Though 200 domestic bottles, craft beers, and imports reside on the drink menu at Hop Heads Ale House, the bar’s draft selections are some of its most popular brews. With a rotating selection of kegs on 11 taps, servers encourage guests sample bright and foamy brews culled mostly from small-batch breweries. To accentuate the flavors of each pint, the kitchen crew at Hop Heads crafts pub specialties such as rib-eye-cheesesteak sandwiches and chicken wings smothered in one of eight sauces. Wraps come stuffed with the likes of seared ahi tuna or veggies, and fresh soups are tapped fresh from local soup trees. The bar also runs a daily happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day, in addition to nightly specials and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Benchwarmers Pub bustles with the raucous cheers from Ravens fans watching the game on wall-mounted TVs intermingled with clinking pint glasses and ambient tunes from the Megatouch jukebox. Here patrons gather to throw back brews while snacking from a menu of classic pub food. The cooks whip up baskets of crispy fried pickles and wings smothered in fixings ranging from mild honey-barbecue to spicy 3-Mile Island sauce. Heartier fare includes half-pound cheeseburgers, quarter-pound Nathan's hot dogs, and barbecue pulled pork piled on pretzel rolls.
When they're not glued to the TV or filling their bellies, patrons can challenge one another to a friendly game of pool. Benchwarmers Pub also plays host to live DJ sets and weekly karaoke sessions, during which patrons can show support for their favorite team by belting out every song on the Rudy soundtrack.
Ribs, burgers, and beers sate appetites at Memphis Belle Saloon, but the saloon's crowded calendar and collection of games draw as many visitors as its kitchen does. As draft handles bow to fill glasses with Guinness and Sam Adams, groups gather for mixology classes or Monday-night poker tournaments. Dart leagues and skee ball leagues meet Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Trivia occupies four hours on Fridays, while teachers enjoy free access to a buffet and stacks of all-they-can-grade Scantrons. Thursdays host programs such as bourbon tastings and wine dinners the educate palates on fine flavors.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon's Chicago-based piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
Lisa Markiewicz lends more than her zen-like surname to the wine bar and lounge she recently opened in Mount Vernon. Her extensive knowledge of pan-Mediterranean cuisine—including grecian tapas and grecian lamb chops—informs the menu at Waterstone Bar & Grille, and her love of the region’s signature libation shines through in a drink menu that features more than 100 wines sold at retail price.
The restaurant’s chic lounge space, recently opened for lunch in addition to dinner, strikes a balance between Old-World elegance and the hipness of the Mount Vernon neighborhood that surrounds it. Exposed-brick walls give way to plum pastels—a contrast mediated by the gauzy black curtains draped over windows and doorways, and the restaurant's prime location puts theaters such as the Hippodrome, Lyric, and Centerstage within close walking distance.