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.
Set in a low brick building on the western edge of San Diego’s East Village, Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar is a reconfigured work space that’s been laid out to take advantage of a relaxed, downtown vibe. The 1912 warehouse corner space is arranged with plentiful WiFi for afternoon meetings and casual dining, including thin-crust brick oven pizzas like their signature mashed potato pie. There’s a chain-curtained central VIP lounge for special group events, and the long bar is bordered by huge garage doors rolled up most days, with a pool table near the back wall. The seating invites conversations on low, upholstered platforms that can be wheeled into comfy configurations to fit the size of your party.
Community, a selectively simple menu, craft brews, fun wines and sake would be enough to make 98 Bottles a go-to hang-out, but the owners locked that distinction down by insuring that The Back Room performance space hosts live entertainment most nights as well. The slim loft and main floor are filled with dark, comforting woods and tones, textured chrome and splashed with color, fabric and art. A garage door rolls up to reveal a patio and the urban chic lay out expands effortlessly, allowing for multiple uses from private events, from weddings to bazaars. Nearby garage parking makes 98 Bottles a breeze to get into – so long as you’re over 21.
There's a distinctly cosmopolitan vibe to Imperial House, which has been family-owned for close to four decades. Inside, diners sip martinis in button-back leather booths as tuxedo-clad servers ignite bananas flambé tableside. The menu offers starters of salmon and caviar before moving on to such gourmet entrées as broiled lobster tail and rack of lamb. There's even a classy edge to the bar eats, from prime rib sliders to truffle fries sprinkled with sea salt.
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).
Maya Angelou knows why the caged bird sings, but at Side Bar the more relevant question is why the caged DJ spins. Suspended above the dance floor in the ultra lounge’s enormous birdcage, DJs flanked by sensual go-go dancers blast an onslaught of dance hits, a spectacle that has earned the club mentions by Us Weekly, 944 Magazine, and NBC San Diego. A series of smaller birdcages also dangle from the lofted ceiling, floating above a sprawl of mismatched leather booths and velvet couches. At the bar, head bartender Isaac Krejci crafts a steady stream of his signature cocktails, while staffers deliver bottle service to patrons in VIP booths. On breaks from the dance floor, night owls can recharge their robotic hip-swiveling leg braces with plates of bar food such as wings, specialty pizzas, and strombolis.