The hamburgers are fantastic. The decor is eclectic, rich, and inviting enough that you want to stay all day. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. But you're not heading to Firkin for any of that. Instead, you're making the trip to this little spot north of Chicago for the top-notch beer selection, which includes one cask, thirty one draught, fifty-six bottle, and six can options that range from everything from rare microbrews to a healthy selection of Belgians. If, for whatever reason, you're not feeling a beer, they also offer a small selection of wines as well as a full bar.
It doesn't matter which side of the pond you're from — if you're looking for a taste of the US in the UK, Jackson & Rye is a solid pick. This new SoHo restaurant and bar features a sleek, inviting interior that recalls the golden age of cocktails, and a drink menu to match. On the food side of things, the all-day menu includes such comfort foods as cheeseburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, truffled mac & cheese, meatballs, and crabcakes, while brunch kicks things up with shrimp & grits and steak and eggs. Oh, and as the name suggests, they have quite the selection of ryes, as well. [via]
There are plenty of modern hotels to choose from in Beijing — but if you're looking for something with a bit more character, book a stay at The Temple Hotel. Housed in a temple compound that dates back over 600 years, this unique property offers close proximity to The Forbidden City, while also housing eight rooms, ranging in size from monk's quarters to the lavish Dragon & Phoenix suite. Also on site are a bar, restaurant, art gallery, and large garden and courtyard areas to let you escape the bustling city outside. [Scouted by Alec]
Sometimes being by the ocean just isn't enough. Sometimes you need to be atop the ocean. And for times like those, Velassaru Maldives is an ideal destination. Located in the Indian Ocean just a 25-minute speedboat ride from the airport in Malé, this private island resort offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from humble bungalows to over-water suites and villas, as well as five restaurants, two bars, a full-service spa, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. Assuming you feel like doing anything more than just lounging in the water and taking in the views.
Some restaurants are easily categorizable — Mexican, Italian, Spanish, etc. Some aren't. But that doesn't mean they aren't great. Rose's Luxury falls into the latter category. This American (whatever that means) eatery lies on Barracks Row, and offers up a menu designed for sharing. Highlights include burnt romaine salad, popcorn soup with grilled lobster, and crawfish, although really, almost anything you order is going to be good. It's on the small side and doesn't accept reservations, so there might be a wait if you arrive at prime eating hours — but trust us, it's more than worth your time.
Okay, so it's in a theme park — but if you're a fan of The Simpsons, you owe it to yourself to make a trip to Homer's favorite watering hole. Located inside Universal Studios Florida, Moe's Tavern is an authentic real-life recreation of the animated pub. Despite the family friendly atmosphere, Moe's is still a bar, serving up Duff and Duff Lite in pints, 23 oz. souvenir cups, and bottles, as well as Buzz Cola for the alcohol-adverse, and, of course, the Flaming Moe for those looking for an extra kick. Be sure to get your photo taken with Barney Gumble on the way out.
Typically, anything purchased through a back door tends to be a bit shady — bootleg liquor, narcotics, etc. — but that's not the case at Back Door Donuts. This unique secondary business of Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Café & Bakery is open every night from mid-April through the end of October, from 7:30 pm until just before 1:00 am. In addition to donuts, you can also indulge in fresh apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, croissants, and anything else listed on the menu that's taped to the inside of the back door. Just plan on getting there a little early, as the lines form well before that door opens.
Yes, it's a chain hotel — but as anyone who's ever stayed at a W hotel can tell you, they rarely feel like one. The W Austin is no exception. Blending disparate design elements to form a style all it's own, this downtown hotel offers 251 guest rooms — including several VIP suites of varying size and luxury, from "Fantastic" all the way up to "Extreme Wow". The grounds are also home to a fantastic fourth-floor pool with cabanas, a bar, and a fireplace, the obligatory fitness center, a spa, Trace restaurant serving food from surrounding farms, and The Living Room bar that features four distinct areas: a tequila bar, a record room with over 8,000 vinyl selections and a McIntosh stereo system, a red-hued secret bar, and a screened porch. It might be worth the trip all by itself.
It's a hole-in-the-wall, to be sure — but don't dare mistake it for a dive. After all, what sort of dive offers over 120 Single Malt Scotches? Indeed, Birds of a Feather is a Fell's Point diamond in the rough, with a selection of booze that plenty of high-end bars would love to have. The owner of the place also happens to be the bartender — which is great if you're having trouble making a selection, or simply want to hear some interesting stories — the music tends towards classical and is played at an appropriate (background) volume, and the overall vibe is chill, making it a perfect place to truly enjoy a drink or two.
While the finer details might differ, odds are any dress shirts you pick up at the local mall are going to be like all the rest. Which is what makes Mizzen+Main so interesting. Their signature shirts features moisture wicking fabric that stretches four ways, letting them move with you, as well as athletic cuts and the ability to go from washer to ready-to-wear in just 16 hang dried minutes. In addition, their Short North flagship store also highlights a wide range of third-party goods, including Hook + Albert socks, lapel flowers, and pocket squares, Allen Edmonds shoes, bags from Sword & Plough and Monte & Coe, sunglasses from Shwood, and Stalward and Pierrepont Hicks ties — making it easy to put together an entire outfit in one stop.
"Like father, like son" goes the old saying — and that's certainly true at The Purple Pig. Helmed by Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. — with guidance from his father (of Heaven on Seven fame) and Scott Harris (of Mia Francesca), this Magnificent Mile serves up "cheese, swine, & wine" with a distinct Mediterranean flair. Highlights include the house-made charcuterie, the pork neck bone rillette, the scallop spiedini, and the Panino con Nutella. Not feeling hungry? It's still worth stopping by, as the Pig also happens to offer one of the best wine bars in the city.
And you thought your neighbor's Christmas lights were impressive. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is home to one of the world's most spectacular displays of wintertime outdoor illumination. Located in the Heilongjiang province — not all that far from Siberia — the temps at this month-long event are typically well under 0º C, but make possible the massive snow sculptures at Sun Island, and the main attraction, Zhaolin Park's Ice and Snow World, with huge ice and snow buildings that are lit up using everything from ice lanterns to lasers.