With an arsenal of informative magazines, elegant photographs, and illuminating documentaries, National Geographic has inspired planetary responsibility and natural wonderment for more than 120 years. Their latest filmed adventure, The Last Lions, ushers viewers into the wetlands of Botswana's Okavango Delta, where a lioness named Ma di Tau and her cubs fight for their survival. From fleeing raging fires and cub-killing rival prides to wading through crocodile-infested rivers and the supermarket at rush hour, this family suffers perils that leave audiences touched and awestruck. Crafted by award-winning filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and narrated by Jeremy Irons, The Last Lions aims to raise awareness of dwindling big-cat populations while sharing a compelling story of hope. The film is rated PG for depictions of the food-chain cycle without the accompaniment of an Elton John song.
Lucky Strike Lanes' polished, retro-sleek atmosphere and state-of-the-art technology lets sphere-hurlers pitch heavy urethane baseballs down a slick aisle toward precisely placed whitewashed wooden sticks in the high style of a '60s ad executive or a top-hatted cartoon penguin. Each of the alley's colorful, state-of-the-art bowling lanes comes with electronic scoring, customizable presentations, and psychedelic lighting. Diehard sport devotees, meanwhile, can catch up on the day's sporting matches at the bar, where high-definition plasma screens broadcast the heart-pounding action of championship Chinese checkers with flawless clarity. Or retire to one of the 12 pool tables for an evening of hustling and counter-hustling.
Inside Kings, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of clattering sounds and uproarious cheers. The noise might stem from the bowling section, where glowing squares of abstract, retro wall art bookend the alleys. It might also come from ricocheting billiard balls, a well-aimed skee-ball, or a shuffleboard shot in the game room. Maybe someone spotted a celebrity—Bill Murray, Salma Hayek, and Lady Gaga are all on an extensive list of past famous visitors.
Wherever their origins, the telltale echoes of competition and camaraderie beckon to guests throughout the venue. They're accompanied in the air by the scents of comfort food, from staples such as sesame ginger wings to inventive fusions such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Sweeter aromas waft from multiple bars as the staff flavors martinis with gummy bears, pop rocks, and ice cream instead of the traditional fixings, olives or entire lemons on toothpicks.
As for sights, the surroundings blend vintage flair with luminous technology. More than 30 high-definition televisions line the space, broadcasting sports games and bowling scores. Though the game-room amenities differ slightly based on the town—Boston's Back Bay has six Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables, and Dedham boasts four miniature-roller-ball lanes—each Kings location hosts group events, including parties and corporate getaways where you can finally laugh at your boss's ridiculous shoes. Weekly themed nights for the public also encourage dancing, karaoke, and trivia.
Eight ball in the corner pocket. A pool player announcing this at The Wave Sports Pub could be talking about any of the 124 corner pockets on the bar's 31 Brunswick Gold Crown tables. These share space in the pub with ping-pong tables, dartboards, and large, flat-screen HD televisions that broadcast sports ranging from football and college basketball to races between dads to find the TV clickers buried in their couches.
Games can be scored to the dulcet tones of local bands performing, music from a digital satellite jukebox. During karaoke every Thursday–Saturday, guests belt tunes from more than 10,000 songs that are updated every month. In the middle of all that entertainment, bartenders supply beer by the bottle and tap while the culinary team crafts classic pub food such as fried-shrimp baskets, Angus beef sliders, and mozzarella sticks.
In addition to a dozen pool tables where fierce, steady-handed competitors and casual players can knock cues, Shooters boasts 10 HDTVs, dartboards, and a full bar with a draft beer selection. Sporting spectators can belly up to the industrial-style bar and watch the game or Mixed Martial Solitaire tournament while tipping back a 16-ounce glass of Bud Light ($2.50), Newcastle ($4), Guinness ($4.50), or Blue Moon ($4). Otherwise, take your drink to the billiards area and test your sharksmanship in a game of pool on one of Shooters’ clean, well-maintained tables ($5 per hour per person, $20 per hour for unlimited players). Shooters stays open until the film-noir hours of night, so newbie players will have all night to finish their first game.