When Eugene Gillespie left Ireland to visit his brother in New York in 1972, he didn't know that he would be inspired to stay. The Irish economy was down, so Eugene decided to pursue the American dream by moving to the Mid-Atlantic region. He didn't leave Ireland entirely behind him though, and Eugene proceeded to spend the next several decades opening traditional Irish pubs and restaurants throughout New York and New Jersey.
With two locations, Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub demonstrates a commitment to the flavors of Ireland. The menus feature familiar comfort foods—certified Angus burgers and thin-crust pizzas—including a number of Irish favorites, such as beer-battered fish and chips and stews filled with Guinness-braised beef. To achieve an even more authentic taste, the chefs occasionally import ingredients such as Irish cheddar cheese, Irish sausages, and Irish rainbows.
The menu's iconic dishes contribute to the pubs' cozy, inviting ambiance almost as much as accents such as the stone fireplaces or the bar made of imported red mahogany. Spirits remain lively and the mood stays festive thanks to the live entertainment hosted throughout the week. Live bands perform contemporary hits as well as traditional Irish songs.
An island of wooden shelves buds from the dining room's floor, displaying draft-beer taps, glinting rocks glasses, and flat-screen TVs alive with sports. Nearby, plates of grilled paninis, buffalo wings in 15 flavors, and fish ‘n' chips clatter onto a polished bar and lacquered tables, drawing nervous glances from collectors of mint-condition napkins. Clevelands Tap Room's newly revised menu includes time-tested pub fare with a few adventurous accents in the form of pickled ginger and wasabi mayo on ahi-tuna burgers and grilled pineapple on pizzas with homemade sauces. If patrons find themselves in the bar on the right night, they can enjoy NFL Sundays, team trivia, or bean-bag-toss tournaments.
It’s a typical night at Mickey's Bar and Grill—sports games glisten on rows of flat-screen HDTVs, upbeat jukebox tunes fill the air, and friends crowd around the bar, calling for shots of Jack Daniels and pints of Guinness. Bartenders bustle about behind the bar, whipping up the martinis and mixed drinks lauded by reporters from The Record. Servers emerge from the kitchen, bearing platters of plump buffalo wings, juicy burgers, and mini sliders. Some nights, daring guests take the stage for karaoke, boldly belting out popular tunes or whispering confessions of overdue library books into the microphone amid the cheers and applause of the boisterous audience.
With an NFL champion like Tony "The Goose" Siragusa as co-owner, one might expect Tiffany's Restaurant and Bar to show only football. But the eatery's 20-some high-definition flatscreens—extending all the way onto a heated outdoor patio—display everything from basketball and hockey to UFC. The entertainment at Tiffany's isn't all onscreen—throughout the week, events include sets by local DJs, karaoke nights, and Texas hold 'em tournaments.
Founded over 30 years ago, Tiffany's chefs still baste the eatery's award-winning ribs in house-made barbecue sauce, and make meatballs by hand before tossing them with imported Italian pasta. The restaurant has also updated the menu with new, creative twists on bar food and 25 varieties of wings and sauces, such as buffalo wings coated in wasabi sauce. To pair with it all, there are plenty of beers poured from the tap, served in a bottle, or sprayed directly into your mouth from a Super Soaker.
When the big game spills into overtime, the last words you want to hear are "last call." That's why pub 46's bartenders stay on the safe side by whipping up mixed drinks and pouring beer until 3 a.m. every night. The kitchen closes at midnight, ending its daily feasts of American bar food staples such as handmade sausage-and-pepper pizzas, hot turkey sliders, and buckets of fried, broiled, or steamed wings. Feasts unfold on the pub's outdoor, smoke-friendly patio or indoors amid more than 30 HDTVs tuned to everything from baseball and ultimate fighting to the reality hit Coolest Referee Coin Flips.
Several years ago, 381 Main Bar & Grill had an existential crisis. It was a sleek martini bar with white leather couches, white barstools, and white walls, all accentuated with pink uplighting. It was a place people could go for a stiff drink, but it wanted to be something else—an edgy sports bar that fed people tasty food in addition to good drinks.
So the owner, Steve Baskinger, shuttered 381's doors and set to work on an intensive overhaul. He ripped out the old wood floor and polished the 100-year-old cement floors to a sheen. He created foot rails for the bar with 8,000 pounds of railroad track, and he added industrial-size ceiling fans, 17 LED TVs, and kitchen appliances, including a brick pizza oven.
According to Nightclub & Bar magazine, the new decor includes a 1970s-era Yankees scoreboard and custom-made Yankees and New York Giants surfboards and sharks. It even has a drumhead signed by Ringo Starr.
The bar opened after five months of construction and quickly became a hot spot—locals were drawn to the bar's neighborhood feel, classic American eats, and craft beers. They also enjoyed the freshly baked pizzas crisped in the brick oven, which uses flames made from a fire recipe that's been passed down for generations.
381 is now a sports bar, but if people are busy the night of the game, they can show up for Trivia Tuesdays, Acoustic Wednesdays, and monthly craft beer events. During the summer months, they can sip a chilled beer on the outdoor patio.
Slinger's Sports Restaurant's head chef, Nick Tokarski, presides over an eclectic menu of casual and upscale fare, filling mouths in a convivial atmosphere illumined by 11 high-definition TVs. For appetizers, dining companions divvy up a dozen steamed littleneck clams simmered with roasted garlic, bacon, and white wine, or prime palates with the zesty Sichuan sauce coating Ray’s spicy shrimp. Built upon a homemade flatbread foundation, the Chef’s pie pizza pairs melty cheeses with tomato sauce, wild mushrooms, red onions, and fresh basil, fostering an ideal avenue for flaunting your outfit’s built-in bib. Dre's burger stacks 8 ounces of Black Angus with guacamole and chipotle mayo and tames tongues with a flavor lasso made of jalapeños and jack and cheddar cheeses. At the Mac Bar, noshers craft macaroni masterpieces from three cheesy styles and a cornucopia of varied toppings, from hard-boiled eggs to meatballs to blackened shrimp.