The crackle of a grill and the gentle purr of beer spilling into a pint are very soothing sounds. That gleeful noise serves as a constant backdrop at The Peddler’s Daughter, punctuated occasionally by live rock or Irish music and pub trivia. The menu is varied, but everything orbits around the dishes you might find in the Irish countryside. Beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips nestle alongside shepherd’s pies filled with beef and veggies like the briefcase of someone who is only pretending to be an accountant. Burgers—topped with Guinness blue cheese påte, aged cheddar, or housemade hot sauce—vie for attention against the likes of bangers and mash. On the bar, light cuts through glasses of ruddy Newcastle, Old Speckled Hen, and Guinness.
The chefs at Essex Street Grille fill their menu with dishes ranging from fish to tempura shrimp and Jamaican pork tenderloin. They place these delectables on white plates and send them out into a dining room in which red walls surround patrons and contrast the shifting images of a big-screen TV. Bartenders add their own color to the scene by mixing dessert martinis with Godiva chocolate liqueur and Bailey's Irish cream. On Friday nights, a DJ blends tunes by diverse artists such as the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, and a family of whales.
Longtime Whose Line Is It Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood have toted their quick-witted, improvised comedy around the country for years. Not bound by scripts, the duo takes suggestions from the audience and fluidly bounces off each other's screwball bits to craft hilarious scenes on the fly. As the evening rolls on, they draft game but uncoached audience members into the onstage action. Though audiences can expect daredevil games and easy patter between the two stage vets, the form of any given show won't unfold until the night of the performance—as Mochrie reported to the Herald-Review, they've "developed an aversion to ever performing the same joke or routine twice." Built in 1920 to commemorate World War II veterans, the auditorium suffuses even the most lighthearted events with a sense of history and the patronage of local bald-eagle populations.
Part Mexican cantina, part Irish pub, and all cop, Garcia Brogan's blends disparate cultures in both its menu and its decor, which features murals and folk art from Mexico and Ireland. Whether guests want a glass of Irish whiskey or a fine tequila, Garcia Brogan's bartenders keep the drinks flowing, pouring a river of alcohol in which tacos and shepherd's pie bob appetizingly. The restaurant hosts pub trivia nights and live Irish music on the weekends.
Warm lighting blankets the rustic interior of Riverside Lounge, creating a relaxing retreat for enjoying a draft beer, cocktail, or full meal. The flickering flames of the fireplace invite couples to cozy up beside it as they share portions of lightly battered calamari and lobster mac and cheese. The bar, meanwhile, blends chic woodwork with brick walls and an inviting atmosphere where patrons can relax and sip one of 17 draft beers, a seasonal wine, or a pitcher of white or red sangria. A collection of sports-showing TVs decorates the bar like wreaths on a door, while outside the view offers the natural splendor of the Powwow River Waterfall, which flows adjacent to the lounge’s canopied tables and violin-playing sparrows.
Sports, Steaks & Spirits combines the television-studded walls of a sports bar with the hearty comfort food of a neighborhood pub. Menu items include baby back ribs and half-pound burgers, as well as more internationally inspired dishes, such as tempura-fried shrimp with coconut breading. Cooks can also top hand-stretched, thin-crust pizzas with a combination of 17 available toppings, including basil, sausage, and red onion.
Although its menu might distinguish Sports, Steaks & Spirits from other bars, guests are also welcome to just knock back a beer while watching Boston sports teams compete for control of the world’s supply of silver-plated trophies. Sixty plasma televisions line the bar’s walls, and all booths boast their own small screen, which may have prompted Patch to describe the spot as “a veritable North Reading sports haven.” Even the color scheme evokes the feel of well-trodden sports turf, surrounding visitors with yellow-green walls and pool tables lined with emerald-green felt.