At Bar Majestic, live music can often be heard bouncing off the backdrop of darkly lit wood, shimmery walls, and wine racks so well stocked the place resembles a chateau wine cellar in the heart of Spain's countryside. Small, sharable portions of fresh tapas dance across tables and decorate the menu. Nibble decadent meats and cheeses, or bite bruschette such as spinach pesto, prosciutto, or mushroom tapenade ($3 each, $7 for three, $12 for five). Piping hot paninis pummel stubborn stomachs with comestibles including turkey breast, brie, romaine, and aioli ($8) or eggplant, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic ($9).
Don’t let the shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, and draft beers fool you. Though Tilted Kilt snatches up the best cultural fragments of Scotland, England, and the Emerald Isle, the eatery started in Las Vegas. Restaurateur Mark DiMartino sought to combine the communal, rousing feel of pubs in the British Isles with the campy fun of American sports bars, pairing hearty food and traditional trappings with televisions and waitresses clad in mini kilts and alluring plaid halter-tops modeled after William Wallace’s eveningwear.
Since its founding, Tilted Kilt locations have popped up in 25 states and two Canadian provinces, serving all manner of hybrid dishes such as the Scottish cheese steak, the Sloppy Jane made with sliced turkey or shaved rib eye, and the Tilted Guilt, an ice-cream sundae perched atop a cookie.
Conceived by Las Vegas restaurateur Mark DiMartino, Tilted Kilt evokes Ireland by way of Vegas, with waitresses dressed in plaid mini kilts shouldering trays of chilled beer and pub fare. Like an enchilada stuffed with four-leaf clovers, the eatery’s Irish nachos interpret a south-of-the-border classic in a Celtic way, slathering potato chips in cheese sauce and seasoned ground beef; alternatively, pot roast and vegetables simmer traditionally in the Olde Dublin Irish stew’s Guinness-infused beef stock. Barkeeps pour a full bar’s worth of wine, cocktails, and beer, which surfaces in bottles, bombers, and multi-brew mixes such as the Blue Moon and Guinness combination. High-definition TVs glow with a ceaseless parade of professional and college baseball, basketball, and hockey, and live bands add to the entertainment smorgasbord on Friday and Saturday nights.
The cooks at 1Republik plate a menu of upscale New American pub fare as bartenders decant more than 40 brews on tap. Starters such as the truffle oil-laced tater tots or the grilled prawns warm up out-of-practice dining teams, readying dormant tongues for entrees such as the seared sea salmon or the potato-flanked strip steak. Chicken pot pie layers root vegetables and chicken velouté into a flaky puff pastry, providing a savory alternative to standard Americana pies filled with apples or bits of the Patriot Act. Duos and foursomes are also entitled to a round of draft beers or house wines.
Wicked Wolf Tavern celebrates the relationship between food and drink by combining frosty brews with hearty pub-style fare, a pairing as American as the eatery's old-fashioned wooden accents and its view of the New York skyline and waterfront. Buffalo calamari and plates of nachos precede fish 'n' chips and burgers bedecked with fried eggs and jalapeños, which diners enjoy while basking in the glow of flat-screen TVs or guarding the wooden bar from packs of wild beers. Each week, Wicked Wolf Tavern lets loose the call of an oversize conch shell to summon live bands onto its stage. In addition to music, the bar also hosts events and specials Sunday–Friday.
The rear of Tribeca Tap House's bar looks like it's survived since colonial times, with thick planks of aged wood sunk into the brick wall. The bar itself stands in contrast, sporting a clean, modern design that includes tap handles mounted on polished metal. It's a fitting image for a restaurant that sticks to the basics of a neighborhood watering hole—namely cold drafts and hot food—and then elevates them with a heavy selection of craft beers and New American gastropub dishes.
The all-day menu tempts patrons with specialties such as crispy shrimp ‘n’ chips and the Tap House burger, a ground-in-house blend of sirloin, chuck, and brisket. The chefs' sandwiching skills continue to shine in more complex assemblages as well, such as the short-rib grilled cheese, which enfolds wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, and chipotle gouda on texas toast. And no pub meal is complete without a fried appetizer, of which Tribeca Tap House has many, including cornmeal-crusted pickle chips—frickles—accompanied by ranch sauce. Bartenders pour more than 20 draft beers at any time, keeping guests cool and calm as they watch sports games on one of many flat-screen televisions. The surrounding decor is heavy on rustic wood and brick, although works from local artists interject the handsome earth tones with pops of color.