Pubs west of the Atlantic often pay homage to the UK, but Dan McGuinness Pub goes one step farther: it was actually made in Ireland. Shipped to Memphis, Tennessee in pieces, the first Dan McGuinness was entirely assembled by a team of five Irishmen, who still manually hold it together today. The franchise's other locations weren't built this way, but they all carry on the original pub's tradition of friendly service and classic Irish dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, and shepherd's pie. American and English influences also permeate the menu in dishes such as blackened chicken fingers and fish ‘n’ chips made with Atlantic cod dipped in Harp lager batter.
The pub's beer list similarly mixes up European and American offerings with brews from Guinness, Smithwick's, and Sam Adams. Feasts at Dan McGuinness unfold amid a convivial atmosphere, with entertainment such as billiards and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Kush Hookah Lounge engages eaters and puffing patrons alike with a menu of Mediterranean eats and a full hookah lounge, featuring 20 tobacco varieties. Complement puffs with a fete of small plates, including creamy hummus ($5.99), curry fries ($5.49), and six different types of wings, including garlic and chipotle ($6.99+). Guests can synchronize blown smoke spheres of smooth and fragrant tobacco flavors such as coconut, apple, or strawberry ($14) while reclining on a mound of silky throw pillows. Adventurous inhalers can sample more exotic essences, ranging from passion-fruit mojito to blue mist, a blend rivaling only microwaved peanut butter in smoothness.
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51st Street Speakeasy dishes up a savory spread of creative American staples in a vintage-style bar with an intimate stage hosting live entertainment. The fresh menu brings together tacos, salads, and burgers in a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves. Guests can rev stomach engines with a starter such as chicken or beef nachos, stacked to stratospheric heights with tomatoes, jalapeños, and cheese and served with luscious guacamole, sour cream, and salsa ($8). A traditional caesar salad with freshly made dressing ($7) makes for a well-rounded meal when paired with a cheeseburger, amassing a half-pound patty seasoned and cooked to order ($8).
The buttery leather couch beneath the bookshelf has been taken over by a pair of readers enthralled in the world of their novels, oblivious to the raucous games of foosball and darts unfolding next to them. The setting of this laid-back scene isn't a domestic rec room but the upstairs smoking lounge and bar of Tapwerks. Dedicated to making patrons feel at home, Tapwerks' English pub–inspired decor, friendly staff, and weekly lineup of high-energy events foster a welcoming environment.
Amid the nonsmoking, flag-laden dining room on the first floor, eaters of all ages snuggle into wooden booths or around tables as they chow down on dishes of hearty bar staples such as fish 'n' chips, pizza, and burgers. Behind the careworn wooden bar, seasoned bartenders can fill up glasses with the sudsy contents of 212 taps or slide one of 100 bottled beers down the bar to a waiting hand. As days melt into evenings, Tapwerks’ cozy surroundings reverberate with the strums of live guitars during regularly scheduled Acoustic Nights or the ticking sound of brains working during trivia nights.
More than 30 years in the business of providing lip-smacking hospitality has taught the proprietors of The Library how to keep its customers coming back. A slew of regulars populates the eatery's bar-side chairs and group-size banquettes nightly, often chomping through head chef Justin McNutt's generous burgers, meaty sandwiches, and buffalo wings—each named after an infamous author or literary masterpiece. Besides hosting special events within its dining chamber, The Library also invites guests to live it up during private parties with custom menus and flowing libations within its indoor courtyard.