Red C Lounge's no-frills show posters promise two things: chest-pounding beats and plenty of drinks. DJs deliver those beats in a variety of styles, delving into the jazz-influenced rhythms of deep house on Tuesdays or sampling the long-forgotten hooks of obscure soul or jazz on Rare Groove Fridays. The bartenders also offer a variety of drink service, sliding gin cocktails to customers seated on bar stools or providing bottle service for those who stake a claim to a table by draping their pants over a chair.
Zen Cafe’s chefs have honed the art of inventive hand rolls, working in the media of seaweed, sushi rice, and fresh fish. Serious dinner diners can loosen up chopstick implants with manila-fried chicken skewers ($7) or a sashimi trifecta of maguro, hamachi, and nama sake pieces ($16). Wrapped-up eight-piece edibles include the assertive Seal the Deal roll ($11), stocked with crab and avocado before being deep-fried and decorated with shrimp, avocado, and eel sauce, and the classic california roll ($7). Brave eaters can conquer the Godzilla roll ($11), loaded with spicy tuna and tempura-fried, then garnished with a seaweed salad, seared tuna, and sriracha—a traditional sauce made from sun-ripened chilis and one-a-day whale vitamins. Swigs of Midori melon sake ($7) soothe hard-tasting tongues, and creamy swallows of white-chocolate-glazed ricotta cheesecake ($5) prep throats for singing to tunes on the dance floor.
Pole Sinsations sets the stage for its sassy dance style by promoting positivity and self-confidence while female students explore a new art form. A roster of classes considers both the fledgling dancer and sentient barbershop marquees with a graduated curriculum for students of all levels of pole familiarity. Instructors closely guide newbies through Intro to Pole Fitness, in which ladies learn proper hand and foot placement as well as basic spins, all sandwiched between a body-protecting warm-up and cooldown. As dancers advance, they work to spice up the choreography with more challenging spins, off-the-floor inversions, and the elusive upside-down light-bulb change. Specialty sessions fold flirtation into classic routines, as students saunter through chair and lap dances or wield canes, top hats, and gloves for a feisty burlesque number. For each class, women should don comfy shorts, tank tops, and their choice of 4–6 inch heels or sexy wading galoshes.
Start with a creamy platter of hummus ($4.75), garlic fries ($3.50), or sweet red beets blended with yogurt ($2.95). Main courses at Ali Baba's run the gamut from a full falafel plate ($11.95), served with pita, hummus, and salad shirazi, to seasoned and grilled lamb chops ($14.95). Meat shunners will appreciate the veggie wrap ($7.95), packed heavy with grilled eggplant, zucchini, colorful peppers, tomato, pickle, onion, and hummus. For dessert, sample a frothy piece of tiramisu ($4.95) or Persian ice cream flavored with rosewater, saffron, and pistachio ($4.95).