Guests rarely glance at their watches at Liaison Lounge and Restaurant, where smooth jazz music and soft lighting create an unhurried and easygoing atmosphere. Instead, diners fix their attention on conversations with friends, occasionally signaling the bartender for another glass of wine. Servers dart nimbly around the white-clothed tables, bearing plates of upscale pub fare, such as warm paninis, juicy pork sliders, and smoked salmon bites. Occasionally, live performers fill the patio with soft music.
Busting a move you've never busted before—be it a contemporary ballet move, a jazzercise move, or a well-coordinated move to a nicer part of town and away from that mouthy opossum that keeps opening your mail—is a great way to get exercise, learn a new skill, and meet new and graceful friends. At Midtown Stomp, partners are encouraged to rotate, making the lessons as social as the open dance to help dancers learn new moves and catch the dance bug. Live music during the open dance will be provided by Phat Cat Swinger, a Hasselhoff-approved band that has toured the country and performed with Big Bad Voodoo Daddies, Royal Crown Revue, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and The Coasters.
Formerly a cardroom where Sacramento's poker players regularly congregated to play a late-night game and talk about their crushes, the Phoenix Lounge has been reborn as a 5,000-square-foot sports bar, event center, and dart-throwing arena. Add a wall of flat-screen TVs, weekly trivia contests, and a regular lineup of standup comedians, and what remains is a spot to relax, laugh, and tip back a brew or two any night of the week.
At Headhunters Video Lounge & Grill, Californian wines and draft beers complement plates of strip steaks, prime rib, and hand-battered coconut shrimp. Diners can lounge on the outdoor patio, noshing on staple bar appetizers such as loaded potato skins or mac 'n' cheese bites. Indoors, patrons relax in an inviting dining area with lime-green walls, ample plant life, and ceilings high enough to permit medium-size pet dinosaurs.
Mix Downtown offers a menu of seasonal small-plate items in a stylish atmosphere replete with gourmet-worthy tables, lounge-worthy furniture, and dance-worthy floors. The Mix version of poke ($12) sends taste buds on a crisp Hawaiian outrigger ride across slices of ahi tuna and taro chips in spicy soy dressing. Plates of Kobe beef sliders ($10) and barbecue-glazed baby back ribs ($10) allow carnivores to exercise nature's silverware (the hand). Light eaters can allocate orders of sweet potato fries ($6) or roasted vegetable flatbreads ($9) with herbed goat cheese to ensure that there's room in the tummy's dessert cabinet for a peach melba float ($6).