Silvery tendrils of smoke steeped with notes of mandarin, guava, and 16 other hookah flavors uncurl across La Boheme Lounge, where silverware jingles against plates of Italian-influenced dishes. Under the discerning eye of the owner—a professional music producer—DJs spin chill, ambient, lounge, and house music that serves as a rumbling sonic backdrop on two floors. Groups perch atop velvety, merlot-hued seats around low-topped black tables laden with espresso drinks and cocktails, or migrate to the private party room to admire the aquarium or rescue friends trapped by overly chatty fish.
Having developed his expertise in Thai gastronomy in Thailand, Colorado, and New York City over the course of more than 20 years, chef Chai Chunton now flaunts his culinary skills in Lotus Thai Restaurant & Bar. Vines of steam rise from time-tested noodle, vegetarian, meat, and seafood dishes, curling toward nostrils with the hot, sour, sweet, and salty notes of the region's cookery. Adorned by a design team from Thailand, the lounge's dining room is laced with leather booths, ornate Eastern flourishes, and antique chopstick sharpeners. Against the sonic backdrop of occasional evening DJ sets, events in a private room launch the sounds of revelry against exposed-brick walls and a collaborative painting by acclaimed artists Pairoj Pichetmetakul and Kittisak Chontong.
At Esquire Lounge, sleek, ultramodern decor sets a sophisticated cocktail lounge atmosphere in the heart of Sheepshead Bay. Track lighting twists above an illuminated bar resembling a slab of ice, reds and blues shine from behind flat-screen televisions, and ceiling fixtures made of concentric rings add purples to the palette. Couples and groups going out after work sip cocktails as a resident DJ spins house music. A menu of innovative American cuisine includes selections such as fettuccine alfredo with truffle butter, seared scallops, and filet mignon with wasabi mashed potatoes.
Tea-light flames flickering through red glass holders gently illuminate the exposed-brick walls, ochre curtains, and plates full of contemporary American cuisine fashioned with a Mediterranean twist at Red Oak Restaurant. Servers flit about the dimly lit setting or covered patio, which sits under a red canopy surrounded by greenery and wood latticework. At tables they stop to present tapas-style hot and cold plates, which balance grilled shrimp, crisp calamari, or classic Mediterranean hummus and falafel. Chefs in the kitchen prepare substantial entrees, including kebabs threaded with lamb or kofta, as well as lamb chops fresh from the grill. Also in the kitchen, fragrant stews known as tajines simmer oxtail or beef with herbs and spices. As a post-meal treat, brass-trimmed hookahs send thanks to the chef via aromatic smoke signals.
Opposites attract at Gallery Social Bar and Lounge, both on the menu of comfort snacks and upscale entrees, and at the bar, where a spectrum of loungers and club dancers sample colorful splashes of fruit juice, exotic liqueur, and top-shelf vodka from Stoli and Absolut. In the kitchen, cooks decorate flatbreads with sweet, juicy pears and savory blue cheese and build sliders from tangy morsels of pulled pork, ground beef, and caramelized onions. Hookahs deliver puffs of flavor to curious palates, and a patio gives guests a breath of fresh air after shaking it to DJ tunes or spelling out their phone number in hookah smoke rings. On any given night, guests can enjoy hot meals until 2 a.m. and the flicker of the flat-screen TV until 4 a.m.
Bagel Schmagel’s bakers combine fresh ingredients to create nine types of Old World–style bagels and more than a dozen handcrafted cream cheeses. A commitment to freshness and quality guides the bakery's foodsmiths, ensuring that each batch of bagels emerges from the kettle with a glistening, thin crust and a warm, spongy interior reminiscent of the Doughboy's spleen. The roster of eats also includes baked goods, salads, sandwiches, and specials, which are denoted on chalkboards. A blue-and-gray-striped awning denotes arrival at the bakery, shading floor-to-ceiling windows and a dining room with lox-colored walls.
In the late 19th century, many restaurants and bars were built with tin ceilings stamped in ornate designs. At The Corner Kitchen & Bar, these elaborate ceilings lend the bar area a vintage feel that offsets the menu's inventive dishes, cocktails, and servers riding hoverboards. The kitchen staff fires specialties such as pan-seared sea scallops with ginger-lime vinaigrette, sesame-crusted salmon, and delicate short ribs braised for at least six hours. On select evenings, The Corner Kitchen & Bar hosts live musicians who perform to the cadence of sizzling burgers and clinking glasses.