Eclipse Lounge’s exposed brick walls and candle-laden black tables create a warm ambience, luring late-nighters into relaxing and sampling the diverse menu of appetizers, wines, beers, and specialty cocktails. Settle into a zebra-striped chair to sample the hummus and pita ($10) or the assorted cheese-and-fruit plate ($12), while confiding in friends about the travails of the workweek and suspicions about the true intentions of robotic vacuum cleaners. Get a french kiss containing raspberry vodka, pineapple juice, and drop of Chambord ($8), or tingle tongues with a round of champagne martinis ($9). Oenophiles can select wine by the bottle or glass, and beer lovers can choose from domestic or imported varieties.
With today’s Groupon, $10 gets you $20 worth of any snack, smoothie, dessert, or drink on the menu at Firehouse Coffee Company and Cafe. One of the more cool and unusual places to chill in B-More, the café resides in a revamped Canton firehouse, constructed just off O’Donnell Square during the heyday of ghost-busting. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Colors & Bottles' founder Jessica Burley and her band of talented local artists are dedicated to supporting local emerging talent and businesses through art instruction held at nearby venues. Their resident artists travel to local eateries and art galleries, where they teach students of all skill levels to fashion dimensional masterpieces through step-by-step instruction. They also kindle creativity during private parties held at the location of your choice, asking only that the destination be outfitted with enough tables, chairs, and paint-by-numbers templates of the Sistine Chapel ceiling for all invitees. Colors & Bottles has received a nod for their engagingly creative events on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and within the pages of the Columbus Dispatch.
Though Green Forest Churrascaria serves a wide variety of meats, every cut has to go through the same trial by fire. Cooked in the traditional churrasco style, the meats sit above an open fire pit fueled by natural wooden charcoal. They roast on impressively sized skewers, which servers then carry into the dining room. There, they slice tender pieces directly onto dinner plates, a showmanship-heavy serving method known as "rodízio."
The resulting dinners star meats such as lamb chops, pork ribs, and filet mignon that, much like the best Christmas presents, comes wrapped in bacon. Some arrive seasoned with parmesan cheese or garlic, while others rely solely on the smoky flavor imparted by their time in the flames. A hot buffet and salad bar balance out meals with a sprawling number of side dishes, including sushi and seafood. There's also a list of wines and beers that emphasizes worldly reds.
Sometimes, one person can single-handedly inspire another person’s path in life. For Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild founder and owner Bill Strickland, that person was his childhood pottery teacher, Frank Ross. Ross’ deep appreciation for art was all encompassing: he often brought jazz music to class for students to listen to, hosted dinners at his home––which was decorated in handwoven tapestries––and encouraged Strickland to continue building his art skills at the University of Pittsburgh.
The social inequities that troubled Strickland’s native North Side neighborhood motivated him to form the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild as a way to inspire underprivileged kids to overcome trying times through art, the same way Ross did many years before. Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild began in a small space in a residential row house before growing to encompass a 62,000-square-foot art emporium with an array of studios and classrooms, and a large auditorium where commissioned bowls of fruit strike poses for still-life portraits. The award-winning center lives up to its mission “to educate and inspire urban youth through the arts” with a bevy of after-school arts programs that teach critical thinking and help prepare students for futures in the art world.
Kaleidoscopic Egyptian tapestries hang on the stone walls of both Sphinx Cafe locations, while tendrils of jasmine- and mango-scented smoke drift up to high, vaulted ceilings. Though it was once a church, the space now exudes an aura of opulence and leisure that matches the warmth of the coffee houses in Egyptian owner Remy and Syrian Amera's native homes. “Hookah bars are different from the norm [in the U.S.], which is either a restaurant or a bar. It slows you down. You just relax here.”
Plush cushions help patrons relax at both of Sphinx Pittsburgh locations, as do more than 30 imported tobacco flavors that servers can enhance with creative add-ons such as wine, fruit syrups, and talking caterpillars. On some nights, belly dancers, fire eaters, and live musicians wind their way between hookahs. On quieter nights, Ms. Andrawes says you can find people playing card games, chatting, and sampling platters of homemade hummus and kibbeh.