BEST FOOD IN A BAR

Hooligan's Pub & Oyster Bar

Face it, when you're drinking to get drunk -- and Hooligan's is a good place to do just that -- delicate crab, feta, and watercress tapas with a kiwi raspberry reduction vinaigrette are just not going to quell incipient waves of gut-rotting liquor nausea. Hooligan's offers substantial portions of carbs and fried food (often together in the same greasily nostalgic package) on platters and à la carte. Try not to heave until you scarf down a plate of wings and fries. Jay's Awesome Oysters, a most satisfying cooked offering of the bivalve mollusks, are named for proprietor Jay Love, the politician. From Love's fecund and diabolical mind comes such high-proof concepts as discount nights for hospital employees, the revivification of the drinking game called flips, the indefatigable hosting of the underappreciated blues band Geezer, and a happy hour that, on occasion, begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts until morning. This is notwithstanding the 40-plus television sets tuned to different channels but uniformly broadcasting some type of sports (hence Hooligan's dual award: it's also the Best Sports Bar). Though seafood is a staple as well as namesake, and the barbecue shrimp are a mighty tasty alternative to Tagamet, you'll want something piquant to steady your stomach, so do leave room, one way or the other, for tangy Buffalo wings.

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