Several years ago, 381 Main Bar & Grill had an existential crisis. It was a sleek martini bar with white leather couches, white barstools, and white walls, all accentuated with pink uplighting. It was a place people could go for a stiff drink, but it wanted to be something else—an edgy sports bar that fed people tasty food in addition to good drinks.
So the owner, Steve Baskinger, shuttered 381's doors and set to work on an intensive overhaul. He ripped out the old wood floor and polished the 100-year-old cement floors to a sheen. He created foot rails for the bar with 8,000 pounds of railroad track, and he added industrial-size ceiling fans, 17 LED TVs, and kitchen appliances, including a brick pizza oven.
According to Nightclub & Bar magazine, the new decor includes a 1970s-era Yankees scoreboard and custom-made Yankees and New York Giants surfboards and sharks. It even has a drumhead signed by Ringo Starr.
The bar opened after five months of construction and quickly became a hot spot—locals were drawn to the bar's neighborhood feel, classic American eats, and craft beers. They also enjoyed the freshly baked pizzas crisped in the brick oven, which uses flames made from a fire recipe that's been passed down for generations.
381 is now a sports bar, but if people are busy the night of the game, they can show up for Trivia Tuesdays, Acoustic Wednesdays, and monthly craft beer events. During the summer months, they can sip a chilled beer on the outdoor patio.
Uniquely residing indoors, the marquee at Fabian 8 Cinema evokes nostalgia with its towering lights and brick façade, even as it flashes the current features in digital print. Within the actual theaters, viewers recline in high-backed rocker seats, arranged in extra-wide stadium configurations for maximum comfort and cowering space during scary scenes. Serving eyes a veritable feast of motion pictures, first-run features spring from the latest in digital cinema technology, augmented by digital and 3-D technologies.
Gold-leaf writing inscribed across the towering red portico at the entrance to The Shannon Rose Irish Pub announces what one might expect to find inside: “Premium Stouts,” “Irish Whiskies,” and other culinary staples of the Emerald Isles. Behind this imposing entryway lies a series of dining rooms that have a markedly different effect; chandeliers create a sense of intimacy as they illuminate Gaelic artwork and aged hardcovers resting on lofty bookshelves.
The Fieldhouse Pub beckons to visitors with the inviting smell of American-steakhouse fare mixing with that of Italian, French, and German cuisine. Head Chef Hans Jurgen Stender loads the tables with saucy veal schnitzels, spinach- and ricotta-cheese-stuffed capon, sauce-laden pastas, and juicy blackened steaks. Like 2001: A Beer Odyssey, his pub menu explores beer's longtime on-and-off relationship with burgers, overstuffed wraps, and shareable finger food.
Hanging plants hold court alongside a sun-friendly, greenhouse-style glass wall in the dining area. Upstairs, grainy timber accents define a bar that features a jukebox and stools clad in billiard-table-green leather. DIRECTV sports packages keep guests entertained with the glory of games, and occasional karaoke and all-ages stand-up routines keep them in stitches over the antics of professional comedians or amazed and terrified at human Auto-Tune impersonations.
True to its name, Just Grapes Lounge focuses on wines, with more than 30 vintages poured by the glass and 18 more varieties sequestered on a reserve bottle list. Microbrews, champagnes, and ports round out the lounge's full bar, complementing a Mediterranean-tinged tapas menu. Small plates, ranging from hummus and crostini to stuffed baked clams, are ideal for smothering appetites or boosting a tiny table's self-esteem. Three styles of rustic pizza artfully pair tomatoes with cheese, whereas molten fondue, served in a bread bowl, comes in varieties including gorgonzola and double-cream brie.
By subtly tweaking flavors and adding unorthodox seasonal and local ingredients, Chef Albert Scazafave puts his signature stamp on pub food at Twisted Elm. Sriracha BBQ sauce is used to spice up the smoked St. Louis-style ribs, there's a hint of cognac in the french onion soup, and brie and cheddar fondue get mixed in with pieces of lobster in the grilled cheese. His innovations continue at brunch, which features almond-crusted french toast and hand-tossed pizza with housemade sausage and scrambled eggs.
Twisted Elm's American and imported craft beers complement Chef Albert's artfully plated dishes; naturally made wines are also available. Every Tuesday night, the gastropub hosts live acoustic music and the popular opening act "Musicians Stringing Their Instruments: Live!"