Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
At first glance, Keagan's Irish Pub and Finn McCool's don't seem so different. Both are thoroughly Irish establishments, serving traditional dishes of shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash, and fish ’n’ chips in dining rooms adorned with dark woods and stonework accents. Both also feature regular karaoke nights and live-music acts that regale patrons with songs so catchy they're under investigation by the CDC. But Finn McCool's stands out from its sister restaurant in one important aspect—its seafood bar, replete with broiled oysters and clams, steamed shrimp and snow crab, and sautéed mussels that arrive to tables solo or in hefty combination platters.
Arcadia Evolutions enthuses joystick jockeys of all dedication levels with more than 1,000 game titles, as well as multiplayer games boosted by high-speed Internet, high-definition television screens and computer monitors, and a variety of vintage and current gaming consoles. An all-day gaming pass grants avatar aficionados with unlimited game play on current consoles such as Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and PS3, as well as retro machines that require human breath-blowing and other old-school tricks to remain in operating order. The gaming mecca houses multiple copies of each game to avoid long Paperboy lines and to encourage identical twins to creepily play Castlevania in tandem. Business hours stretch into late-night territory, allowing thumb athletes to swap hand-callus horror stories anytime between 10 a.m. and 12 a.m. on weekends, or 10 p.m. on weeknights.
Resting in the shadow of the Grand Wayne Convention Center, Thirsty Camel features more than a handful of beers on tap and more than a dozen imported and premium bottled beers. The restaurant's suds selection makes for a model accomplice to its food spread, which includes such shareable munchies, such as buffalo-style wings and onion petals served with an onion-petal sauce. After warming up with some appetizers, diners can tackle homemade hamburgers and 16-ounce T-bone steaks—all while nodding to the beats of a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.
From an exterior modeled after a traditional London free house to interior furnishings imported from Europe, Park Lane Tavern mimics the feel of a European tavern inside and out. Like a hot dog curtseying to the queen, the menu blends American staples with traditions from across the pond, juxtaposing steaks and club sandwiches with shepherd's pie and jagerschnitzel. Behind a gleaming handcrafted bar, bartenders pour from a monstrous selection of libations, including more than 70 draft, bottled, and cask-conditioned beers from around the globe; numerous wines, single-malt scotches, and small-batch bourbons; and creative cocktails, each of which can be found in what the tavern has dubbed their "Beverage Bible."