Pool sharks and bar flies can play out their own personal film noir against the slinky backdrop of Lucky Pocket Billiards. Figures around Russian-imported pool tables chalk their cues while their companions send colorful balls whizzing across the felt to clack into pockets. Against the other wall, the sound of bubbly chatter rises up from groups seated on black-leather couches. Over the bar, Christmas lights twinkle, sending kaleidoscopic colors glinting off pints of Samuel Adams, Budweiser, and AmberBock. A television mounted on the wall broadcasts sporting events or the latest report on the theft of a famous ornithological statue.
Cuenca Cigars houses 80 varieties of factory and hand-rolled cigars within its forest-green and yellow walls, offering single and box smokes, humidors, and parcels of tobacco. On temperate days, rings of flavored smoke drift skyward from Cuenca's outdoor lounge while indoor patrons pick out cigars such as the H-Upmann ($7.35 each) and the Montecristo 75th Anniversary ($18). Accessories such as Craftsman double-blade cigar cutters ($3.50) help smokers to cut cigars down to size without the hassle of using a saber or unconstructive criticism. Enjoy pleasing puffs of session cigars such as the Romeo y Julieta Cedro Deluxe No. 2 (5.70 each), or inhale sips of complimentary cappuccino and espresso in Cuenca’s indoor lounge while checking emails on the complimentary WiFi.
Mickey Byrne's boasts an Irish-style pub menu, combining traditional favorites with more contemporary American fare. Curry fries ($4.50) and crispy calamari served with garlic aioli and Creole mayo ($8.95) encourage tongues to fold in half and enthusiastically clap. Main dishes include traditional tastes such as Flynn's shepherd's pie ($9.95), bangers and mash (a combination of Irish-style sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and onion gravy, $11.95), fish 'n' chips ($12.95), and corned beef and cabbage ($12.95). The menu also features everything from a veggie burger ($8.95) to a traditional Irish breakfast chockfull of black-and-white pudding, two eggs, baked beans, Irish bacon, and banger sausage ($11.95, subject to availability after 3 p.m.).
Voted "Best Bar" in 2011 by the New Times, Whiskey Tango All American Bar & Grill whets appetites with an eclectic menu of dishes inspired by America's culinary topography. Chef Elliott’s spaghetti sandwich gives dizzy forks a whirling respite with its buttery loaf of toasted garlic bread stuffed with juicy chicken, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and cascading ringlets of spaghetti ($8.95). Pursed lips can slurp spoonfuls of Georgia sweet vidalia onion soup, crowded with caramelized slivers of vidalia petals and capped with melted cheddar cheese ($5.95) before bare teeth shred tender morsels off a main course of St. Louis–style ribs ($13.95 for a half rack; $16.95 for a full rack). Like eating steak with chopsticks, the San Diego tuna nachos synthesize distinct food identities by topping fried wanton chips with slices of sushi-grade tuna cooked rare, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger ($13.95).
In a dining room decorated with Egyptian-inspired artwork, visitors to Exotic Bites enjoy a tableau of Mediterranean dishes that range from tender gyros to rich and creamy hummus. Warm pita wraps around sizzling shawarma, lamb kebabs, or kebah, a combination of minced beef, pine nuts, and ground lamb, and stuffed falafels are comprised of a crunchy chickpea patty filled with minced beef, chicken, or sautéed vegetables. The occasional tendrils of hookah smoke spiral into the air, spun from the lips of friends chatting at a table or reclining in a cushioned corner decorated with a vivid wall hanging. More hookah pipes line up against a wall shelf, spaced between the chalkboard menu of daily specials and framed pictures.
Walls painted in sumptuous shades of crimson and mocha and dark wood flooring create a warm space at Oceans 11 Sports Lounge and Grill for diners to enjoy laidback pub dishes. Locals flock in for their wings served 10 flavorful ways, which include three levels of spiciness, a spicy garlic version, and grilled wings. Diners can also draft their own half- or full-pound burger, customized with bacon, mushrooms, or amendments written in jalapeños. The menu also includes fresh bites plucked from the sea, such as crispy buffalo shrimp and battered cod.
Beautiful waitresses clad in plaid mini kilts crisscross Tilted Kilt, hoisting trays of Celtic-themed pub fare as sports fans catch games on high-definition TVs. Almost a decade old, the Tilted Kilt franchise originated in Las Vegas, where restaurateur Mark DiMartino first conceived of a sports bar with Irish touches—an idea that has since spread across the country. Patrons can stay out late at the pub, spending the night sipping on beers while sampling burgers, fish ‘n’ chips, or shepherd’s pie filled with beef and veggies. On a weekly basis, musicians enliven the already party-like atmosphere, strumming tunes or throwing up fistfuls of counterfeit money on the eatery’s patio.