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.
Dapur’s chef and designer, Edi Mulyanto, draws on culinary traditions from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan while chopping, sautéing, and simmering Pan Asian tapas and entrees. A reviewer for the Miami Herald praises the elaborate sushi rolls, which include lobster and rock shrimp, as “crowd-pleasing” and predicts that the 7,000-square-foot venue will enjoy “sweet success.” Many of the menu’s ingredients, according to Edge, spring from Mulyanto’s own garden or sorcerer nephew before ending up in small plates flavored with lime juice and garlic ponzu jelly.
A giant golden Buddha statue surrounds diners lounging on the bar’s cherry-red couches or practicing casual heists with the modern art hung on the dining room’s purple walls. High ceilings support dangling chandeliers, and soft lighting spotlights artistically arranged plants and baskets. In addition to delighting eyes during dinner and drinks, this elegant interior also hosts Dapur's nightly events and theme nights. Stop in on Wine Down Wednesday and lift a glass to an all-you-can-drink wine special or fight off the impending work week on Sake To Me Sunday with cups of half-price sake.
The high level of partying that takes place at America's Backyard is simply not sustainable over the course of a full week. The popular Fort Lauderdale nightclub seems to recognize this, staying open only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. But on those three nights, all bets are off.
The club's atmosphere conjures the devil-may-care spirit of a house party that has spilled out onto the lawn. Revelers groove to party jams in an open-air yard and impress new acquaintances in games of beer pong and flip cup. All of this action revolves around a circular area known as The Pool, which is filled not with water but with bartenders. A bit off to the side, you'll find the Tool Shed Bar, which stocks a full range of craft beers along with hammers to break them open. The aromas of a sizzling grill hang above the fray, enticing dancers to take a break and indulge in ribs, hot dogs, and sliders.