Past the frame of Copper Gate’s 66-year-old front door and behind its Viking-ship-shaped bar, a mixologist is busy flavoring glasses of aquavit. Overhead, scantily clad ladies survey the scene, frozen in salacious poses snapped decades ago. Nordic and pinup cultures co-exist in equal measure at Copper Gate, where servers deliver meatballs and pickled herring amid boudoir paintings and trinkets from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. A menu of innovative cocktails confounds the tongue only as far as pronunciation goes. Once the cucumber, aquavit, and lemon of a Stor Agurk hit taste receptors, everyday worries dissolve away like a slug on a horse’s salt lick.
Copper Gate first opened in 1946, and its current owners are marking this year’s 66th anniversary with a month-long celebration throughout October. Most live shows are free during the anniversary month, including no-cover jazz events and a birthday tribute to legendary jazz pianist and amateur fire-eater Thelonious Monk. Other events include monthly comedy and open mic nights, as well as service industry night every Monday.
Cheers and cries fill the air inside the pub as patrons watch TVs displaying the sport known as soccer in the United States but always called football within the walls of The George and Dragon. The language reflects the tavern’s British focus, which can be seen everywhere from the drafts of Fuller's ESB to the plates of fish ‘n’ chips. Eager spectators can keep their eyes fixed on the pub’s football schedule, while less interested parties can dig into pub food out on the large patio and talk about their secret craving to ruffle the queen's hair. Plates of beer-battered arctic cod and chips accompany the pub’s own recipe for shepherd’s pie, which tops veggie-studded ground beef with cheddary mashed potatoes. Early-rising bellies can enjoy full English breakfasts with beans, bangers, and eggs aplenty.
Every Monday night, The Blarney Stone opens its doors to a very special group of people—the geeks. Their weekly hosted trivia night, lovingly called "Geeks Who Drink," allows eggheads and trivia buffs of all walks of life to come together and test their wits as they feast on Irish classics such as the shepherd’s pie and halibut and chips. Meanwhile, cozied up to the bar or tucked behind a table, those who hide their geekiness under a bushel basket can mutter the answers under their breath while nursing an expertly poured pint of Guinness or tearing into one of the pub’s many flavorful burgers. In addition to the trivia night, patrons can satisfy their need for competition with NFL broadcasts and an accompanying football breakfast, a big-screen hookup to a Nintendo Wii, and paired pool tables and dart boards.
While guests ogle the boats and kayaks passing by outside, Chef Manual Frias stays in the kitchen, cooking up inventive takes on American comfort food. He seasons New York strips with house-blended rubs, smothers meatloaf in bourbon mustard glazes, and stirs bacon, pulled pork, and prosciutto into his aptly named three pig mac and cheese.
To complement each hearty dish, the tenders of Eastlake's tiki bar pour local microbrews and whip up tasty cocktails like the John Daly, a blend of lemonade and wild tea-flavored vodka. Though the deck and patio are seasonal, the dining room, complete with its own bar, is open all year. Here, rounds of trivia test knowledge every week, while flat-screens TV show the day's biggest sports games or rowdiest congressional boxing matches.
The British flag proudly flies outside The Market Arms, signaling this pub’s commitment to authentic English food and fun. Amid the brick walls and wood floors of the interior, the clatter of dartboards, pool tables, and shuffleboards competes for attention against British and American football broadcasts. Guests can sip on a Guinness or Glenmorangie while lounging at a cozy booth or table. Alternatively, outdoorsy diners enjoy bangers and mash, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie al fresco on either the front or back patio. A public boat dock situated alongside the eatery allows boat or whale owners to quickly park their rides and head inside for a scotch or whiskey.
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