Tucked away on a neighborhood street, this sun-dappled wine bar and beer garden is a quiet place where one can savor Italian entrees such as homemade pastas and stone-fired pizzas. Perhaps thanks to the bar’s discreet location, it’s usually not difficult to find seating on the shaded patio.
Chef Kasra Medhat's refined culinary techniques draw from his diverse gastronomic history, from his childhood filled with Turkish- and Iranian-style family meals to his college internship at a Chicago gourmet restaurant, as well as his catering work. Today, Kasra captains Magnolia Cafe, where he infuses all that passion and experience into his innovative French-American recipes.
In the kitchen, Kasra and staff cobble together ingredients plucked during their peak growing season in a variety of meat and seafood dishes. Upon white tablecloths, plates of appetizers and entrees meet with the house's specialty martinis and boutique wines in crystalline glasses, which are great for clinking or playing pieces from Mozart's glass-harmonica phase. Soft jazz music pulses amid the exposed brick and beams that ring the dining room, which is speckled with hanging photos of the flowers from which the establishment takes its name.
Al Capone was a regular at this former speakeasy, and you’ll likely meet equally colorful personalities if you stick around until closing time at 4 a.m. On stage, musicians belt out roots rhythms and improvised jazz lines seven nights a week. Behind the bar, a trapdoor leads to a secret area used to hide alcohol during Prohibition.
At Agami, Executive Chef Kye is not just interested in the taste of food, but in the complete sensual experience of eating it. Those who order the garlic delight specialty sushi roll will feel the warmth of the Bacardi 151 flame it's served upon. Meanwhile, those biting into a salt sun flower roll will hear the crunch of sunflower seeds, and those admiring the wild fire roll will see a colorful combination of red snapper, guacamole, and mango pico de gallo. Sushi is certainly the restaurant's specialty, but it's not all that's served here—in addition to specialty maki, nigiri, and sashimi, there's also sushi-inspired entrees as well as a kitchen menu with dishes such as steamed dumplings and teriyaki chicken.
The attempt to create a wholly experiential dining experience doesn't stop with the food. The modern restaurant was designed with high ceilings, textured walls, and seaweed sculptures, all to create the feeling of being under the sea. Underwater scenes are projected on video screens, and a lucite bottle rack behind the bar resembles bubbling ocean waters. Concentric half-circles separate the traditional dining room, lounge area, and bar, the latter two of which are open until 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
A mystifying and playful new force in the rapidly rising dubstep scene, Skism spins London-bred beats that boast the admiration of such notable tunesmiths as Pendulum, Chase & Status, and Rusko. Bolstered by a head-nodding cadre of dub-dishers, the event promises concert-goers a foot-blurring evening of cavernous bass and thumping rhythms, sure to have them fox-trotting until 3:30 a.m. or until a napping Bruce Springsteen stumbles down the stairs in his bathrobe. Tucked in a slab-free sector of the meatpacking district, The Mid straddles the line between swanky nightclub and ear-bending beat factory, its neon bulbs and light-lobbing disco balls hanging majestically above three full-service bars, a pulsating sound system, and dual-floor bathrooms ideal for post-concert bouts of hide and go-seek.
Its neon sign visible from the Red Line "L" tracks, Aragon Ballroom beckons concertgoers to historical confines that take their design aesthetic from Spanish palace courtyards. The two-storied venue houses a gargantuan dance floor under a wrap-around balcony where visitors can retreat to get an elevated view of the stage or a better vantage point to spot a singer’s lost contact.