The buttery smell of freshly popped corn, the waves of excited whispers, and the dimming of the lights blend into a sensory symphony of anticipation before each film at Lakeshore Cinemas. Then the darkness settles and the screen lights up in silver, bathing awestruck audiences in the 2-D and 3-D sights of first-run blockbusters whose actors have just been taken out of their packaging. Yet despite its lengthy roster of recently released flicks, Lakeshore still embraces old favourites. Occasionally the screens pay homage to the history of film by showing classics. The theatre also steps up its celebratory power for birthday bashes that dish up pizza in a party room or entice gamers with Xbox game play on an auditorium’s massive screen.
Gilligan's serves up more than 20 varieties of gourmet hamburgers made fresh daily with local ingredients free of artificial preservatives and fillers. The grill's triple-A half-pound, hand-packed beef creations, derived entirely from local producers, include the vaunted fire-grilled original burger, adorned with the house grill sauce ($10+), as well as more exotic offerings such as the Los Cabos burger, which sports zesty salsa, guacamole, a dollop of sour cream, and a lace mantilla ($11+). Burgers fashioned from ground turkey ($10) and buffalo ($12) provide poultry and bison alternatives, and the dry-rub St. Louis side ribs can quell pork-centric cravings and coat palates and fingers in a tangy coat of barbecue sauce ($12/half rack, $18/full). Old-fashioned milkshakes in strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate varieties arrive topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a cherry and deliver moving arguments in favour of lactose tolerance ($5).
To craft their signature paninis, Bar Domani’s chefs layer freshly baked focaccia bread with cuts of chicken, veal, and fresh vegetables, topping everything off with fine cheeses. Outside the kitchen, guests raise glasses of specialty martinis over plates of tiramisu in the intimate dining room.
Martinis and conversation reign at Vermouth, a place that enshrouds imbibers in 1920s-style environs. Friends and clandestine groups of treasure hunters can peruse a menu of creative cocktails and shareable appetizers such as shrimp cocktails and spreadable artichoke dip. Barkeeps blend fresh fruit into seasonal specialty martinis including the raspberry currant, and mixologists shake classic vodka and gin recipes. Foursomes may alternatively toast the completion of their Monopoly game by pouring from a shared pitcher of sangria. The establishment's interior mixes vintage and contemporary decor, inviting patrons to linger near the fireplace or lounge on plush couches.
The Pour House Pub, an upscale gastropub, serves a menu full of foodie-pleasing pub favourites alongside draft beers, local wines, cocktails, and Scotches. Like a monocle-wearing robot, dinner melds classic fare with a modern touch, as evidenced by the goat-cheese topped gourmet potato skins ($7.95), sturdy steak sandwich ($9.95), and radiant veggie panini ($7.95). The slab of ribs ($9.95 for half, $17.95 for full) leads the hearty entree parade, and a panoply of pastas ($10.95–13.95) bring up the rear in grand Apennine style. The pub’s nimble-fingered tapsters ensure a phrenologically sound head on a pint of Labatt Blue, Stella Artois, Sapporo, and other draughts, and fanciful cocktails, such as a Professor Plum or a Red Lotus (both $6.95) illustrate their alchemic abilities. Exposed brick walls, ductwork, and Tudor-esque wooden beams conspire with stained glass accents and low lighting to keep diners as cozy in their seats as dinner is cozy in their stomachs.