As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s 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.
Backyard Bistro’s menu is rich in barbecue traditions that are upheld by the resident pit master. A level-seven sage of the barbecue pit, this wise individual slow-cooks pork in handcrafted cast-iron pit smokers for a potent punch to the tastebuds. Barbecue items such as the beef brisket ($13.50) and the ½ lb. slow-roasted pork barbecue ($9.95) are roasted overnight to bring ultimate moisture and smoky flavors to each bite (both items include choice of two sides). Also served with two sides, the ribs are rubbed down with Backyard’s signature rub and slow roasted until the tender meat slides down the bone easier than pigs down backyard Slip ‘n Slides ($18.95 full rack/$13.95 half rack). In addition to the tender, smoky barbecue options, diners can also tuck into the steak ($21–$23), fish ($12.95–$16.95), burgers ($8.50–$12.50), and sandwiches ($7.50–$12.95). Backyard Bistro serves food until midnight every night of the week.
Hass avocados, cilantro, and fresh lime juice are just a few ingredients diners might recognize as a chef whips up guacamole right before their eyes at Poblano's Mexican Bar & Grill. From the restaurant's grill come specialty dishes including the alambre mixto, a dish typically found in Mexico City that combines grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo with grilled peppers, pineapples, and melted cheese. The taqueria offers up five suggestions for specialty tacos that include carne asada, pork carnitas, shrimp, sliced pork, and grilled fish. Poblano's also delivers fresh flavors via catering for special events such as luncheons, parties, or the day fifth graders win their citizenship by reciting the preamble to the Constitution.
At Big Shotz Tavern, chefs celebrate American comfort food with a vast menu of pizzas, burgers, and barbecue. They season and marinate chicken wings in homemade rubs, and whip up sauces and dips from scratch.
A bustling, lively atmosphere prevails in the spacious dining room. Big-screen TVs hover above the wraparound bar, and, in the warmer months, musicians serenade adorable diners with spinach in their teeth on the outdoor brick patio. The restaurant also hosts a weekly trivia night.
Six Plates Wine Bar minimizes customers’ food indecision with a concise menu that pairs six upscale small plates with six wines by the glass. Despite the menu's diminutive size, there's no lack of variety—the foodies in the kitchen constantly swap out dishes to make use of as many local ingredients as possible, while a clipboard bears a list of more than 150 wines, and 30 beers, sold by the bottle. Mentioned in the New York Times for its use of local food, Six Plates Wine Bar puts an upscale take on comfort foods with its plates, which are about half the size of a traditional entree.
Six Plates Wine Bar's resident wine lover, Matthew Beason, curates a wine list that hails from around the globe—from behind the bar, he'll recount the tale of his first wine love, a 1995 JL Chave Hermitage Blanc that broke his heart when it eloped with a bottle of Boone’s Farm. Each glass romances tongues beneath crystal-drenched chandeliers in the warmly lit dining room, where eclectically framed vintage photos and mirrors share space on exposed brick and deep-amber walls. Diners can recline on red-upholstered armchairs, at the bar, or at intimate, candlelit tables flanked by backed barstools.
Customers won't find any heat lamps within The Wing Co.'s kitchen, but that doesn't mean their made-to-order wings aren't hot. Instead, the increased temperatures come from nine sauces, which run the gamut from sweet chili to Cajun to teriyaki. However, the cooks aren’t content to just spread sauce on wings. Upon customer request, they can also splash the tasty liquids over salads, riblets, and sandwiches—including their signature wing burger.
Matching the wings’ heat is the dining room's firefighter-themed decor. Hardhats and helmets double as lampshades, while firefighter boots, tanks, and clothing hang from the walls, in case of an emergency costume party.