The 2010 Delaware Today Best of Delaware Critics Choice Award winner for Best Pub and Tavern Upstate, and the 2009 winner of the Best Late Night Food Award, James Street Tavern offers an affordable menu of cuisine. The spacious and inviting bistro's warm amber lighting, wood tables, and hints of rustic décor give it a friendly neighborhood vibe without the hassle of summoning Cheers cast apparitions. The eclectic menu ups the elegance with dishes like hoisin steak spring roll ($7), crab cake salad ($12), a bison burger ($10), and yellowfin tuna tacos ($8.50). Wash your gourmet grub down with its perfect pairing from the bar's vast selection of beer and wines while attempting to tell the bartender someone else’s life story.
Sikar Lounge of Wilmington invites cigar aficionados and occasional inhalers into its private puffing place, home to an abundance of smokes and accessories from top blenders and brands. Precisely humidified in Sikar's cigar cabinets, an array of sticks wait to be toasted and savored, such as a CAO Gold maduro—an arrangement of Nicaraguan fillers trapped inside a dark Brazilian wrapper—or the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Love Story, which compels partakers to communicate in iambic pentameter for the duration of their smoke. Patrons can sink into the lounge's leather chairs while watching sporting contests on large flat-screen TVs, accessing email through free WiFi, or admiring the craftsmanship of the facility's cherry-oak finishings while the trusty ventilation system ensures an atmosphere unblemished with loitering smoke clouds. With membership, guests receive a month of lounge access and discounts to invitation-only events that occur every four–six weeks during fall and winter.
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.
Within local favorite Matilda's Pub lies mad-macs, a comfort fare haven dedicated to the chefs' gooey mastery of mac 'n' cheese with a family-friendly vibe. Among rich espresso wood fixtures, overstuffed bench seats, and chalkboard walls covered in doodles, mac masters dish out decadent lobster mac with mascarpone cheese, philly cheesesteak mac, and Cajun shrimp and crab mac, among their many rich combinations. Around the eatery, abstract macaroni art tempts hungry eyes while kids are given supplies to craft their own masterpieces or a new set of edible parents before they go up on a special display wall. Behind the bar, bartenders mix adults-only milk shakes, and in the kitchen the chefs plate their culinary works of art as customers order fresh hand-formed burgers, Aussie-style crab cakes, and steaks.