Fox Theatre lures crowds and musical acts alike with an auditorium drenched in the glimmer and charm of theater’s history. Surrounding a proscenium stage draped in red is enough gold to please a group of kings or outfit one rapper with his requisite bling. Bas-reliefs and intricate patterns line the walls while below, rows of seats on the floor and balcony beckon with simple comfort.
At Menlo Hub, both food and art find a place on the menu. The modern restaurant's walls are blanketed in original contemporary paintings, and on some nights, the dining space reverberates with music from live bands and solo musicians. But even on nights with performances, the main attraction is always found in the kitchen. Here, chefs design casual American dishes sprinkled with elements of Mediterranean cooking.
The menus focus on simple steaks and seafood, complemented by organic produce sourced from nearby sustainable farms. The artfully plated dishes include California sea bass, New York steaks with gorgonzola demi-glace, and eggplant-wrapped lamb shanks. While most visitors sample the cuisine in the airy main dining space, private groups eat in a secluded room warmed by a corner fireplace.
At the lively bar, flat-screen TVs broadcast sporting events as bartenders mix fruit-infused martinis and pour a range of California wines, which are made from grapes that are just thankful that they never became California raisins.
A musician strums a ukulele onstage as hips sway around him in a hula dance. Laughing heartily with his friends at a nearby table, one man pinches seaweed-wrapped squares of sushi rice—authentic Hawaiian musubi—from shared plates as he talks up his latest adventures. At another table, the diners sing along with the ukulele player, eyes twinkling as the melody calls up memories of home.
This feeling of camaraderie, the spirit of aloha, is what owner Peter Be and his wife, Rena, wanted to capture when they opened Da Kine Cafe in 2010. When Rena, who was born in the Kalihi Valley on the island of Oahu, craved true Hawaiian eats, her choices were limited to lackluster mainland-style interpretations, such as lau lau wrapped in a tortilla instead of taro leaves. She put together a menu of authentic Hawaiian cuisine, with 10 variations of the hot noodle soup called saimin and 10 types of poke, which the head chef of the mainland's most famous Hawaiian restaurant dubbed the best in town. Classics such as the gravy-soaked beef patty of the loco moco fill the menu, waiting to be washed down with fresh-fruit smoothies and on-tap ales from the islands or local microbreweries. Gluten-free options are also available.
The décor reproduces the laid-back Hawaiian feel that Rena and Peter remember, so that even the restaurant’s stage wears a grass skirt. On Ohana Saturdays, visiting musicians take the stage, many of them winners of the Hawaiian islands' most prestigious music accolades, the Na Hoku Hanohano awards. Performers include slack-key-guitar player LT Smooth as well as the singer Mailani, accompanied by esteemed ukulele player Dr. Trey. Starting in the springtime, weekly festivals celebrate Hawaii's music, its dance styles, and its excessive number of festivals.
Taking its name from a Sean O'Casey play, The Plough and the Stars wears its Hibernian heritage on its sleeve as it captivates visitors with an atmosphere of Irish whiskeys, heady beers, and live music. The owners and most of the staff hail from the Emerald Isle, charming their guests with authentic accents and a mastery of pouring Guinness the Irish way—easing the black ambrosia into a glass as they recite On Raglan Road while drinking a cup of water. Patrons sip perfectly mixed irish coffees as they watch Celtic set dancing on Thursdays or raise their glasses of draft Kilkenny and Smithwick's to live bluegrass, blues, and traditional Irish tunes almost every day of the week.
The multiple award-winning funny comedian, Ash K. entertains audiences with magic shows ranging from house parties to corporate events. In 2010, he was voted the Best Arts and Entertainment/Theatre performer on the San Francisco Chronicle's Baylist, which he celebrated by turning every section in the newspaper into the funnies. Once described by a reviewer as a mash-up of Borat, Harpo Marx, and Emo Philips, the celebrated performer has delighted spectators with his sleight-of-hand magic, physical comedy, Eastern European accent, and his subversive use of the English language. Click here to see a video of Ash in action.
Housed in a venue that was constructed in 1919, Broadway Studios augments special events with an extensive offering of amenities, services, and staffing options. A grand ballroom with two bars sits beneath towering 30-foot ceilings, with professional sound equipment, concert-style seating capacity, and large wooden dance floors lit entirely from the power generated by troupes of performers doing the Electric Slide. Neoclassical décor adds a touch of the past to performance spaces that have played host to famous entertainers such as Dave Chappelle and Dead Kennedys, along with providing the setting for numerous television and film tapings.