In a dining room decorated with Egyptian-inspired artwork, visitors to Exotic Bites enjoy a tableau of Mediterranean dishes that range from tender gyros to rich and creamy hummus. Warm pita wraps around sizzling shawarma, lamb kebabs, or kebah, a combination of minced beef, pine nuts, and ground lamb, and stuffed falafels are comprised of a crunchy chickpea patty filled with minced beef, chicken, or sautéed vegetables. The occasional tendrils of hookah smoke spiral into the air, spun from the lips of friends chatting at a table or reclining in a cushioned corner decorated with a vivid wall hanging. More hookah pipes line up against a wall shelf, spaced between the chalkboard menu of daily specials and framed pictures.
Pool sharks and bar flies can play out their own personal film noir against the slinky backdrop of Lucky Pocket Billiards. Figures around Russian-imported pool tables chalk their cues while their companions send colorful balls whizzing across the felt to clack into pockets. Against the other wall, the sound of bubbly chatter rises up from groups seated on black-leather couches. Over the bar, Christmas lights twinkle, sending kaleidoscopic colors glinting off pints of Samuel Adams, Budweiser, and AmberBock. A television mounted on the wall broadcasts sporting events or the latest report on the theft of a famous ornithological statue.
Eggs, ham, and bacon not only make a great start to the day, but also a fine end to it when they top Alley Cat Bar and Grill’s breakfast burger. It’s one of the bar’s many evening edibles, which range from local Gulf Coast oysters to Angus steaks or grilled chicken paired with housemade chimichurri sauce. The bar's cooks showcase their versatility, too, by preparing vegetarian-friendly main dishes such as pizzas crowned with spinach and Alfredo sauce.
These feasts unfold amid nightly entertainment, from 8-balls sinking into pool table pockets to big-screen TVs showing much-touted games. Throughout the week, guests can also croon karaoke, rock out to live bands, and groove to tunes spun by live DJs, rather than iPods wearing hoodies.
Cars embark on a cleansing journey as they slowly creep into Majestic Car Wash's 110-foot tunnel. Gentle machines whip and wipe cars clean with the aid of powerful cleaning products, and autos finally end their excursion under the shade of a large awning. Here, technicians can buff exteriors dry by hand, clean and restore headlights in less than an hour, and offer à la carte detailing services to protect cars from the tree sap and bugs attempting to annex their hood ornaments.
There's a lot to see at Piano Hollywood: rows and rows of wine glasses glinting above the bar, classic Rat Pack photos stretched along the wall, and a bar floor built to resemble piano keys. But the attention generally drifts to the back of the room, where a stage hosts a rotating lineup of jazz, blues, rock, and spoken-word performances. Music programmer Brendan O'Hara often plays here, and when he's not, he's inviting top-notch musicians he met while spending more than a decade touring throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.
But if you listen closely, underneath the blare of a trumpet or the beat of a snare drum you'll hear the rhythmic, metallic rattle of cocktails being shaken behind the bar. There, bartenders blend classic old fashioneds and capahrinhas with the exacting nature of a piano player keying an intricate jazz solo. They also prepare locally sourced seasonal drinks?such as a brown-sugar daiquiri with 7-year-aged rum?which are ferried to candlelit tables surrounded by chic white-leather chairs.
The Jumbotron has long been a fixture at stadiums and ballparks. So why not at sports bars? Himmarshee Public House has asked the same question, remedying the situation with a 300-inch LED Jumbotron that towers above more than 30 plasma TVs showing the day's biggest games. With so many contests to follow, the pub lets fan celebrations and commiserations run until at least midnight; on Thursday?Saturday, Himmarshee stays open until 4 a.m..
Some patrons might need that long just to parse the drink menu, which encompasses more than 100 craft beers, not to mention wines, top-shelf liquors, and handcrafted cocktails. Cooks, meanwhile, put their spin on global comfort food with everything from lamb ribs coated with root-beer glazes to lager-battered mahi, slaw, and chipotle crema piled into tacos. On weekends, the more than 5,000-square-foot pub hosts brunches that include breakfast-themed shots.