Crowned the Best Irish Pub of 2010 by CityVoters, Brubaker's serves up an extensive menu of pub edibles alongside a lively atmosphere and TVs sporting the latest in athletic endeavors. Quiet nagging hunger mufflers with appetizers such as barbecue-chicken potato skins ($5.75) and the super pretzel with mustard, salsa, or nacho cheese ($2), or tongue-dive into a specialty dish, such as the chicken cordon "bru" ($6.75), the buffalo-chicken wrap ($5.50), or the mega dog ($4). Brubaker's burritos wrap various fillings in the fresh-baked arms of nine-inch tortillas and come in varietals such as the Popeye ($5.50), a hulkifying combination of spinach-artichoke dip, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing. Brubaker's also offers a wide-ranging beer selection to indulge the fermented fantasies of Prohibition-era taste buds.
A railroad-themed eatery in a refurbished train depot where canoes and stagecoaches hang from the ceiling, The Pufferbelly Ltd. serves hearty American fare such as smoked St. Louis–style ribs and reubens made of corned beef or sautéed grouper. For Sunday brunch, cooks build a sprawling buffet from housemade muffins, eggs benedict, and crispy, made-to-order waffles. As festive as a piñata stuffed with birthday cakes, friendly staffers throw seasonal parties galore, from breezy autumn clam bakes to vibrant Mardi Gras fetes.
Beach volleyball and bowling lanes seldom come in the same package—unless you happen to be at Kent Lanes. The indoor and outdoor facility pairs two regulation-size silica-sand beach-volleyball courts with an expansive arena of polished lanes, letting competitors hammer spikes and orchestrate strikes like 19th century railroad workers.
A full-service tiki bar stands beside the sandy courts, setting the tone with cold drinks and tropical tunes as spectators kick back at picnic tables and enjoy the live action of a game on a 50-inch flatscreen TV. Inside, guests can unwind at the 11th Frame, which serves pizza, traditional grill fare, and daily drink specials. Kent Lanes also hosts volleyball and bowling leagues for those looking for team camaraderie without having to endure a series of trust falls.
Part of the Firestone Country Club, Hackers' cozy, family-friendly establishment is open to its links-loving members and the non-golfing public alike. The inviting glow of ten plasma screen televisions beckon guests to the bar, where Hackers serves a whistle-whetting list of domestic beers and wines by the glass ($4–8), as well as liquor and mixed drinks. Pub classics such as fish and chips ($12), pizza ($12–15), and customizable burgers ($8), vie for menu dominance against vitamin-laden salmon salads ($10) and Asian-inspired sweet and sour shrimp ($14). Golfers can continue to bully tiny spheres off the course and sink their teeth into an order of Akron sauerkraut balls ($6). The restaurant's atmosphere is comfy and cozy, with a toasty fireplace, golf-themed décor, and a wall of windows that look out onto the 9-hole course, allowing smug sandwich-eaters to marvel at how many strokes it takes some people to escape from the sandtrap.
Thanks in large part to its "great food," The Beer Haus landed a first-place spot on Akron Life’s 2012 Best of the City list in the New Restaurant category. Diners sidle up to the bar for a gander at more than 100 regional and international microbrews or cozy up in the casual dining room for German-inspired food, custom burgers, and spirited rounds of Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle. With 21 high-definition TVs, pool tables, and dartboards, The Beer Haus maintains a steady buzz fueled by sports, brats, and the occasional barfly.
At Barley House, friends mingle over tasty libations while supping on juicy burgers, tender cuts of chicken, and satisfying soups and sandwiches. The ample bar spans an impressive 14,000 square feet—enough space to fit disc-spinning DJs to mix beats Friday and Saturday nights, a dance stage, and 4,617 bonsai trees. The kitchen proffers a smorgasbord of sliders, hoagies, pizzas, and wraps to hungry visitors refueling after jamming out to the seasonal live bands or those watching the bar’s numerous flat-screen TVs.