Tex-Mex culture influences every aspect of Sunset Cantina, from the distinctive Southwestern cuisine to the selection of more than 110 tequilas that helps create classic frozen margaritas—named on Boston magazine's list of 30 Best Cocktails. These icy oases offer tongues much-needed respite after they explore an expansive menu of Mexican comfort food, Texas-style barbecue, grilled new york strip steaks, and other cookout cuisine. Chefs create signature beer-bathed burgers—perhaps their centerpiece—by searing half-pound patties of ground sirloin on a steam grill. These treats as well as 38 beers on tap are available throughout the day and well into the night, as the kitchen stays open and cooking until 1 a.m.
The high-ceilinged dining area combines the scattered booth seating of a roadside diner with the intimate lighting and ambiance of a neighborhood bar. Metal lanterns hang over each table, framed collections of beer-bottle labels decorate the walls, and flat-screen televisions entertain patrons with sports and endless footage of the United States’ secretary of education playing Trivial Pursuit.
Lucky Strike Lanes' polished, retro-sleek atmosphere and state-of-the-art technology lets sphere-hurlers pitch heavy urethane baseballs down a slick aisle toward precisely placed whitewashed wooden sticks in the high style of a '60s ad executive or a top-hatted cartoon penguin. Each of the alley's colorful, state-of-the-art bowling lanes comes with electronic scoring, customizable presentations, and psychedelic lighting. Diehard sport devotees, meanwhile, can catch up on the day's sporting matches at the bar, where high-definition plasma screens broadcast the heart-pounding action of championship Chinese checkers with flawless clarity. Or retire to one of the 12 pool tables for an evening of hustling and counter-hustling.
Inside Kings, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of clattering sounds and uproarious cheers. The noise might stem from the bowling section, where glowing squares of abstract, retro wall art bookend the alleys. It might also come from ricocheting billiard balls, a well-aimed skee-ball, or a shuffleboard shot in the game room. Maybe someone spotted a celebrity—Bill Murray, Salma Hayek, and Lady Gaga are all on an extensive list of past famous visitors.
Wherever their origins, the telltale echoes of competition and camaraderie beckon to guests throughout the venue. They're accompanied in the air by the scents of comfort food, from staples such as sesame ginger wings to inventive fusions such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Sweeter aromas waft from multiple bars as the staff flavors martinis with gummy bears, pop rocks, and ice cream instead of the traditional fixings, olives or entire lemons on toothpicks.
As for sights, the surroundings blend vintage flair with luminous technology. More than 30 high-definition televisions line the space, broadcasting sports games and bowling scores. Though the game-room amenities differ slightly based on the town—Boston's Back Bay has six Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables, and Dedham boasts four miniature-roller-ball lanes—each Kings location hosts group events, including parties and corporate getaways where you can finally laugh at your boss's ridiculous shoes. Weekly themed nights for the public also encourage dancing, karaoke, and trivia.