Each of the The Playwright Irish Pub’s three locations—two in Florida and one in Connecticut—embodies a warm atmosphere complemented by an Irish-inspired menu of food and drinks. Servers present tables and booths with bangers 'n' mash platters, 8-ounce burgers, or other hearty pub eats while bartenders pour steins of beer. The pub's two Florida locations feature expansive murals painted by Irish craftsmen to depict the glory of old-country Dublin and New Dublin on Mars.
DJs send heavy beats blasting through the darkened interior of Automatic Slim's sexy rock 'n' roll establishment, where waitresses in risqué garb keep drinks flowing until 5 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Neon lights set the bar aglow as patrons indulge in a wide selection of beer and cocktails, give the dance pole a workout, or claim a VIP table to discuss political science with their crew of new friends. Hosting theme nights and specials throughout the week, the bar promotes nights of revelry not seen since Bacchus's parents left the party meadow unlocked.
A man seizes a bottle of liquor by its neck, lifts it off its grooved feet, and hurls it into the air. Eyes forward, he catches it behind his back with his left hand as his right pours the first ingredient in a mixed drink. Off The Hookah's flair bartenders juggle flaming concoctions and fix classic cocktails inside a 14,000-square-foot restaurant with Moroccan décor and cushy beds and couches. After high-fiving the two pharaoh statues stationed by the door, guests can dig into tapas, sushi, and artfully arranged Mediterranean cuisine. Outdoor seating wraps around the entire main hall, providing plush couches from which to exhale hookah fumes and watch mariners tying up their boats or saddling their sharks at the marina. On the weekends, DJs spin Mediterranean, Latin, and American records, while belly dancers undulate around indoor and outdoor areas.
The breadth of the Atlantic Ocean doesn't impact the reach of Alfredo Patino. As the chef and owner of Bin No. 18, the Miami-based chef draws inspiration from the casual cuisine of European bistros while using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and contemporary technique to lend a bit of New World flair to the ever-changing menus. French, Italian, and Latin American flavors appear throughout Chef Patino's cuisine, adding a global scope to the regionally rooted dishes.
Shareable platters of imported European cheeses and cured meats are served alongside Latin staples, including octopus salad, as well as classic Italian entrees made with homemade pastas. But recreating time-honored classics isn't the only thing that Chef Patino does. He also demonstrates a willingness to experiment by fusing New and Old World influences. This culinary whimsy is evident in the kitchen's modern interpretation of a Cuban sandwich—complete with slow-roasted pork, brie, and fig sauce—which earned a spot on Food & Wine magazine's list of the Best Sandwiches in the U.S.
And much like the European bistros that originally inspired Chef Patino, Bin No. 18 features an extensive wine list. Like his menu, the wine list takes a global approach by including bottles from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, and Austria, as well as Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Washington State, California, and Oregon. This variety of options ensures that numerous pairing options are available for diners looking to enjoy a glass with their meal or collection of small plates. CBS Miami was also impressed by the selection, placing Bin No. 18 on its 2011 list of the Best Wine Bars In South Florida.
The Old World inspiration shines through a bit more clearly in the restaurant's décor, which skews more toward a rustic, yet refined ambiance as opposed to a nouveau vibe. Wooden wine barrels sit beside tables with avocado-green chairs, occasionally doubling as small side tables. At the same time, the collection of crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling adds a bit of classical elegance to the space.
The bar looks like a beer-lover's rainbow, a row of draft handles representing more than 30 brews. While bartenders fill pints and 7-ounce flight glasses, flat-screen televisions air major-league sports from around the world, from football to international soccer to pay-per-view UFC bouts. These surroundings make the bar and grill the kind of place where fans can spend an entire day catching games while enjoying drinks and a menu of pub fare. Valet parking lends the sports-focused eatery a luxurious aspect only seen in the sports world when the Marlins wear tuxedos instead of their baseball uniforms. In addition to sports, Hoops attracts guests with special events such as Singles Mingles and karaoke.