Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
A silence settles over the typically boisterous bar as eyes fixate on the TV set, where the ball hangs in midair before carrying over the fence, falling through the hoop, or landing in the arms of a receiver. Before long, the silence explodes into cheers, and glasses clink together as more rounds of beer make their way to the tables.
This is a common scene at Happy’s Grille, where sports fans of all stripes and allegiances assemble to watch games while savoring 50-cent appetizers, hearty pub sandwiches, and domestic and premium beers. The nightly crowd lingers long after the final buzzer Thursday–Sunday, when DJs spin danceable hits and live bands rile up the crowd with guitar solos, thumping bass lines, and melodic recitations of the game’s play-by-play broadcast. Open seven days a week, Happy’s Grille keeps midweek crowds entertained with live karaoke and, of course, numerous televised sporting events.
Bowlers on a quest for either recreation or league glory can soak up the retro vibe at La Habra 300 Bowl until at least midnight every night. On Friday and Saturday, cosmic effects add a festive glow to nocturnal bowling (extra fee), evoking the excitement of outer space without the danger posed by reckless spaceship drivers. The center also offers party packages that furnish groups with lane space and shoes but require partygoers to bring their own cakes.
At the heart of Pepz Pizza and Eatery lies its owners' passion for bettering the community. They show their neighborhood love not only through fundraisers and discounts for the star student, but also with an atmosphere warmer than the sun’s feelings for coconut-scented tanning oil. The pizzeria's hefty menu gives diners loads of options, from specialty pizzas including the vegetarian and a chorizo-topped Mexican-style pie, to crisp salads tossed with barbecue dressing and chicken breast. Pasta, sandwiches, and the house secret-recipe "broasted" chicken hold their own on the menu to the unbridled admiration of second-string dishes at pizzerias everywhere. Once meals have wrapped up, parents can kick back and catch some TV as kids horse around in the arcade and game area.
Oak Tree Lanes pulls in pin snipers with three-dozen lanes and a full slate of bowler-friendly amenities. Take aim at a clustered quarry and send your spheroid down the lane, leaving the alley's electronic scoring system to deal with the arcane rules and complex logarithms that govern the tallying of each frame. Two hours of unlimited games will allow you and your marble-tossing crew more than enough time to brutalize unwitting pins. Bumpers are available to help kids and adults with childlike motor skills keep pin torpedoes on the right track, and a playroom is also on hand to cater to children ages 2–7 too frightened by alternative footwear to take part in the lane games. Because bowling, like most rock-throwing activities, is better in the dark, Oak Tree Lanes also offers Thunder Alley, a Friday and Saturday night bowling experience filled with black lights, lasers, satellite radio, and fog machines, giving adults a fun alternative to conventional bowling and helping kids prepare for renting DVDs of Pink Floyd laser light shows. Oak Tree Lanes also offers weary lane warriors and pin pacifists a number of options for refueling, including a snack bar and sports bar.
Gone are the days of lazy bar burgers built on beer-soaked buns and soups infested with over-salted peanuts. The cooks at 6740 hand-build custom creations for the people who nest in the place's cozily swiveling bar stools or seek shelter in the pub's sturdy red and gold wall seats below a soothing incandescent glow of booming jukebox tunery. Because any swimming pool needs pool toys, you can fill your stomach pool with fresh fare like garlic, thyme, and rosemary-marinated grilled herb potatoes ($5.95); signature Buffalo wings in spicy, regular, teriyaki, or barbeque sauce ($6.95 for a dozen); and 8 oz. Flatiron steak sandwiches ($10.95).
Every day since 1989, the bar staff at Group Therapy Pub has accomplished their one main goal: to bring together neighbors in new, fun ways. When guests stroll up to the pub's long bar, they can order a beer from one of the 15 taps or a drink from the wide variety of liquors available. They can then grab a seat and talk with regulars while watching the day's game on the TV or meander over to participate in one of the pub's activities. A pool table sits next to the bar's dart boards, where monthly tournaments and International Dart leagues are held. On weekend evenings, karaoke singers take over the area to belt out renditions of their favorite songs or finally trick their friends into listening to their opinion on the last season of Battlestar Galactica. Though the staff has been consistently cultivating this amiable atmosphere since 1989, they haven't foregone updates. Recently, new chairs, tables, and wood flooring were installed.