A wall of glass flanks one side of the dining room at Hokkaido Restaurant, starting at the floor and stretching up to include a slanted portion of the ceiling. Punctuated only by wooden beams, this wall of windows floods the entire restaurant with sunlight, keeps out sushi-stealing birds, and offers a view of leafy, green trees. The sunlight slides across the bar's glossy, marble top, speckles a wall of leafy bamboo, and, most importantly, illuminates colorful plates of Japanese, Thai, and Chinese cuisine. Under photo murals of serene Asian landscapes, diners can dig into dishes ranging from pad thai and curry to orange chicken and specialty sushi rolls. Add in the karaoke that animates restaurant-goers on weekends, and the result is a vibrant environment equally suited to intimate dinners and convivial gatherings.
The chefs at Essex Street Grille fill their menu with dishes ranging from fish to tempura shrimp and Jamaican pork tenderloin. They place these delectables on white plates and send them out into a dining room. Bartenders add to the scene by mixing dessert martinis with Godiva chocolate liqueur and Bailey's Irish cream. On Friday nights, a DJ blends tunes by diverse artists such as the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, and a family of whales.
Crow's Nest Pub and Grill keeps sports fanatics fed with a combination of burgers, pizzas, and sports action beamed to 10 HDTVs. The owners have a particular affection for pool: their lounge area boasts two tables, in addition to an entirely separate pool hall, which features 12 regulation-size billiards tables and a pro shop with plenty of gear. Fuel bank shots and quick-as-a-flash chalking with appetizers such as potato skins and chicken fingers, building up to satisfying sandwiches and entrees such as fish 'n' chips and chicken parmesan.
Part Mexican cantina, part Irish pub, and all cop, Garcia Brogan's blends disparate cultures in both its menu and its decor, which features murals and folk art from Mexico and Ireland. Whether guests want a glass of Irish whiskey or a fine tequila, Garcia Brogan's bartenders keep the drinks flowing, pouring a river of alcohol in which tacos and shepherd's pie bob appetizingly. The restaurant hosts pub trivia nights and live Irish music on the weekends.
Cuisine Type: Pub food [made from] family recipes.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Wings and burgers
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery / Take-out Available: Takeout Only
Pro Tip: The hamburger dip (or just "dip") and wings are must haves. Homeade soups daily!
After retiring, Sue and Jim Bonomo decided to relax in a slightly less traditional way: they opened a restaurant. J. Michael's Family Sports Pub helps keep the Bonomos active within the community as they provide an inviting place where patrons of all ages can enjoy a night away from home. More than 20 HD flat screen televisions and a kaleidoscopic array of sports memorabilia adorn the walls, showcasing the pub's unwavering dedication to local sports. Additionally, the eatery features an upstairs room filled with arcade games and pinball machines for patrons looking to test their hand-eye coordination or telekinesis skills.
Although unwinding with a cold beer while watching a game is a perfectly fine way to pace an afternoon or evening, J. Michael's Family Sports Pub also tempts patrons with a menu of hearty finger foods and casual American grill fare. The cooks top Angus burgers with everything from grilled mushrooms and sauteed onions to crispy bacon and melted cheddar, and they glaze steaming-hot jumbo wings in a secret sauce that took one of the owners, Jonathan, four months of experimenting to perfect. For the younger guests, the menu even features eight kids' meals, each of which includes a cup of ice cream for dessert.
Sports, Steaks & Spirits combines the television-studded walls of a sports bar with the hearty comfort food of a neighborhood pub. Menu items include baby back ribs and half-pound burgers, as well as more internationally inspired dishes, such as tempura-fried shrimp with coconut breading. Cooks can also top hand-stretched, thin-crust pizzas with a combination of 17 available toppings, including basil, sausage, and red onion.
Although its menu might distinguish Sports, Steaks & Spirits from other bars, guests are also welcome to just knock back a beer while watching Boston sports teams compete for control of the world’s supply of silver-plated trophies. Sixty plasma televisions line the bar’s walls, and all booths boast their own small screen, which may have prompted Patch to describe the spot as “a veritable North Reading sports haven.” Even the color scheme evokes the feel of well-trodden sports turf, surrounding visitors with yellow-green walls and pool tables lined with emerald-green felt.