At Sam's Hudson Beach Bar & Restaurant, grill masters serve up a menu of fresh seafood and tasty burgers among tropical adornments and breathtaking sunsets. Starters compose a palatable prelude to beachside meals, with fried green tomatoes ($5.95) basking in the tangy splendor of their unripe youth and plates of lightly breaded gator ($8.95) gripping hunger pangs in their jaws and dragging them into a pool of dipping sauces. Entrees of beer-battered fish and chips tastefully combine libations and edibles ($10.95), and a marinated Island Grilled Chicken Sammy ($8.95) enraptures taste buds with a tropical garnish of pineapple, slaw, black beans, and rice. Meanwhile, beefy fare takes the form of the Paradise burger ($7.95), in which a half-pound of Angus stacks atop garden fixings to fill mouths and create ketchup mustaches.
Though the staff at The Brass Tap take beer very seriously, they've nevertheless turned drinking it into a game. Customers get a single point for each of the pub's 300 craft beers that they try. At certain milestones, they'll receive gift cards or a t-shirt with a new title, all the way from rookie to beer guru—and, if they conquer the challenge three times, they can win the coveted Repeat Offender 900 shirt.
Thankfully, the bar makes it easy to sort through its 300 beers. The menu is divided up into different beer types, which go deeper than the basic delineation of ale vs. lager vs. water that's been dyed amber. Guests can peruse listings of bottled barleywines and porters, or have a resident beer aficionado fill their mug with an imported brew on draft. Beer even permeates the food: the chipotle mustard on the house-baked pretzels is made with pale ale, just as the cheese dip is made with Samuel Adams. All of the burgers, sandwiches, and pretzel pizzas also have recommended drink pairings.
As for entertainment, each Brass Tap books a variety of local bands throughout the week. Trivia, bingo, and happy hours find regular spots on the schedule, and some locations have outdoor patios and cigars for purchase.
Belwood’s Irish Pub has a way of making guests feel lucky. Lucky enough, in some cases, to attempt the pub’s notorious Atomic Wing Challenge, which requires one to polish off a plate of blazingly hot Atomic wings in 10 minutes or less. Such a feat earns its conqueror a $25 paid tab and a photo on the Atomic wall of fame. If the wings prove too daunting, there’s always a menu of burgers, sandwiches, fried appetizers, and salads to appease all types of cravings.
If you’re hunting for gold at Belwood’s, it’s best not to look for the familiar shapes of coins. Check the bar, however, and you’ll find 16 draft beers pouring into frosty pint glasses. These glasses clink together in celebration of a well-thrown dart, a pocketed eight ball, or a touchdown displayed on one of the pub’s television.
During World War I, Greek immigrant Louis Pappas served in the Army as a personal chef to General John Pershing. To give the hungry general some extra nutrition, Louis began adding scoops of potato salad to his traditional greek salads. When Louis returned to the United States, he opened up his own restaurant, Louis Pappas Riverside Café, where he would re-create this signature dish using fresh produce from his own ranch in Tarpon Springs.
Today, Louis Pappas's grandson continues his grandfather's old Florida family tradition at Pappas Ranch. There, he and his kitchen serve up a new menu of fresh seafood, poultry, sandwiches, street tacos, hand-cut steaks, and barbecue dishes whose "family flair" has been lauded by Metromix Tampa Bay. They continue to scoop savory housemade potato salad into their internationally renowned Louis Pappas Famous greek salad, tossing it in massive bowls that serve as many as four diners. Bartenders dole out glasses of locally brewed craft beers and wine or mix cocktails and martinis at the full center bar with flat-screen TVs.
The restaurant's decor channels that of the original Pappas family ranch. In the dining room, spacious booths are surrounded by rustic wooden walls, and outside is a covered outdoor patio.
While House of Brews prides itself on its beer selection, it also features a hearty, upscale food menu. Find yourself appetized after polishing off a plate of drunken cheesy bread topped with tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, and blue-cheese crumbles ($8.99). Move on to a fresh salad ($3.99–$7.99, add chicken for $2) or one of the friendly sandwiches ($4.99–$9.99), such as mom’s homemade chicken salad on multi-grain bread with melty provolone ($8.99). On tap, the House of Brews collection includes familiar domestics such as Miller Lite ($3) and Blue Moon ($5), as well as some more adventurous varieties, such as Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat Ale ($5) and heavier brews including Bell’s Two Hearted Ale ($7). The bottled beer assortment features 50 different domestics, microbrews, and imports, including the mighty 9.5% ABV Victory Golden Monkey ($6.50).