After sliding across the soft leather of a horseshoe-shaped booth or finding a spot on the sunshine-dappled patio, visitors can begin their journey through Incontro’s award-winning Italian dishes and wines. The upscale yet cozy restaurant inhabits the recently restored, 14,000-square-foot historic Brookdale Mill, with a dining room, lounge, billiards room, and private banquet rooms offering multifarious settings for romantic dinners, receptions, or celebratory meals following the end of a grueling pasta strike. Incontro's chefs prepare much more than just pasta, however: they also crisp Napoletana-style pizzas in a wood-fired oven; arrange parmesan-crusted pork tenderloin beside porcini risotto and garlicky spinach; and grill citrus-spiced salmon until the fish’s bathing suit completely burns off.
Rhode Island Billiard Bar & Bistro has kept the polished pool balls clicking seven days a week for more than 100 years, recently returning the tin ceilings and mahogany bars of its billiards room to their full luster. Hone your skills at felt croquet on any of 15 9-foot tables and one 7-foot table ($3.50/hour for members, $5.50 for nonmembers). In between rounds of foosball, pinball, or watching the bocce bomb tournament on 15 TVs, mad gourmands can commingle menu items such as the calamari fritti ($7.99) and chicken fingers ($6.99) into clawed, ink-spraying gullet monsters.
A past winner of Boston magazine's Best Pool Hall award, Flat Top Johnny's complements its felt-topped tables with home-cooked food and a laid-back atmosphere. Games of billiards ($12 an hour/table) at any of a dozen tournament-size pool tables send balls bouncing while several old-school pinball machines mutter nervously nearby. Fuel a rousing game of eight-ball with an appetizing bowl ($3) or cup ($5) of homemade chili, complemented by Johnny's house-made corn bread, or with a crew of sandwiches, wraps, and snacks from Flat Top Johnny's menu. Johnny's can stuff grilled chicken and feta cheese into a corner pocket of ciabatta bread ($6), or mix pork, beef, or veggie sliders with two other identical sliders (three for $7). Toast an evening of trick shots and twisted dough by hoisting a beer mug filled with pretzels ($3), chased by a shot of mustard.
Since 1959, rollers have been zipping spherical missiles down Town Hall Lanes' 32 well-kept bowling corridors. Though similar in concept to the more familiar form of 10-pin punishment, duckpin bowling differs in that its frames permit competitors three rolls rather than two. The balls used in the game are also smaller and lack holes for fingers, making them less unwieldy for youngsters or phalange-less manatees. Even well-versed bowlers will have to bisect lanes with preternatural precision and power to scatter the 10 duckpins, as their lightweight structure makes bowling a strike much more difficult. The short, squat shape of the pins adds to the challenge and recalls the days when bowlers improvised their own games using nothing but factory-rejected cola bottles.
You'd probably expect to find a few pool tables at a place called Corner Pocket Billiards & Grill. What you might not expect is that the seven high-grade billiards courts beckon to patrons at no cost on Friday and Sunday nights. Thanks to foosball, darts, and 15 flatscreen TVs, as well as two massive projectors, Corner Pocket is an entertainment power house. The pool room fuels nights out with a menu of hearty pub classics, weekly drink specials, and an ever-present selection of 16 frosty draft beers. Bi-weekly karaoke nights drown out the clatter of sunken shots and give patrons an acceptable venue to try out their one-man barbershop quartet.
Boston Bowl buffs and polishes 20 lanes to accommodate fat tenpins and 14 lanes for their thin, stern candlepin cousins, ensuring smooth trips for the spherical projectiles eager to greet them. While groups of two and clans of four frolic beneath a multicolored bowling mural, automated scoring screens dutifully account for every pin conquered, awarding extra points for any particularly stinging impression of another bowler's form.