The owners of 38 Degrees aren't strangers to pressure: they opened their alehouse and grill just in time to participate in the 2009 Los Angeles Beer Week. Since that hurried opening, they've had the chance to take their time curating the restaurant's rotating list of 38 domestic and international draft and cask beers. Owner Clay Harding tries out at least 25 new brews each week for possible introduction into that list, always striving to represent a range of styles from brewers such as Epic Brewing Company, Full Sail Brewing, and Ballast Point Brewing Company. Chefs complement this draft roster with a menu of gourmet pub dishes inspired by several ethnic cuisines and a week spent spying on a UN ambassador. In the kitchen, they assemble calabaza and Korean short-rib tacos, curry-seasoned salmon cakes, duck burgers, and pork schnitzel.
The unassuming red brick building in the alley behind the Ice House in Pasadena may not look like much, but inside lies T. Boyle's Tavern—a no-nonsense two-level pub with a polished beer menu, hearty eats, 13 flat-screen TVs, and one 8’x10’ jumbo TV. The TVs flicker with the NFL Sunday Ticket’s games or broadcast USC and UCLA teams as they shoot a basketball, throw a football, or punt a volleyball. Nearby, a huge stone tiki head perched on the rough brick wall overlooks live bands as they belt out classic rock covers, blues, or ’80s hits.
Tall, round bar tables next to old wooden barrels hoist buffalo wings, pastrami burgers, and fish tacos that pair with dozens of bottled or draft craft beers, including tasty suds from Bear Republic, Rogue, Sierra Nevada, and Port Brewing. When regulars aren't sharing laughs over beers or frantically trying to answer trivia questions, they can head over to the dartboards or shuffleboard and pool tables.
The Ice House Comedy Club hosts professional laugh makers in a casual, intimate setting. Dozens of famous funny people have cultivated chuckles on the club's stage—including David Letterman, George Carlin, and Ellen DeGeneres—throughout its half-century history. Upcoming entertainers include voice actor Scott Henry, television veteran Ralph Harris, and Mind of Mencia star Brad Williams. The small, personal atmosphere allows all viewers to be within seven rows of giggle gatherers, although Ice House recommends arriving 45 minutes early to prevent the first-come, first-served seats from developing abandonment issues. Although not included in this Groupon, Ice House also boasts a menu loaded with creative drinks, tasty snacks, and funnybone-repair kits.
Situated in the basement of the Union Savings Bank Building, the oldest standing building in Old Town Pasadena, Old Town Haunt reopens the building's spooky catacombs for tours steeped in haunted history. The underground maze delivers hair-raising thrills with a cast of creepy characters, closed-quarters darkness, and grandpas holding flashlights under their chins. Adrenaline junkies can leave their autos at nearby park-and-walk garages with up to 90 minutes of free parking before cars become possessed by wayward spirits.
Like the woman from whom it takes its name, Roxolana Restaurant captures the imagination. An Ottoman empress in the 16th century, the Ukrainian-born Roxolana earned fame and adoration by rising from slave to sultan's wife, then to puddle of borscht. Her namesake restaurant evokes the olden days with a décor of traditional Ukrainian folk art such as rushnyk, or hand-embroidered towels, and oberig, or decorative wreaths.
Roxolana Restaurant's father-son team of Ukrainian chefs grill succulent meats, lace dishes with housemade spicy cayenne-tomato sauce, and whip up desserts such as red-wine mousse. They match their traditional dishes with barbecue ribs and light lunch fare. A generous selection of wines and beers refreshes throats parched from struggling to pronounce entree selections.
Not much has changed at Jake's of Pasadena since 1947, the year the diner first opened its doors along historic Route 66 in Old Town Pasadena. The eatery recalls Southern California's golden era of surf music, hot rods, and drive-ins through its nostalgic decor and classic diner grub. Feel free to build your own burger ($5.99+) or outsource the decision-making to the cooks by ordering one of Jake's signature menu items, such as the BBQ cheeseburger ($7.99). You can complement any sandwich with chili fries or onion rings or sip a shake while you gossip about which mailman is stealing the football team's letterman jackets. There's also a billiards room downstairs that is open nightly.