Big Shots' massive, three-floored space bombards sports fans with walls covered in flat-screen televisions, ensuring they never miss a kick, toss, or posttouchdown pirouette. While patrons soak up multimedia entertainment from every direction, cooks whip up a menu of classic bar grub, such as specialty pizzas and burgers named after NFL teams, including the brown-gravy-drenched Chicago Bear and the cheddar- and bacon-topped Green Bay Packers. At night, the establishment can transform into an all-out dance party led by live bands and DJs.
When Laura Occhipinti founded New Jersey Young Professionals after moving to Somerset County in 2004, she was just hoping to make a friend. In the first year, she made 2,000. Today, the organization boasts more than 4,000 paid members aged 21?39, who get together at their choice of 20?30 events each month. These range from happy hours to wilderness hikes, speed-dating sessions, comedy shows, and wine tastings. Members also get discounts to regularly scheduled multi-group mixers, where they can mingle with hundreds of professionally situated peers, whether looking for a job, a significant other, or a partner for company-mandated rounds of "London Bridge is Falling Down."
Nestled between the Delaware River and the Appalachian foothills, the Delaware River Family Campground provides a scenic gathering place for all kinds of adventures. Campground organizers rent out rafts, canoes, kayaks and tubes in which customers can use to explore the various waterways of the river. They stock an on-site camp store with plenty of supplies to cook meals, make overnight stays more comfortable, or fuel a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Delaware River Family Campground offers a few more entertainments outside the local natural splendor, too. There is a swimming pool and kiddie pool. Basketball and volleyball courts are also on the campground, and a miniature golf course and game room offer a more low-key variety of fun. The grounds even supply visitors with free cable television for those who haven't figured out how to receive television signals directly to their minds.
Lambert Epperly, founder and owner of National Bartenders School, oversees the progress of each of his school's students, and provides individual advice and adjustments from their first class through graduation. His bartending gurus pass on their knowledge and techniques in a custom-designed cocktail-lounge classroom, engaging students in hands-on training behind a 40-foot-long, fully stocked bar. These experienced instructors lead a 40-hour certificate program and other seminars in both English and Spanish, tailoring class times around students' work and crime-fighting schedules. For extended courses, they provide a bartending textbook spanning more than 200 drink formulas and detailing elements of the craft, such as types of glassware and customer-service practices. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Education, the school keeps tuition low and connects its students with free job-placement assistance in local watering holes.
Gold-leaf writing inscribed across the towering red portico at the entrance to The Shannon Rose Irish Pub announces what one might expect to find inside: “Premium Stouts,” “Irish Whiskies,” and other culinary staples of the Emerald Isles. Behind this imposing entryway lies a series of dining rooms that have a markedly different effect; chandeliers create a sense of intimacy as they illuminate Gaelic artwork and aged hardcovers resting on lofty bookshelves.