Steps away from the University of Delaware campus, 16 Mile Taphouse sources its frosty, barley-based nectars from the 16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown. Gourmet tavern grub pairs with the popular local brews, such as the Old Court Ale, full of citrusy zing and hints of caramel, or limited-edition batches such as the English Heraldry Series, flavored with notes of foggy weather and a respect for monarchy.
Diners sip wine and ale under lofty ceilings in the tiered dining space, surrounded by rugged brick walls and antique maps. These nostalgic touches pay tribute to the restaurant site's 255-year history; formerly known as The Stone Balloon, this locale was once home to colonial bureaucrats, a world-class 19th-century hotel and restaurant, a dingy 20th-century flophouse, and a 1970s rock ‘n’ roll joint that drew the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Pat Benatar, and Metallica.
Though 200 domestic bottles, craft beers, and imports reside on the drink menu at Hop Heads Ale House, the bar’s draft selections are some of its most popular brews. With a rotating selection of kegs on 11 taps, servers encourage guests sample bright and foamy brews culled mostly from small-batch breweries. To accentuate the flavors of each pint, the kitchen crew at Hop Heads crafts pub specialties such as rib-eye-cheesesteak sandwiches and chicken wings smothered in one of eight sauces. Wraps come stuffed with the likes of seared ahi tuna or veggies, and fresh soups are tapped fresh from local soup trees. The bar also runs a daily happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day, in addition to nightly specials and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Benchwarmers Pub bustles with the raucous cheers from Ravens fans watching the game on wall-mounted TVs intermingled with clinking pint glasses and ambient tunes from the Megatouch jukebox. Here patrons gather to throw back brews while snacking from a menu of classic pub food. The cooks whip up baskets of crispy fried pickles and wings smothered in fixings ranging from mild honey-barbecue to spicy 3-Mile Island sauce. Heartier fare includes half-pound cheeseburgers, quarter-pound Nathan's hot dogs, and barbecue pulled pork piled on pretzel rolls.
When they're not glued to the TV or filling their bellies, patrons can challenge one another to a friendly game of pool. Benchwarmers Pub also plays host to live DJ sets and weekly karaoke sessions, during which patrons can show support for their favorite team by belting out every song on the Rudy soundtrack.
Ribs, burgers, and beers sate appetites at Memphis Belle Saloon, but the saloon's crowded calendar and collection of games draw as many visitors as its kitchen does. As draft handles bow to fill glasses with Guinness and Sam Adams, groups gather for mixology classes or Monday-night poker tournaments. Dart leagues and skee ball leagues meet Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Trivia occupies four hours on Fridays, while teachers enjoy free access to a buffet and stacks of all-they-can-grade Scantrons. Thursdays host programs such as bourbon tastings and wine dinners the educate palates on fine flavors.
Thurston's Pub's burgers and sandwiches owe their distinctive flavors to the restaurant's housemade sauces. Without the spicy chipotle dressing that blankets the baja burger or the barbecue sauce that drenches the wings, guests might pay far more attention to the dartboards and flat-screen televisions that line the pub's walls. The reality is that sometimes they must pry their eyes away from their plates if they hope to pay attention to the live sports broadcasts or the waiters politely reminding them to eat their Guinness stews with forks.