When walking into Well-Read Moose's nondescript stone building, customers probably wouldn't expect a seven-foot Cat in the Hat to greet them with a hug. During a story time event in June 2014, though, that's exactly what happened. Interactive events like those are just one way of the many ways books come alive here. Even without large behatted felines, the store engages readers with author-hosted book readings and signings, as well as evening wine tastings. Well-Read Moose also sells coffee and pastries from local bakeries to keep guests fueled as they listen to their favorite writer or peruse the extensive collection, which ranges from children's classics to the latest adult thrillers.
Situated on a bustling corner, Splash beckons passersby inside to watch the game, hit the dance floor, or grab a bite to eat. A self-professed destination for both day and night, Splash's kitchen serves up a menu of bar-friendly appetizers and snacks, such as beer-battered onion rings with ranch for dipping and spinach-artichoke dip served with a toasted baguette. The day-to-day action usually centers around sporting events, which play throughout the bar on 10 high-definition TVs.
The Black Diamond invites patrons to sample one of the 33 beers on tap with 19 rotating handles while sampling food from the upscale alehouse menu. which features classic American food such as 1/3-pound burgers, buffalo wings, and philly cheesesteaks. In addition to the ever-changing selection of craft beers, the alehouse also has a full lineup of signature cocktails. These include cocktails that use fresh-pressed juice, such as the Gin Rickey, which combines Beefeater gin, fresh lime juice, mint, and agave syrup, or the Side Car, which mixes freshly pressed grapefruit juice with Absolut vodka.
Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
If they can't make it to the game, sports fans find The Ref Sports Bar a good substitute for the live action. Flat screens flicker on all four sides of a jumbotron-style feature hanging above the bar. Friends gather around creatively named pizzas, such as the Classic Homerun Margherita and the The Man Cave, with buffalo sauce, crispy chicken, jalapeño bacon, and ranch dressing forming the image of the buttons on a remote control. They can also share a plate of chicken wings doused in various sauces, including six buffalo sauces in varying levels of heat. Ambitious eaters who complete the Unnecessary Roughness Challenge—devouring five total pounds of burger, toppings, and fries—get their meal for free plus a pallet in the corner to sleep off the food coma.
Barbecued meats and frosty brews are the main draw at Hot Rods Bar and BBQ, but you could probably guess that from looking at the name. What you wouldn't know without stopping in for dinner, however, is how much fun can be had when the plates are cleared away. A late-night destination no matter the night, Hot Rods pairs saucy ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches with entertainment options that range from live karaoke to beer-pong tournaments.