Fresh fish and hearty comfort food: these are the specialties at Finn McCool's Fish House. The chefs make the just-netted seafood the star on each plate, simply grilling, broiling, or pan-searing rainbow trout and flounder, and stocking a raw bar with clams, oysters, crab legs, and mussels. But land-locked southern flavors are also well represented. House-smoked meats?including turkey and Carolina-style pork?fill hearty sandwiches, while still other dishes offer the warming tastes of shrimp and cheesy grits and hush puppies with honey butter.
Just like its menu, the decor at Finn McCool's artfully blends the nautical and the homey. Model fish and photographs of seafaring vessels adorn the cream-colored walls, and flatscreen televisions stream surfing footage and knot-tying tutorials.
Major league sports play out on 19 televisions as RJ’s slings a menu of hearty pub fare. The sound of billiard balls clacking on seven green-felt pool tables harmonizes with the crunch of the Mile High nachos buried beneath a mountain of cheese, pico de gallo, and a choice of beer-braised pot roast or salsa chicken ($9.99). Crab-cake sliders come with a smattering of fresh tartar sauce ($8.99), and a selection of full-size burgers ($7.99) sates more robust appetites with options such as a loaded cheeseburger stuffed with american cheese or the Diablo burger, which enflames taste buds with jalapeños, cayenne pepper, spicy ranch, and zero remorse. Imbued with a flavorful medley of beer, vegetables, and beef stock, RJ’s beer-braised pot roast pairs up with garlic bread as an entree ($8.99) or mingles with fresh tomatoes, spanish spices, and chili sauce in the full-bodied pot-roast chili ($5.99).
The weathered sign outside reads "99 Beers & Ales," directing visitors toward The Weekend Pub's beer list, which overflows with domestic and imported brews. Inside, pint glasses fill with an earth-toned rainbow of suds hailing from Ireland, Scotland, Africa, the Philippines, and France. Hands wrap around familiar bottles from St. George and Celis or slowly count off syllables when writing haikus about Weihenstephaner kristall. Glasses lift against the steady beat of clattering plates, laden with a menu of shaved-steak sandwiches and sirloin burgers crowned in Guinness-based sauce. As eyelids sink contentedly to half-mast, patrons toss beanbags or darts at their respective target in contests of eye-hand coordination. Some evenings, teams compete to correctly answer trivia questions in exchange for prizes and the right to high-five each other every hour on the hour. The sounds of acoustic guitars and tremulous vocals waft through the air during open-mike nights and live musical acts on the weekends.
At Craft 60 Ale House, more than 60 varieties of craft brews available by the bottle and on tap compliment the chef's menu of unpretentious modern American fare. Cold swigs of beer wash down bites of bacon-wrapped rib-eye or a Juicy Lucy?a beef patty stuffed with smoked cheddar and topped with onions, spring mix, and smoked aioli. For a little crunch and texture, the filet of fish arrives donning a layer of housemade IPA batter fried to a golden-brown crisp. Diners can savor each dish knowing that it was hand-crafted using local and sustainable ingredients.
Throughout the day, big windows let in a deluge of natural light into the pub, and at night, glowing TVs show sports and full-contact spelling bees. Craft 60 Ale House also hosts live music every Friday and Saturday night, and open-mic events on Sunday nights.
At first glance, Keagan's Irish Pub and Finn McCool's don't seem so different. Both are thoroughly Irish establishments, serving traditional dishes of shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash, and fish ?n? chips in dining rooms adorned with dark woods and stonework accents. Both also feature regular karaoke nights and live-music acts that regale patrons with songs so catchy they're under investigation by the CDC. But Finn McCool's stands out from its sister restaurant in one important aspect?its seafood bar, replete with broiled oysters and clams, steamed shrimp and snow crab, and saut?ed mussels that arrive to tables solo or in hefty combination platters.
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.