At the helm of L.A. Dance School of the Arts is director Angela Paolino Thompson, a graduate of NYU’s dance program. Certified by the Dance Educators of America, she leads a team that instills the grace and technique needed for recreational, competitive, and professional dancing success. Their twinkle-toed repertoire includes at least 10 modalities of dance at any time, such as tap, jazz, hip-hop, and ballet. They also incorporate acting, vocal, and fitness classes into their repertoire, and offer more traditional boot-camp workouts as well.
After putting up with exclusive guest lists and $16 cocktails at other rooftop bars, a visit to Berry Park is like a breath of fresh air. There’s room for everyone on their 3,000 square foot terrace, where the atmosphere is boisterous, the tables are communal, and the draft beers top out at $9.
The critics can’t agree on which of 12th Street Bar & Grill's offerings steal the show. “Brunch is the draw,” says The New York Times, citing their waffles doused in real maple syrup and scrambled-egg dishes tossed with smoked salmon and goat cheese. New York Magazine, for its part, highlights the evening features that make it ideal for “informally romantic dates.” Crab-cake appetizers come alive with a chipotle aioli, and an espresso-rubbed hanger steak builds on its existing heartiness with a helping of truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. Whatever the hour, guests can sip craft cocktails as they admire the space’s high tin ceilings that hint at its history as a carriage house and sales lot for enormous penny-farthing bicycles.
It's easy to carve out a spot at Margarita Island CI, thanks to its 10,000 square feet of space and 250 seats. Once nestled under an outdoor umbrella or sidled up to the tiki bar, patrons can peruse a menu that features teriyaki-glazed chicken, smokehouse barbecue, and loaded nachos. And as the name implies, margaritas are always flowing, along with other cocktails and specialty drinks from the bar, including a spiked smoothie.
Aside from the comestibles, Margarita Island CI celebrates its Coney Island heritage with beach-themed festivities. On Fridays, fireworks light up the sky and confuse mating lightning bugs, while happy hour is a given on weekday nights. Other events, such as bikini contests and gogo dancing, take the stage sporadically throughout the month.
Boulevard Tavern isn't even a decade old, but it feels well-worn thanks to the historic tavern it calls home. In this restored 80-year old space, wooden booths, wood paneling, and a jumble of books on shelves beside a jukebox lend a homey, comforting vibe that urges visitors to linger. Of course, the menu doesn't hurt either: 12 beers on tap provide a bubbly complement for classic pub dishes such as burgers, hot dogs, paninis, and tater tots. A projection TV regularly displays modern shows and classic films, and a full-size pool table is free to play on Thursdays. But even that might not be enough to keep bar goers from flocking to the rustic brick patio, where heaters ensure the temperature stays comfortable whether it's sunny, chilly, or raining frozen margarita.
Stadium Hookah & Grill features a juxtaposition of pass-times that initially seems surprising, but for those who've experienced it, the combo makes perfect sense. After all, sports bars and hookah lounges both exist to give friends an excuse to sit together for a few hours. At the restaurant, massive sports murals and sports-blasting flat-screens giving fans plenty of fodder for camaraderie while folks enjoy burgers, fries, and wings or a heaping helping of flavored hookah smoke. A centuries-old form of relaxation, hookah pairs swimmingly with a laid-back night of football-watching or referee-jeering. On warmer nights, diners can take the show outside, enjoying beef, fish, or chicken burgers, and sides of hummus or seasoned curly fries.