wraps, and pasta until 2 a.m.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
At the The Royal Mile Pub, servers and regulars alike greet guests with a hearty "Cead mile failte!" It's Gaelic for "a hundred thousand welcomes," and the sentiment permeates every brew, stew, and show. Juxtaposing the local with the far-flung, Royal Mile cultivates a communal mood while maintaining a Scottish identity. To wit, the menu spotlights haggis, Orkney Scotch eggs, and traditional British-style breakfasts.
Spotlighting Scotland is a trend that also permeates the eatery's decor. Colorful tartans hang from the rafters, some of which match the kilts of live performers. The pub even takes its name from the region: Between Scotland's Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse, there's a 1-mile series of streets traditionally traveled by Scottish royalty. The Royal Mile Pub is named for this thoroughfare, and its staff has welcomed its guests as it would kings and queens since it opened in 1981.
While technically and metaphorically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Casual dining is elevated by meticulously designed restaurants that pepper a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.
Traditional pubs served as community hubs, places to see neighborhood folks and combine the flow of information with the flow of taps. Finnegan's Irish Pub aims to recreate that same setting for a modern audience, serving friendly sandwiches, burgers, and Irish entrees with plenty of beer.
Rather than depending on word of mouth for their stream of news, the pub's staff instead bedecks the dining room with flat-screen televisions and projectors. Outside, a television screens bathe the patio in its technicolor light. And some of the indoor booths come with their very own TVs, ideal for quietly feeding your curling addiction while pretending to care about football.