Strafe Gaming Lounge cultivates a casual, family-friendly setting around a simple central concept: make gaming social. The facility achieves this goal, in part, with its semiprivate gaming stations outfitted with cushioned furnishings and 42-inch high-definition TVs?as well as a roster of systems that includes four Xbox Ones, three PlayStation 4s, two Wii Us, five Playstation 3s, Nintendo Wii, and classic Nintendo 64 and Atari consoles. Video games aren't the only attraction, though: a 100-inch HD projection screen hosts gaming tournaments and film screenings. Inventive programs such as technology camps for kids and all-night gaming lock-ins provide even more ways for guests to come together.
Aviator Brewing Company's dedicated brew architects collaborate with a premium selection of seasonal ingredients to craft 16 varieties of pint fillers. Since taking root in 2008 with two 300-gallon tanks in a decommissioned airplane hangar, the suds factory has grown to include four tanks, each of which contains 3,100 gallons of award-winning libations. Inside the tanks, frothy brews such as the Devils Tramping Ground Tripel—a golden Belgian ale with a fruity, spicy, sweet flavor—wait for year-round sampling. They also concoct seasonal brews for Oktoberfest, spring, and winter, as well as rotating beers such as McGritty's Scotch Ale, which they brew from Maris Otter barley malt and crisp malt imported from the United Kingdom in an oversize kilt.
Nearby, on Broad Street, Aviator also operates a tap house, which serves up their draft brews at a temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to a micromatic dispensing system with glycol cooling. Down the street, they also operate a smokehouse that serves up smokehouse ribs, North Carolina chopped-barbecue sandwiches, and pulled pork that has been featured on RaleighLifestyle.tv's Dining Destinations.
From its quiet perch on Franklin Street, Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop slings premium fair-trade ice cream right alongside warm hand-rolled soft-pretzels from Auntie Anne's Pretzel. Friendly staffers fill cups with famous flavors such as Cherry Garcia, a smooth blend of cherry ice cream speckled with cherries and flakes of chocolate fudge. Phish Food infuses chocolate ice cream with marshmallow and caramel swirls, paying homage to the mellow tunes of the jam band Phish with fish-shaped fudge pieces that play eight-minute guitar solos. The shop was recently renovated to include an Auntie Anne's, whose pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor, and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers.
Squire's Pub attracts patrons with British-style fare and a distinctive pub atmosphere, both of which have helped it win several of The Pilot's Best of Moore County awards, including the All-Around Restaurant and Burger categories. The Squire Pub's owners honor their English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish ancestry with authentic artifacts and antiques throughout the establishment, including a 1719 map of Kent, photos of Trafalgar Square, and William Shakespeare's cherished childhood Nintendo. The stained glass, mirrors, and dark woods of the interior take eyes on a historical journey as patrons sip on cold pints of beer, and hanging dartboards, backgammon, and cribbage games are available from the barkeep to keep hands busy.
Railhouse Brewery founders Mike Ratkowski and Brian Evitts both did stints in the armed forces before they met while working the same job. The two shared an interest in the effervescent qualities of a good beer, and in 2009, they turned that passion into a business. Brian, a homebrewer for 20 years, oversees the production of the company's five main beers?oatmeal stout, brown ale, pale ale, honey wheat, and barley wine?and Mike handles operations, sales, and the number of bottles of beer on the wall. Together, they help bring Railhouse brews to 14 restaurants and bars in the Sandhills.
The Railhouse Brewery also frequently hosts concerts and festivals, and holds cornhole tournaments every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, check out the event page or send a pack of investigative hops to visit the brewery.
Inside the kitchen at Le Mussels, chefs combine Asian, American, and tropical influences, revering seafood above all and using it to unite disparate culinary styles. Pots of mussels can arrive in a traditional broth of white wine, garlic, and butter, or in an international m?lange with cilantro, Japanese sake, or spicy Italian sausage. During each mealtime rush, housemade mango salsa is poured generously over coconut-crusted tilapia while the kitchen?s grill tops teem with Angus-beef patties and tuna steaks.
Eleven flat-screen televisions surround the intimately lit dining room, which creates a modern, industrial ambiance with its high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and coal-powered napkin dispensers. As the sounds of sports broadcasts echo throughout the space, guests can visit the bar and snag a hand-shaken cocktail or a beer from the ever-changing selection of 18 domestic and imported drafts.