Amid the locker-lined walls of Markley Billiards' spacious playroom, hanging table lamps pour light onto pristine Brunswick Gold Crown tables and brand-new Diamond Pro-Am bar boxes. The well-lit and smoke-free pool hall promises that shooters won't have to squint as they angle for corner shots or launch games with a break that leaves the tables' smooth Simonis cloth tops as empty as a magician's rabbit farm. Open until or beyond midnight every night of the week, they keep pool players sated with sandwiches, hot dogs, and drinks while a digital jukebox belts out ideal rhythms for chalking a cue.
A mechanical bull bucks in Deuces Wild Buckin' Bull Saloon, Valley Forge Casino Resort's onsite rock-‘n’-roll and country bar. Revelers clad in cowboy boots strut through line dances with drinks in hand beneath the dance floor's green and blue lights. But unlike the Wild West, there's no blazing desert outside. Instead, there are 3,600 lush acres of national-park land, whose hiking trails hibernate beneath glinting winter snow. Inside the hotel, 600 slot machines and 50 tables of blackjack, craps, and roulette fill the casino. Seven onsite restaurants cater to different cravings: there's casual sushi at Asianoodle, and Pacific Prime's upscale atmosphere complements dishes such as maine lobster and loch duart scottish salmon.
Ever since its first location opened in 1994, very rarely is there a quiet moment at J.D. McGillicuddy's. Crowds watching the Phillies cheer and groan in unison, and members of bachelorette parties dance around groups of old friends meeting for a drink. The only time the noise dips is when the staff brings out plates of the house's flavorful pub food. Wings, burgers, pizzas, and nachos fill the menu, with East Coast twists such as Old Bay seasoning and jumbo lump crabmeat. Each spacious location has also been known to host special events, from DJ-spun theme nights and pub crawls to Easter breakfasts.
The able alemen and grill captains at KC's Alley dish out high-grade burgers and high-quality brews to satisfy the bellowing bellies of hungry visitors. After browsing KC's varied menu, put in an order for a BYO burger ($7+) to initiate construction of a beef monument made to your royal designs, or opt for the classic ($8) or barbecue ($8) options to leave the work to experienced food architects. Salty baskets of Alley fries ($4.50) lightly drizzled with butter and seasoning keep peckish patrons satisfied, and nine salad options ($5–$11) appease leaf-seekers and burgerphobes. House-roasted turkey smothered in gravy ($13) gives diners a flavorful taste of Thanksgiving without forcing them to learn things like how an oven works or how to coax a turkey into one.
The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
Operated by brothers Rick and Jeff Spano, this family business boasts a list of handheld noshables and traditional bar fare. Amuse appetites with starters such as the wings cloaked in a choice of sauce and accompanied by blue-cheese dressing ($0.30 each). The basket of sweet-potato fries delights dippers ($5.50), and the fried white cheddar and broccoli bites come prepped and ready for a ceremonial ranch dressing rite of passage ($7). Meat mavens can affix their maxilla around the 8-ounce Angus beef burger ($7.75) or chicken sandwich ($7.50), and fish favorers can opt for the lager-battered haddock or the grilled swordfish entree, served with pineapple salsa, sautéed spinach, and shoestring potatoes for those who have graduated beyond Velcro slip-ons ($12).