Jump to: Reviews | Finnegans Wait, What?
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
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.
Philly Pub 'n' Grub envelops its customers in a lively sports bar atmosphere to enjoy a hearty menu of pub fare. The A.L.T. sandwich ($6.95) bridges the gap between slices of wheat bread with avocado, shredded carrots, and hummus, while brick-oven pizzas ($10.50+) allow diners to sample multiple ingredients simultaneously without the burden of growing multiple tongues to taste them individually. The homey ideals of grilled cheese are flipped on their heads with a hefty selection of melty-cheesed breadstacks, including The Mexican Standoff with gooey pepper jack accompanied by grilled chicken and honey-tomato-chipotle sauce ($6.50). Diners can train eyeballs on 16 HD television screens or head to the eatery's large gaming center in spiteful ignorance of their mothers' advice to wait 30 minutes after eating to play pool.
Escort your appetite into Mad River's cheerful, casual confines and sample some hugely portioned eats off of the enticing board of fare. Tasty meal preludes include Angus beef sliders ($8), flash-fried calamari ($7), and barbecue-chicken quesadillas ($7). Full plates can come topped with an assortment of crisp salads, sandwiches, burgers, and pasta nests, all of which pair impeccably with views of flat-screen TVs and competitive chewing. If your appetite tends more toward the alcoholic, set your tongue goggles loose on Mad River's bounty of brews on tap and encased in handy glass cylinders. Trivia takes place on Tuesday nights and tests the limits of amateur quiz masters and time-traveling Renaissance scholars alike.
The green-, white-, and orange-striped façade of O’Neals Pub hints at what one may expect to find inside: a menu replete with shepherd’s pie, beer-battered fish and chips, and Irish beef stew along with an extensive selection of beers and whiskeys from the Emerald Isle. These Irish staples share space on tables with American pub grub such as creamy bacon mac 'n' cheese, hearty sandwiches, and 100% Angus beef or veggie burgers. Between bites, guests can marvel at the Celtic cross carved into the woodgrain on the front door, practice their aim on the dartboard, or play pranks on friends by slyly filling their bagpipes with mashed potatoes. Guests may also turn their attention to one of the pub's 20 TVs, which all have Direct TV packages, or bask in the sun on the outdoor patio, where oversize umbrellas provide shelter to those scanning the horizon for telltale rainbows after thundershowers.
North bowl is anything but a typical bowling alley. Previously a mechanic's garage, North Bowl Lounge n Lanes was completely overhauled in 2006 before reopening as a swank, 21,000-square-foot retro-style bowling alley and nightclub. With two floors, an upscale comfort food menu, a large bar, and a vast sweep of polished wood lanes, it's become a North Philadelphia gathering place for the 21-and-over crowd.
The food here isn't anything like typical bar fare, either. Upstairs in the cafe, diners munch on Baja-style fish tacos with housemade salsa or Cajun mac n' cheese as they overlook the lanes below through windows. After bowling, there's more fun to be had in the retro arcade, where video games and pinball machines offer a form of competition that requires no heavy lifting and wearing special shoes is optional.
The Adobe Cafe's chefs find a way to accommodate nearly every diner without sacrificing the piquant flavors and aromas attributed to southwestern cuisine. They skillet-sear filet mignon and marinate chicken breasts and duck before tossing the seasoned meat with black beans, sautéed green peppers, and white onions for fajitas. But they also alter their traditional Mexican-inspired fare by substituting ground beef, chorizo, flank steak, and carnitas with seitan and tofu for vegetarians or meat eaters' pet goats. The chefs' use of ranchero sauce, roasted peppers, jerk seasoning, and even barbecue has earned the eatery a number of awards; The Adobe Cafe was recently named Best Southwestern Restaurant in Philadelphia by LocalEats.