Bryan “The Brooklyn Bad Ass” Ortiz of Brooklyn Bad Ass Fitness dons many hats—the headband of a certified personal trainer, the cushioned headgear of a boxing instructor, and the top hat of a fitness-book author. Dedicated to a no-nonsense approach to fitness, Bryan conducts morning and evening weekday boot camps that whip up to 20 students into shape with intense interval training, eschewing monotonous fitness routines such as treadmill running or elephant lifting. To complete lifestyle changes, Bryan outfits guests with meal plans, customizing diets to match energy requirements. Bryan’s Wedding Body boot camp, personal-training sessions, and weight-loss challenges can all be customized to suit guests’ specific fitness goals.
Founded by Queens native and The Late Late Show vet Steve Hofstetter, Laughing Devil Comedy Club lobbed its inaugural laughs in late 2011. Its debut on the city's comedy scene came after weeks of anticipation and attention in the New York Post, the Queens Courier, and the Queens Tribune. Within its intimate 70-seat venue, bartenders draw from a top-shelf drink menu to forge potions such as The Andy Kaufman's blend of Saint Germain, Patrón tequila, and pineapple or pour drafts of Chimay Triple, brewed in the traditional manner by Belgian prop comics.
Undead Music Festival celebrates the eternal pioneers of New York's instrumental and jazz scene with four nights of artist-oriented concerts and events. The jubilee of jams kicks off with Wednesday night's marathon of concerts at Le Poisson Rouge. Audience members migrate as freely as birds with jetpacks between the three neighboring venues. Playing Le Poisson Rouge that night are Elysian Fields, where Jennifer Charles's sultry vocals breeze over dark instrumentals, and Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra with TK Wonder, whose vocals infuse the bare, layered trip-hop with a subdued intensity. Sullivan Hall features Stabbing Eastward, with Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio notoriety, and the Chicago Underground Duo grace Kenny's Castaways with a mature sound, rooted in jazz fusion.
At Therapy Wine Bar, upscale bar fare and New World wines create the conditions for nightlife to thrive in the incubating glow of hanging lamps. Servers haul tapas and charcuterie past exposed-brick and lime-green walls en route to the bar, outdoor seating area, or private lounge area, which contains more pillows than an insomniac's trash can. A mishmash of tables and chairs populates the remaining floor space, where visitors can lounge while conversing or playing games of backgammon.
It’s hard to miss anything on Twenty3 Supper Club’s menu. The restaurant has actually commissioned menus that light up when you open them, meaning they’re easy to read despite the dark retro-Vegas-nightclub atmosphere and the fact that miner helmets are no longer in vogue. Good thing, too. It would be a shame to overlook, for example, the section on small plates, which includes grilled sand shark in pineapple salsa and shrimp and chorizo on toasted Cuban bread. Order enough of them and the plates can be a meal in themselves, or else they can function as appetizers for the 23-oz. dry-aged rib-eye or the grilled lamb over chickpea hummus and cucumber salsa. After dinner, stick around for a trendy martini at the glowing blue bar and listen to the thumping beats of a live DJ.
The Dram Shop Bar's menu lays out a succinct tale of stackable, 100% fresh ground-beef patties further explicated by American fare. Dram Shop's burgers, which can fly solo ($9), double up ($10), or triple in meat-weight ($11), don toppings and pair off with a serving of fries, hand-cut by serrated fingers. Drop the beef for just a pile of the fries, which come with a choice of roasted garlic aioli, chipotle mayo, salsa rosa, or house-made ranch ($6, choose three sauces for $2 extra), or break culinary tradition with Miss McGrath's irish nachos, which smother fries with bacon, cheese, sour cream, green onions, salsa, and pickled jalapeños ($9).
Inside the kitchen of TriniSoul, students get the opportunity to face down the scotch bonnet—a lantern-shaped pepper that smolders with 50 times more heat than a jalapeño. The heavy-duty pepper is just one of the extraordinary ingredients introduced to students by Chef D, a Caribbean native who holds court during cooking classes that center around the recipes she grew up enjoying. Her foray into culinary instruction started as a few simple classes on the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, but her teaching style developed a rabid following, and Chef D's curriculum has grown to cover many types of Caribbean cuisine as well as American-style soul fare. More than 6,000 students have enrolled in Chef D's classes, which can accommodate groups of up to 24 in TriniSoul's kitchen as well as private instruction in one's own kitchen or properly equipped subway car.