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.
Peppermill Pub and Grill combines fabulous fare, delicious drinks, and wonderful WiFi to create an all-around accommodating and alliterative experience for diners. The restaurant's executive chef, John Wright, brings his 10 years of experience at the fine-dining restaurant Chez François in Vermilion to tempt your taste buds, serving up a full menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, daily entree specials, and lunch-buffet bites for those on the go. Start with a savory order of sausage-stuffed banana peppers coated with homemade tomato sauce and cheese ($8.99), or a serving of fresh spinach and artichoke dip with hand-cut tortilla chips ($8.99), before letting your teeth traverse the table to a main dish. Peppermill chicken primavera is a house specialty, with grilled chicken, spinach, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and kalamata olives tossed with herbed olive oil ($15.99). People who like to disguise their protein as a bun will enjoy the inside-out burger, sneaking American cheese, lettuce, and tomato between two quarter-pound beef patties ($8.29).
Plates piled high with Emerald Isle favorites share real estate on Murphy's Ale House's tables with burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and hearty bowls of beer-cheese soup. Irish staples such as hand-breaded fish and chips and housemade shepherd's pie warm up bellies for upcoming bagpiping marathons. Frothy pints of Guinness pour freely into pint glasses or barbecue sauces, which chefs then use to smother baby back ribs and jumbo chicken wings. Pitas and pretzel buns keep slices of corned beef and ham warm on the coldest of nights, and American-style hoagies and burger sliders supplement the cavalcade of Irish fare. The pub's doors, located just over a mile from Cinemark Valley View, stay open until 2 a.m. daily, keeping patrons up past their bedtimes to take part in nightly events and boisterous football chants.
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.
Domenic's Pub is a classic sports bar featuring a menu of pub fare that's served until late (11 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Chow down on pizza, sandwiches, and wings capable of filling stomachs with that warm, fuzzy feeling normally only achieved by hunkering down in a Japanese kitten pit. The sliced prime-rib panini slathered with horseradish mayo and provolone comes au jus to allow for the delightful juice-to-bread exchange ($5). Specialty pizzas such as the Mediterranean (olive oil, shrimp, roasted red pepper, basil, and fresh mozzarella, $6) provide pre-sliced pabulum for bicker-free dining among the mixed company of friends, acquaintances, and old-timey industrial tycoons. Prove your mettle by downing a basket of hot wings, which can be lovingly chased by a pint of Labatt Blue, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, Guinness, or Miller Lite, all on draught.