“When [you] walk through the door, the first thing you’re gonna smell is bacon.” That’s a promise from Slater’s 50/50 founder Scott Slater, whose restaurant serves an infamous burger patty built from half ground beef and half ground bacon. Executive Chef Brad Lyons helped with the recipe, though the original inspiration came from the all-bacon patties Scott and his friends used to grill up during Chargers tailgate parties. For the restaurant, he decided to cut the bacon with high-quality beef that, like a baby's fake ID, is aged 21 days. As if the bacon-infused patties weren’t distinctive enough (as far as they know, Slater’s 50/50 the only restaurant in the world that serves them), Scott and Brad designed a DIY menu that lets patrons customize their burgers by size and with 11 cheeses, 40 toppings, 19 sauces, and four kinds of bread. Patrons overwhelmed by these options can instead order one of the specialty burgers, such as a Peanut Butter and Jellousy with creamy peanut butter, strawberry jam, and of course, thick-cut bacon. Bacon reappears throughout the menu, including as candied crumbles on brownies and in the syrup used in bacon milkshakes.
Though located on the edge of the historic Gaslamp District, Taste and Thirst draws in its clientele with a distinctly modern atmosphere. The lounge and bar's low lighting and flat-screen TVs cast patrons in a dreamlike glow as they revel from the morning until late at night. Early in the day, kitchen staff prepare breakfast with french toast, piquant omelets, and bottomless mimosas. They also craft traditional pub food such as burgers piled with cheese and house sauce, truffle fries and tater tots, and wings dressed up in nine styles of glaze. Throughout the day, illuminated by the festive white lights wrapped around the bar's pillars, bartenders sling drinks from a refreshing menu of domestic beers and cocktails.
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 its internationally known 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.
When live music is the antidote for a dull evening, head over to Patrick’s in the Gaslamp. No matter what night of the week you visit, there’s sure to be live blues, soul or rock n’roll blasting from the little stage in the back. Should the evening stay fair, leave your coat at home and grab one of the bar stools on the sidewalk patio for a nice mix of music and people-watching. Inside, the pub shows its Prohibition roots with a full tin ceiling, long bar and ring of seats, if you can get one. Most evenings there’s a standing room only crowd but if you’re looking to rub elbows with the natives, stop by early for happy hour and catch up on the local gossip.
The Rite Bite’s staff of licensed dieticians, nurses, personal trainers, and massage therapists aim to help their clients achieve a healthy life balance. This can mean providing nutritional advice, leading cardio kickboxing classes, or speaking to businesses as part of their corporate wellness program. No matter what the service, the goal is always boost their clients’ overall sense of well-being.
An arm of a multi-city pub empire, McFadden's entertains multitudes inside an expansive 10,000-square-foot space, provisioning revelers with frosty beers, potent whiskeys, and a menu of contemporary snacks and salads alongside traditional pub fare. Patrons belly up to the 100-foot mahogany bar for libations, or they can munch on fish 'n' chips while watching sports on one of the 40 high-definition TVs. Upstairs, staff members entertain private parties on a 2,200-square-foot patio with outdoor TVs, a private bar, lounge seating, bottle service, and teaching of secret handshakes, and live DJs supply downstairs gatherings with danceable music every Thursday–Saturday.