The American Pub's menu depicts hearty fare that can weigh down plates and lighten up countenances. Pretzel bites ($6.95), innocently skinny-dipping in hot pools of mustard or cheese sauce, can be snatched up and shoveled into mouth caves or reported to the local authorities. Or, inundate growling bellybutton chambers with floods of flavor flowing forth from burgers and sandwiches such as the classic Reuben, corned beef comingled with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and russian dressing ($8.95). Sundry dishes, such as the traditional caesar salad ($6.95) and warm cups of soup, served with bread sticks or crackers ($4.99), work to shush appetites by turning the grumbling dissonance of a hungry tummy into the humming mellifluence of a sufficiently fed cuisine depository.
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The Emerald Isles' greatest export is neither potatoes nor leprechauns, although both are invaluable to our modern way of life. No, the most important Irish contribution to Western society is the Guinness-fueled pub philosopher. Share in their wisdom with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of intoxicating pub grub and intoxicant at Finn McCools Ale House in Center City. Finn McCools is an authentic Irish-style pub that was recently upgraded to a full kitchen with an expanded beer selection, thanks to a leftover genie someone donated to a local thrift store with a perfectly good wish left in it.
The new kitchen is piloted by Irish cuisine expert, chef Larry Smith, so the menu has shamrock specialties in addition to classic bar favorites. Smith has taught at Temple University and studied under chefs at The Joseph Ambler Inn, Le Bec Fin, and Table 31. Try the bangers and mash, Irish pork sausages with mashed potatoes and peas served with savory gravy ($10.50) or a scotch fillet, 10 ounces of well-marbled rib eye served with vegetables and a baked potato ($25). Finn's serves perhaps the most traditional Irish favorite—nachos ($13), as well as wings with fries ($8) and fish and chips ($11). Unrepentant foodies, meanwhile, will find gastropub offerings such as zarzuela pasta paella ($18), poached-pear salad ($8), and moules mariniere ($9). Finn's 16 draft beers are mainly Irish, Belgian, German, and local microbrews. The bar's expert tenders are fast and friendly, so ask for directions home if your speech begins to resemble Molly Bloom's soliloquy.
After eight months of renovation, Finn's barroom is even classier and finally banshee-free. The authentic pub space has bare brick walls, wood accents, and well-stocked back-bar shelves (peruse the gallery for a peek at all the fancy new features). The giant-scaled, 20-foot ceiling could accommodate the actual Finn McCool and makes watching the game on Finn's four large, flat-screen TVs more comfortable than watching it at home on your corrugated TV boogie board.
Your Groupon can be used on yourself or on an entire table, so start a tab at Finn McCools and treat your entire U2 tribute band to some well-deserved shenanigans.
Citysearchers and Yellow Pages reviewers give Finn McCool's a perfect five stars, while CityVoters rave about the delicious food and affable staff:
- The place was excellent, great selection of beers and cocktails. We got a big selection of appetizers and it was very good. The fried Ravioli was great. The bartender was fast and excellent, and the owner and people in the bar were real friendly. – boomer71, Citysearch
- It's the best bar ever...with the coolest staff! Always a good time. Never a disappointment. Food and service is flawless. – kristen12345678, CityVoter
- Friendly staff, clean, and a great place to watch games. – mcDog, Citysearch
Though its located in the prestigious Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel and serves a gourmet menu of small plates and fine wines, Tavern 17 maintains a laidback, neighborhood atmosphere—the bartenders call out the names of familiar faces over the sounds of bar-goers chatting over a frosty pint. The warm, cheerful space hums with conversation as diners sip on one of 12 rotating craft beers or wine by the glass by candles and hanging lanterns. The atmosphere in the kitchen is just as animated—chefs bustle about, folding local and organic ingredients into artisanal steak and seafood dishes as other kitchen staffers assemble small plates of fish tacos and bruschetta. Come Saturday evening between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., the restaurant adds to the vibrant ambiance by hosting live music.
In its classic pub atmosphere⎯complete with flat-screen TVs, a long wooden bar, high-top tables, and exposed brick⎯ Cavanaugh's Rittenhouse's chefs breathe life into the gastro pub menu of burgers and sandwiches. Start with the blackened chicken and bubbling gouda pot accoutered with apples, grapes, and toasted bread cubes ($10.99), or the crab cake sliders ($9.99–$13.99). Cavanaugh's Hereford beef⎯delivered fresh and never frozen inside a cryotank⎯ arrives to patrons' plates sprinkled with a variety of toppings, such as bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and sautéed mushrooms ($10.99+), while the beef of the Yards brawler sloppy joe ($9.99) is slow cooked with Yards ale until it's as tender as a fairy godmother's guidance.
With roots firmly planted in the tradition of the izakaya—Japanese pubs designed for unwinding and socializing with friends over a modest sake and street-food selection—Yakitori Boy focuses its culinary philosophy on interaction above all else. In this spirit, the menu brims with modestly priced tapas-style dishes meant for sharing—sushi comes in miniature four-piece rolls, tempura plates bear only a half-dozen or so of the crispy morsels, and diners order the eatery's signature creation, yakitori, by the single skewer. Of course, guests can still splurge on a full entrée, as head sushi chef Tasaka Yasuhiko calls on his 40 years of experience to craft full 12-piece helpings of specialty caviar- and tempura-topped maki, while chefs in the bustling kitchen whip up traditional don, or creative meat preparations served over a bowl of rice. A floor above the dining room's geometric lines and romantic lighting, a karaoke lounge urges diners to keep the celebration rolling with a public stage and eight private rooms ideal for parties of up to 20 or solo performances of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" on repeat.
Cichetteria 19, one of the first Venetian eateries and osterie (pubs) to unfurl its tasty sails in Philadelphia, allows diners to imbibe their minds and mouths with a medley of meal options, a list of authentic, regional wines, and an atmosphere akin to homeland camaraderie. The menu consists of cichetti (small dishes), which are designed to contrast one another while complementing a grapey quaff. Available individually ($5), in a trio ($12), or as a family of five ($19), cichetti options include roasted shrimp with caper berries, flash-fried calamari in tomato sauce, house-made toasted bread, prosciutto and melon, and more. The remainder of the menu is occupied with fresh pizza selections such as the white Bassano, topped with gorgonzola, fig, prosciutto, and arugula ($15), and a range of prearranged plates, including lemon risotto ($21). To top off any meal, gracious guests can slide forks through rich tiramisu infused with sweet satiability and Italian grandmother hugs ($7).