The world’s a different place than it was in 1962, when the Beatles were kings, JFK was president, and the internet sounded like the name of some kind of obscure tennis equipment. However, despite a half-century of changes, at least one thing remains consistent: when they want a darn good burger, people still come to the Keg South. The sound of familiar greetings echoes against the wood-paneled walls of the 50-year-old establishment, mingling with the clatter of billiard balls and clink of frosted mugs. Neon beer signs and flat-screen televisions cast a colorful glow on the regular clientele, who munch thick beef burgers, freshly cut fries, and grilled wings. Throughout the year, the pub staff holds special events out in the parking lot, including a Christmas pig roast that was called out in the Miami Herald.
Splitsville explores contemporary consumption within a bowling framework, combining swankiness with three bars, and a full-service restaurant. Splitsville’s menu, developed under the guidance of one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs of 2008 Tim Cushman, stacks up and knocks down a cadre of ville plates ($5–$14) including spicy edamame and three-pepper calamari, stomach-stuffing signature plates ($14–$19) including the mahi mahi with voodoo shrimp and filet mignon, and big bowl drinks ($21) including the rum bowl and voodoo juice bowl. Diners sprinkle the restaurant with chatter as they dive into their choice of sauced steaks, generous pizzas, and rolls from the on-site sushi bar to the musical vibrations blowing from the speakers. After 8 p.m., all diners younger than 21 turn into pumpkin-shaped bowling balls and the fine hobby-sport decorum requests an evening-casual dress code as the crowd usurps the restaurant’s reins for nocturnal nourishment with energetic music.
At Ace Bartending's 40-foot bar, ice clinks against glasses and prospective mixologists chatter during hands-on courses. Instructors wax informational about the history and production of liquor before outlining state and municipal legal requirements for serving alcohol or distributing liquor to horses. As students progress, they migrate to eight functional bartending stations that feature working carbon dioxide lines, and lessons feed hungry brains tidbits of information on the use of glassware and garnishes to craft a beverage with fitting aesthetic appeal. The curriculum bounds across a bubbling, colorful rainbow of 200 different drinks and recipes.
In addition to hands-on demonstrations and role-playing exercises, courses hand down lessons on how to land a job as a bartender and give tips for job interviews. The classroom's walls, like those of a real bar, are crowded with colorful bottles, lit by crackling neon beer signs, and held together by flyers for bands seeking bassists.
Though it’s a national brand with locations sprinkled across 14 states, Chevys Fresh Mex doesn’t succumb to shortcuts at any of its restaurants. The expert chefs at each eatery gather together fresh ingredients to prepare the entire menu from scratch, whether they’re infusing chicken enchiladas with chipotles or simmering fragrant cauldrons of their homemade tortilla soup. Even though this hands-on approach harkens back to the foundations of Mexican culinary traditions, chefs also give each dish a contemporary twist—tacos meet flavorful drizzles of chipotle aioli, slow-roasted carnitas mingle with fresh oranges and lemons alongside fajita platters. Meanwhile, bartenders engage in serious agave innovation with top-shelf margaritas in flavors such as prickly pear and spicy mango.
Maison Gourmet's culinary artists channel French cooking techniques to craft cuisine cataloged on an extensive menu. Saturday and Sunday brunch rewards early-rising appetites with delectables such as Maison's omelet stuffed with ham, mushrooms, and swiss cheese ($7). Limber chomping muscles with sweet and savory crêpes, or munch on meal-prefacing portions of ham and cheese croissants ($3.95). A glass of Cotes de Rhone red wine from France pairs well with escargots en persillade ($10.95)—snails under a blanket of garlic-parsley sauce—and hearty helpings of beef bourguignon ($15.95) erase hunger pangs faster than the speed of light: 28 mph. Postmeal cool downs begin with crème brûlée, rich custard cream cloaked in a layer of crispy, warm caramel that sneaks into mouths to goose unsuspecting sweet teeth ($6.95).