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.
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.
With six handcrafted beers on tap and a full menu of delicious pub provisions, J.J. Bitting Brewing Company enrobes taste buds in warm, comfortable flavors. The Blazing Brewhouse wings ($5.95) perk up palates with a tangy zest that earned them the title of Best Hot Wings in Woodbridge by BestHotWings.com. Wrangle the Colorado burger's bison patty into hungry mouths aided by sautéed onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried-tomato pesto mayo ($7.95), or follow the delicate salmon steak's incredible journey through pan-searing and potato-breading before rousing it from snug beds of rice and fresh veggies ($15.95). Like the cool table in a high-school cafeteria, Bitting's homegrown pints ($4.50 each) stay popular with or without delicious food. The Garden State IPA balances appealing bitterness with a floral aroma, and the heavily roasted Black Jack Stout swoops up from cellars to slake any thirst in the house.
Woodbridge Bowling offers 10-pin titans all the round balls, smooth lanes, and nonscuff shoes necessary to smash pins to their hearts' content. Upon arrival, feet can slip into semiformal bowling greaves available in a variety of sizes, with optional cuirass and longsword, before venturing onto 1 of up to 24 lanes open every day of the week. Woodbridge Bowling can accommodate dozens of players at a time, so a party of up to six can pit father against son, friend against friend, and rounded sphere against its mortal pin enemy. Woodbridge Bowling’s kitted out snack bar refuels throwing arms, while its cocktail lounge offers liquid courage to patrons working up the nerve to bowl with their eyes open.