Flat Top Johnny's is a frequent winner of Boston magazine's Best Pool Hall Award for its fleet of 12 tournament-sized tables surrounded by the pitter-patter of pinball machines and dartboards and the foamy lathers of crisp draft beers. The menu of tasty grub includes ciabattas, wraps, sliders, salads, and classic American appetizers. Buffalo tenders come with carrots and celery for blue-cheese dipping ($7), chicken and veggie skewers are glazed in either teriyaki or peanut sauces ($7), and hot pretzels dress themselves in beer mustard or honey mustard ($3). The Greek ciabatta with grilled chicken, feta, roasted red peppers, olives, and olive oil makes a filling hand-steadier for wobbly cues.
Inside Kings, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of clattering sounds and uproarious cheers. The noise might stem from the bowling section, where glowing squares of abstract, retro wall art bookend the alleys. It might also come from ricocheting billiard balls, a well-aimed skee-ball, or a shuffleboard shot in the game room. Maybe someone spotted a celebrity—Bill Murray, Salma Hayek, and Lady Gaga are all on an extensive list of past famous visitors.
Wherever their origins, the telltale echoes of competition and camaraderie beckon to guests throughout the venue. They're accompanied in the air by the scents of comfort food, from staples such as sesame ginger wings to inventive fusions such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Sweeter aromas waft from multiple bars as the staff flavors martinis with gummy bears, pop rocks, and ice cream instead of the traditional fixings, olives or entire lemons on toothpicks.
As for sights, the surroundings blend vintage flair with luminous technology. More than 30 high-definition televisions line the space, broadcasting sports games and bowling scores. The Back Bay location has six Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and hosts group events, including parties and corporate getaways where you can finally laugh at your boss's ridiculous shoes. Weekly themed nights for the public also encourage dancing, karaoke, and trivia.
Tex-Mex culture influences every aspect of Sunset Cantina, from the distinctive Southwestern cuisine to the selection of more than 110 tequilas that helps create classic frozen margaritas—named on Boston magazine's list of 30 Best Cocktails. These icy oases offer tongues much-needed respite after they explore an expansive menu of Mexican comfort food, Texas-style barbecue, grilled new york strip steaks, and other cookout cuisine. Chefs create signature beer-bathed burgers—perhaps their centerpiece—by searing half-pound patties of ground sirloin on a steam grill. These treats as well as 38 beers on tap are available throughout the day and well into the night, as the kitchen stays open and cooking until 1 a.m.
The high-ceilinged dining area combines the scattered booth seating of a roadside diner with the intimate lighting and ambiance of a neighborhood bar. Metal lanterns hang over each table, framed collections of beer-bottle labels decorate the walls, and flat-screen televisions entertain patrons with sports and endless footage of the United States’ secretary of education playing Trivial Pursuit.
Eight ball in the corner pocket. A pool player announcing this at The Wave Sports Pub could be talking about any of the 124 corner pockets on the bar's 31 Brunswick Gold Crown tables. These share space in the pub with ping-pong tables, dartboards, and large, flat-screen HD televisions that broadcast sports ranging from football and college basketball to races between dads to find the TV clickers buried in their couches.
Games can be scored to the dulcet tones of local bands performing, music from a digital satellite jukebox. During karaoke every Thursday–Saturday, guests belt tunes from more than 10,000 songs that are updated every month. In the middle of all that entertainment, bartenders supply beer by the bottle and tap while the culinary team crafts classic pub food such as fried-shrimp baskets, Angus beef sliders, and mozzarella sticks.