In the center of Minglewood Tavern's acoustic space, a bar constructed from 180-year-old barn siding rises from the ground, with posts made from the dried trunks and branches of trees holding various drink glasses overhead. Bartenders swipe those glasses to fill orders of one of the 20 beers on tap, which rotate monthly, or to mix up one of their signature cocktails. As cold sips of icy drinks chill gullets, hot entrees such as hearth oven–baked pizzas or bacon-wrapped entrees travel from the kitchen to weathered wooden tabletops, arriving just in time to catch the end of a set from one of the live bands that plays Wednesday through Saturday or a rare glimpse at the one band that plays Wednesday through Saturday.
When the stage and mics stand silent, high-definition and projection-screen TVs pick up the slack, beaming sports games across the retrofitted bar. Each weekday night boasts its own food special, such as Monday's all-you-can-eat ribs and Wednesday's all-you-can-eat sushi.
La Trattoria & Pizzeria's dining room reflects its chefs' philosophy on food. The rustic yellow-orange walls, framed paintings, and cozy lighting cultivate a homey atmosphere, setting the stage for their menu of traditional Sicilian comfort food. Their appetizers come as elegantly simple as garlic bread with fresh mozzarella, romano, and spices, or blend a few distinct flavors, as with the grilled scallops wrapped in prosciutto. Entree highlights include the pasta a la trattoria?red sauce blended with pine nuts, raisins, cauliflower, sardines, and wild-mountain fennel?and the Sfincone pizza?a Sicilian-style pizza with sauteed onions, seasoned bread crumbs, and romano cheese?which makes Italian grandmothers all over the world so, so very proud.
The Dog Bar Grill breakwater, which was originally constructed between 1894 and 1905, juts 2,250 feet out into the harbor, creating a safe haven for the community located on the other side, but also creating a dangerous hazard for seafarers hoping to safely navigate the waters. The Gloucester Breakwater Light towers at the end of this reef, historically using its bright red lamp or any glow sticks leftover from the Rave of 1898 to direct vessels away from the dangerously rocky shores.
Dog Bar Grill's owners based the name of their neighborhood grill on this light, honoring the welcome sight of a beacon that safely guided so many sailors back to a warm and familiar home. This homespun charm runs deep at Dog Bar, whose chefs demonstrate their passion for the community by buying as many ingredients as possible from local farmers and fishing boats. Dog Bar even earned a nod from Boston magazine, which named it the 2013 Best Bar in the north.
Surrounded by the Colonial-style windows, exposed brick walls, and rich wooden trim, visitors can indulge in the grill's menu of classic comfort foods that have the occasional twist. Beer-battered fish 'n' chips appear alongside more imaginative dishes, such as vegan tempura-battered buffalo cauliflower. In between bites, patrons have the opportunity to enjoy entertainment, which includes live music throughout the week, as well as spirited karaoke nights and high-stakes staring contests.
Refined whimsy characterizes Ohana’s menu of contemporary fusion cuisine, which Executive Chef Enx Dadulas creates by interweaving Asian spices, French techniques, and Italian seasonings. Dubbed "a modern-day Marco Polo" by Gloucester Times, Chef Dadulas developed his understanding of Pacific flavors while growing up in Hawaii, and then he honed his culinary skills by working in the kitchens of nationally renowned chefs including James Beard Award winner Jean Joho. His inventively seasoned and presented entrees helped Ohana earn Northshore Magazine's award for Best New Restaurant of 2012.
Beginning with locally sourced meats, produce, and seafood, Chef Dadulas calls upon distinctive Asian influences to create modern versions of American and European staples. The chefs mold gnocchi from sweet potatoes, spike butter with dollops of wasabi, and glaze bacon-wrapped duck roulade with fresh-squeezed teriyaki sauce. Even the sushi chefs depart from Japanese tradition by incorporating uncommon ingredients such as cantaloupe and mint into rolls.
A consistent eclectic theme pervades Alchemy Café & Bistro, from the spacious restaurant's mismatched fabrics and assorted furnishings to each of the menus’ diverse selection of contemporary American cuisine. That eclectic culinary motif has served the eatery so well that Northshore Magazine awarded Alchemy the distinction of best tapas in the area. In the kitchen, the chefs are selective about the ingredients they use in each brunch and dinner dish. They meld these hormone- and antibiotic-free meats into entrees such as smoked confit pork belly tacos and scallop fritto misto. Designed for sharing amongst guests, the menu includes flavor-filled half-sized entrées and sharing platters, including one with steamed mussels fennel, white wine, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, house cut frites, and tarragon aioli. Patrons can dine in one Alchemy's many themed rooms, such as "The Cave" and "The Mafia Table."
The upscale casual environment, with colorful painting on exposed brick walls and leather couches surrounding candlelit coffee tables, also sees guests enjoying organic salads and tofu bites, which can be paired with a 2-4 cup pot of French-pressed coffee or one of several options from a locally-produced cocktail list. Alchemy also encourages guests to enjoy an after-dinner drink of bourbon, whiskey, or absinthe, or indulge with a dessert of maple bread pudding and flourless chocolate torte. Alchemy also contains several gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly options.
Though it overlooks Gloucester Harbor, where fishermen haul in the restaurant's supply of fresh fish and lobster, the dining room of Latitude 43 feels like it's underwater. The hull of a 36-foot Coast Guard rescue boat hangs overhead, a 16-foot iron-and-glass octopus sculpture wrought by a local iron artist dangles above the sushi bar, and a harbor mural painted by local artists enlivens the walls. The aromas of coastal cuisine waft through the oceanic interior, signaling the arrival of dishes such as grilled local swordfish, more than 17 sushi rolls, and a host of non-seafood entrees that can be prepared in gluten-free or vegetarians versions.
Because a strong ecosystem produces healthy fish, Latitude 43's restaurateurs do their part to ensure earth's well-being with their green facility. Recycled materials compose the tiles in the kitchen and around the sushi bar, and the deck's sunshades heat the dishwasher's hot water while shading guests from the sun?s deadly laser beams. An oceanfront patio hosts feasts in the summertime, while a fireplace made from locally sourced granite keeps diners cozy in the winter.