It didn’t take long for Brian Kozak to discover his passion for food: at the age of three, after he first tried shrimp cocktail and crème brulee, he would spend hours leafing through cookbooks and family recipes in his parents’ kitchen. His fascination with food led him to build an impressive culinary resume: after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Brian spent four years cooking for Bon Appetit, opened his own catering company, and learned how to fold a puff pastry according to army-bed making standards. Today, he demonstrates his culinary prowess as the resident Chef at Sage Restaurant and Lounge. Kozak’s influences span the globe: try the Spanish saffron paella with chorizo and shrimp, or any of six 10-inch pizzas. The dining room also has global flair, from its Tuscan yellow walls to its terra cotta tile floors.
Silk Lounge mixes nature and culture with its sleek yet cozy ambience, spacious patio, carefully crafted libations, and nightly entertainment. Guests seeking solace may retreat to a private booth to puff on a fine cigar ($8+), and revelers seeking a pleasant campfire vibe without rubbing two guitars together until they burst into flames can enjoy company at the patio's fire pit. Meanwhile, more than 20 varieties of single-malt scotch rest on hand to warm bellies, including an Auchentoshan old enough to drink itself (premium drinks are $12). A range of unique Chinese and Japanese wines can greet the tongue ($9 per glass), and a cool beer ($5) crisply complements an appetizer of chicken wings or calamari ($12+).
The Granada LA is a party school. Part dance studio, part nightclub, it's a place where students can learn the steps of West Coast swing and merengue one night and put them into practice while enjoying bottle service and eats from the on-site restaurant the next. If they do venture out onto the dance floor of the 1930's Spanish Revival-style nightclub, they'll be treated to live music that leans heavily toward salsa. The nightclub, like whatever village The Village People were from, attracts a variety of people: casual dancers looking for zesty nightlife, and also students of the attached dance studio.
With a name that salutes the community centers that filled Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century, Boteco beckons all walks of life to eat and drink at its contemporary wooden bartop and sleek, square tables. Historically, these centers incorporated the region's diverse array of northern European, Mediterranean, and Arabian cuisines, and Boteco continues this tradition.
In addition to crisping pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients, the chefs simmer pots of Portuguese stew with cod and potatoes, and arrange sizzling sirloin next to rice, black beans, Brazilian pico de gallo, and caramelized plantains. The chefs also use tiny kitchen tools to construct small bites of tapas and appetizers, all while bartenders whet whistles and other woodwind instruments with 50 domestic and imported craft beers alongside wines and mixed drinks.
Providing an urbane setting for late-night tête-à-tetes and fine martini concoctions, Esquire Bar & Lounge sets imbibers within a warmly hued lounge, offset by elegant chandeliers and ensconced lighting. Make a toast with draft selections such as Stella Artois and Newcastle ($6 each). Fine spirits for neat-leaning tipplers include Patrón Añejo ($11) and MacCallan 18 ($18), with mixed drinks such as long island iced teas also available to sip or use to transport fish in ($11). DJs spin on the weekends, soundtracking warm conversations and dance moves.
Named Best Bar by the Pasadena Weekly in 2009 and 2010 and a City's Best Lounge by Pasadena magazine in 2010, Magnolia Lounge keeps displaced Dixie drawls well-lubricated with its extensive list of specialty drinks. Give your gullet a gander with the I’m Effen Sexy martini, containing Effen Black Cherry vodka, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, Peachtree Schnapps and cranberry juice, or toast to the titular tastes of the Magnolia cocktail, containing Citron vodka, infused raspberries, Newman's Own lemonade, and mint. Food-wise, Magnolia Lounge's eclectic menu matches the laid-back elegance of the candlelit atmosphere. Start a chic evening out with a french fry trio of classic-cut, yukon gold, and sweet-potato fries served with barbecue ranch, garlic aioli, and chili-honey sauce ($8) before pairing a grilled steak sandwich ($13) with a non-grilled glass of Stoneleigh pinot noir ($10). The fried green tomatoes, with basil cream-cheese filling, cucumber salsa, and roasted red pepper sauce ($8), will bring back forgotten flavors as it layers on some new ones, and the Magnolia cheeseburger decks out its sirloin slab in a seersucker suit of aged cheddar, caramelized onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and garlic aioli ($12).