A tree is something you might not expect to see inside a bar. But Mystic Water Kava Bar has one?and it's everywhere. Every look around yields views of the sculpted banyan tree's gnarled branches and roots tracing along the interior, giving the space the feel of being underground or in a secret lair. And the signature drink is just as unique. Kava, a traditional Polynesian drink said to have soothing properties, is served in a large bowl with small coconut shells that are used to dip into the concoction and to sip from. Beyond the drink's relaxing ways, the whole place feels like a haven for unwinding, with live funk and soul groups performing regularly, a yoga studio on premises, and plenty of space to let loose or meet up with your friend with the really calming voice.
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.
Cuenca Cigars houses 80 varieties of factory and hand-rolled cigars within its forest-green and yellow walls, offering single and box smokes, humidors, and parcels of tobacco. On temperate days, rings of flavored smoke drift skyward from Cuenca's outdoor lounge while indoor patrons pick out cigars such as the H-Upmann ($7.35 each) and the Montecristo 75th Anniversary ($18). Accessories such as Craftsman double-blade cigar cutters ($3.50) help smokers to cut cigars down to size without the hassle of using a saber or unconstructive criticism. Enjoy pleasing puffs of session cigars such as the Romeo y Julieta Cedro Deluxe No. 2 (5.70 each), or inhale sips of complimentary cappuccino and espresso in Cuenca’s indoor lounge while checking emails on the complimentary WiFi.
America's Backyard hosts daily drink specials and events that include the beer-pong-fueled College Night, and Lady's Night, where women drink premium cocktails free of charge. Those whose feet are trapped in perpetual motion can slip into a pair of dancing shoes and head to one of the DJ dance parties. After working up an appetite on the dance floor, patrons can select from a menu brimming with American eats, such as heaping servings of pound 4 pound wings available in one-pound ($8.75), two-pound ($15.75), and five-pound ($34.75) proportions. And classically conditioned diners can spruce up a half-pound Backyard burger ($8.75) with a guzzle from das boot, which is filled past the ankle with a choice of imported ($11.75) or domestic ($10.75) beer.
This sophisticated yet casual restaurant and jazz club serves up an eclectic menu of tapas, gourmet pizzas, and sandwiches to the tunes of a rotating line-up of jazz and blues virtuosos. Amid the classic 1940's atmosphere of cozy seating, intimate tables, trenchcoated men mumbling about the Great Depression, and exposed brick walls lined with jazz memorabilia, create your own comestible set with the Blue Jean bruschetta trio ($10), starring provolone pesto, tomato vinaigrette, and mozzarella olive roasted pepper. Follow up with a gourmet thin-crust pizza, such as the classic margarita pizza ($15) or the Bianca Quattro formaggio ($15), smothered in alfredo, mozzarella, feta, ricotta, and gorgonzola. After you have used your Groupon for a savory dinner, saddle up to the throwback club's fully-stocked bar and prepare yourself for a night of dancing and ice sculpting.
It's easy to both start and end a night at Blue Martini. During the early hours of the evening, guests can catch the last rays of sun on the patio as they dine on light fare such as fruit-and-cheese plates and flatbread pizzas. This lightness is necessary, because once the sun goes down, guests have to be light on their feet as the lounge turns into a full-on dance party. From then until closing time, guests can keep their energy up with glasses of wine or one of the house's 42 signature cocktails. The bartenders shake, stir, and blend together ingredients to make these drinks, which range from skinny-raspberry mojitos that contain less than 250 calories to the lightly flavored key-lime-pie martini or cucumber lemonade.