At Lava Lounge, parties settle into cushioned black chairs to share drags from single-, double-, or triple-hose hookahs. Thirty flavors of Starbuzz tobacco enchant palates with pomegranate and lemon-mint taste waves, while 15 hydro flavors replicate the relaxing experience sans tobacco. Patrons can sip turkish coffee or hot minty tea in between inhales or snack on simple Mediterranean fare such as kebabs, gyros, and rich hummus plates surrounded by petals of pita bread. Deep-crimson walls and petite red and white lights set an intimate mood as wispy threads of smoke waft through the air and puffing patrons practice blowing smoke inner tubes around one another.
The cooks at Krome Billiards Sports Bar & Grill fry and flip a menu of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers served amid a welcoming sea of pool and poker tables. A half-dozen spicy hot wings ($5.25) ignites taste bud forest fires easily quenched with cold cups of sweet tea or strawberry limeade, and the cheeseburger basket quickly extinguishes any lingering evidence of hunger with a 1/3-pound beef patty served with french fries or chips ($6). Texas toast embraces ground beef, grilled onions, cheese, and mayo in the comfort of the Krome Melt basket ($6.25) and chili-cheese dogs ($2.75) arrive fully loaded with favorite frank fixins and a standard AM/FM radio. Eight 7-foot Diamond billiards tables and a pair of 9-foot tables proffer hours of felted fun for practicing pool sharks, and a free texas hold 'em poker league allows competitive card shufflers to hone their craft seven days a week.
A waiter, hands full of fresh avocado, peppers, and tomatoes, approaches the table. He expertly slices and stirs the ingredients in a lava-stone bowl with the nimble precision of a seasoned chef. Along with whipping up fresh guacamole prepared tableside, Santo Coyote cooks also grill sizzling fajitas, bake spicy seafood specialties, and roll freshly made tortillas that have been lauded by the Arkansas Times at two locations, with one recently opened on Pleasant Ridge Road. Meanwhile, bartenders blend their staggering selection of more than 100 tequilas into specialty margaritas beneath the metal sun sculptures that adorn the walls.
The decorative photographs and hand-placed tiles in Bar Louie may emanate a cosmopolitan elegance, but, at the core, the bar persists as a local establishment known for its signature martinis. The Pom Peche and S’Mores martinis represent just a fraction of a libation list longer than Rapunzel's motorcade; this list also includes margaritas and mojitos, beer, and wine. The food menu fills space left after cocktails with traditional American eats, including the Louie Burger, topped with grilled onion, provolone cheese, and spicy giardiniera sauce, and beer-battered fish 'n' chips.
Mallard's Bar echoes the era of classic cocktails with its shaken and stirred elixirs, refined pub fare, and decadent 19-page cigar menu. Bartenders muddle fizzy flavors into Brandon's Gin Collins with fresh-squeezed lemon, simple syrup, and a topper of tonic and fruit ($8). Dozens of premium liquors ($8) can be used as props in British secret-agent costumes, and sultry glasses of red wines ($8–$10) seduce lips with jammy hints of cherry, plum, and blackberry. Set a savory base for libation-laced interludes with selections from the bar menu, such as Southern fried chicken tenders dressed in honey-mustard duds ($9.95) or a capriccio hamburger outfitted with a half-pound Angus patty and seasoned fries ($10.50).