Live musicians and DJs add a rhythmic sway to the steps of guests toting frosty bottles of beers and salt-flecked margaritas from Norwood Bar & Lounge's gleaming counter. Light caroms off black leather seating and red walls from overhead chandeliers, and soft chatter drifts between candles or distracts golden-retriever quarterbacks on the flat-screen television. Themed parties and dance events fuel revelry, and drinks rise toward the ornate paneled metal ceiling to meet in happy toasts.
Within Valley Wing Pit Sports Bar & Grill, referee-jersey-clad waiters circulate the sprawling 5,000-square-foot sports bar, serving heaping plates of wings slathered in eight sauces. The bar boasts 19 screens flickering with sports games or the anguished postgame depression of refs. There's even a giant projection screen fitted into a yellow goalpost. Nine draft beers and numerous bottled beers complement the serving of grilled eats, such as hoagie-wrapped brats and 16-inch four-cheese pizzas. Despite its focus on wings, the bar does present an all-you-can-eat salad bar, which shouldn't be taken literally, since they need the lettuce tongs for tomorrow's patrons.
Tiny combustions and the smell of butter emanate from Goodnight's Comedy Club's vintage popcorn maker as nationally touring standups such as Marc Maron and Ralphie May step up to the mic. With a brick wall behind them and a checkered floor below, these headliners spin their comic yarns as popcorn, Buffalo wings, and cocktails deftly land on tables. In addition to its cabaret menu of apps and drinks, the club is connected to two restaurants. Every month, the mostly private Grille at Goodnight's unveils a new menu of upscale American fare, from prime rib to lobster mac n cheese and pumpkin ravioli that turns into carriage ravioli at midnight. The Old Bar Restaurant and Bar resides underneath Goodnight's, treating diners to more casual fare in the form of burgers and Tex-Mex platters.
The chefs at Chadaka Thai shower traditional spices over a bevy of fresh seafood, spicy curries, and refreshing vegetarian dishes. Tender steak and succulent lamb chops don flavors of lemongrass and hot peppers as egg and rice noodles take on a range of shapes beneath savory sauces. In the dining room, towering windows and pillar-like pendant lights illuminate dark-wood décor as stark geometric furnishings find a rustic complement with burl accents and a patchwork-quilt ceiling. Candlelit tables for two fan the flames of a romantic evening or passionate fire-eating contest, whereas an outdoor patio framed by pinewood-hued beams grants diners a glimpse of the bustling shoppers just beyond their savory sanctuary.
Sardo's pacifies yelping stomachs with a menu of delectably pubbish fare while fostering intradiner friendliness with a suite of entertaining distractions. Guests can feel free to feast eyes on sports-related imagery projected on one of seven large-screen LCD TVs, or donate their pipes to the restaurant’s award-winning karaoke. The appetizer platter, like the feel-good final scenes of cafeteria coming-of-age films, lets its popular chicken tenders go to prom with nerdy yet attractive mozzarella sticks and onion rings ($8). Meanwhile, the lunch menu features a hearty sandwich list ($5.25–$8) and providential pasta possibilities, such as the penne pomodoro, featuring penne rigate tossed with fresh garlic, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil ($6.25). Nocturnal nibblers can nosh nighttime-only entrees, such as fried chicken ($9) and sirloin steak ($14), as well as libations from the ornate, amply stocked bar.
At Tony's Darts Away, all 38 draft beers have one thing in common: they're from California. Tony Yanow, the bar's owner, chose to work with local brewers not only to ensure quality, but also to cut down on the waste associated with shipping. As for the high number of taps, Tony explains his reasoning in a video on his website. "If I have a big selection of beer, it means I can satisfy anybody who comes in. I think that's a really important thing: To give people beer they like, not beer I like." Because they carefully source every brew, Tony and his team can help customers find the best ones to suit their palates. For example, they might tell you that an oatmeal stout is softened by nutty, earthy notes, or that a bock is dark with a strong and malty flavor. The bartenders also know which beers should be guzzled from pint glasses and which savored from snifters. They'll never serve beer in a bottle, however. This practice helps the establishment minimize waste and lets bottles stick to their most important job: storing the Lilliput navy.
Chef Randy St. Clair complements the beer selection with meat and vegan sausages, which he serves on warm, locally baked buns. To continue the all-California theme, St. Clair uses local ingredients whenever possible.