Pouring beer is an art form: glasses need to be titled just so or they’ll fill with foam. Fortunately, it’s a skill that’s easy to learn, especially at Tap House, where brews gush forth from 94 taps. Bartenders decant 60 beers in the main room and pour from 12 taps in the downstairs area. Alternatively, patrons who wish to take a hands-on approach can fill their own glasses at a beer wall with 12 self-pouring taps and at a self-serve 10-tap system on the outdoor patio.
Served at a frosty 29 degrees, beers—from light ales to double IPAs—can complement Tap House’s upscale bar food. As tap masters fill pints, cooks in the kitchen top locally farmed Angus burgers with ingredients such as shredded pork and A1 sauce. They also coat swordfish steaks in garlic lemon butter and flavor ribs with house dry rub and BBQ sauce marinated in citrus wheat beer.
These meals unfold in Tap House's elevated dining room, where more than 50 televisions always stay tuned to the night's biggest sports games, never to the night’s biggest mathematical lectures. Bands and DJs take to the main floor's stage on weekends, when the restaurant also hosts Sunday brunches with bottomless champagne and Budweiser.
Baci Restaurant boasts a diverse, international wine list and a menu teeming with authentic Italian entrees. Savor the creamy finish of risotto alla genovese, where sausage, asparagus, and homemade pesto frolic with italian arborio rice ($19.95). Fresh pasta disobeys lifeguarding advice by stuffing itself with cheese, ham, and mushrooms before swimming in a light cream sauce in the tortellini alla emiliana ($15.95), and the linguine zio alfredo provides lost lobster chunks with a new home composed of spicy tomato sauce, wine, and linguine ($22.95). Gather supertasting superpowers and host a deliciousness summit over the vitello al toscana, veal scaloppini accompanied by parma ham, peas, mushrooms, and a pink brandy-singed sauce ($18.95).
Lamppost Pizza understands its target audience. The pizzeria’s tagline, "for those with a taste for great pizza and sports,” beckons to an easy-going crowd, and then the chefs follow through by serving up creative pies with toppings such as jalapeño, pepperoni, avocado, and fresh garlic as diners watch the game. Specialty pizzas include the four-meat, four-veggie The Whole Nine Yards, as well as the artichoke-spangled Pesto Supreme. Sandwiches are served hot or cold, and the appetizer menu includes more wings than the vision board of a penguin.
Numero Uno's menu stomps out stomach-dwelling grumbles with a mélange of pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Specialty pizzas such as the Slaughterhouse 5, packed with mozzarella, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers ($5.95–$16.95), showcase enough sliceable sustenance to feed a group of friends or one knowledge-starved librarian. Patrons can customize their own pies ($4.25+) by loading a Chicago-style pan crust or New York-style thin crust with a choice of more than 20 toppings including fresh basil, roasted red peppers, and Canadian-style bacon. Numero Uno also shakes palates from their stupor with classic Italian fare such as a lasagna made using a recipe from 1973 ($9.95) and a house-made meatball sub ($6.95) made by cooks that have met 38-year-olds.
When the chefs at Italian Cravings Irvine created their menu of Italian favorites, they decided not to be too fastidious with their recipes. So in addition to their traditional Italian recipes, they also created fusion dishes using the flavors and ingredients of other cuisines. Plates of tender veal in a marsala wine sauce sit next to the chicken tequila?a bed of fettuccine topped with chicken, bell peppers, and cilantro, all drizzled in a tequila lime sauce. Alongside the Italian entrees, chef also toss pizzas with traditional and unusual ingredients, from pepperoni to barbecue chicken. They pair all of this with tall glasses of beer or wine, which help ensure that meals are long, jovial affairs?like marathons emceed by a standup comic.
Situated in the heart of Old World Village, The Grubb Haus treats persnickety taste buds to a host of creatively styled comfort fare and decadent fried desserts. A spread of sandwiches and platters fills the lunch menu, abating midday cravings with a salisbury steak sandwich guarded by a moat of mashed potatoes and gravy ($10.95) or the Hillbilly burger, a half-pound patty battered, deep-fried, and buried beneath corn, bacon, and american cheese ($9.95 for lunch; $10.99 for dinner). International influences run wild throughout the dinner menu, with orders of pumpkin-filled ravioli with chicken ($15.99) entertaining taste buds alongside penne pollo porcini ($16.50) and goulash with German dumplings ($11.99). The Grubb Haus also offers diners sweet meal-making denouements via indulgent, deep-fried treats ($2.49–$4.99), including Twinkies and Oreos, which they can devour or smugly savor in front of salivating passersby on a pet-friendly outdoor patio.