When Ronni Delvalle grabs ahold of one of her mirrored studio's chrome poles, she feels more graceful, beautiful, and self-assured than when she's practicing any other type of dance or fitness. Fueled by a drive to share this empowering form of sensual exercise with women of all shapes and sizes, Delvalle and her a team of female instructors lead a variety of fitness and instructional pole-dancing classes designed to build confidence, tone muscles, and burn calories.
The team also conducts an aerial-yoga course that incorporates soft cloth hammocks suspended from the ceiling, offering a practical alternative to equestrian yoga, which requires students to form downward facing dogs on the backs of speeding Clydesdales.
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.
Voted "Best Bar" in 2011 by the New Times, Whiskey Tango All American Bar & Grill whets appetites with an eclectic menu of dishes inspired by America's culinary topography. Chef Elliott’s spaghetti sandwich gives dizzy forks a whirling respite with its buttery loaf of toasted garlic bread stuffed with juicy chicken, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and cascading ringlets of spaghetti ($8.95). Pursed lips can slurp spoonfuls of Georgia sweet vidalia onion soup, crowded with caramelized slivers of vidalia petals and capped with melted cheddar cheese ($5.95) before bare teeth shred tender morsels off a main course of St. Louis–style ribs ($13.95 for a half rack; $16.95 for a full rack). Like eating steak with chopsticks, the San Diego tuna nachos synthesize distinct food identities by topping fried wanton chips with slices of sushi-grade tuna cooked rare, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger ($13.95).
Amidst the dramatic lighting and rich tones of its chic interior, Aizia slays cravings with a menu heavy on traditional Asian tastes and updated with stylish presentations. Stuff your tongue cage with sushi rolls, sashimi, and one of an eclectic assortment of entrees, then stick around after dinner as the restaurant morphs (beginning at 11 p.m.) into a high-energy nightclub, allowing guests to wag their tails to the music or wag their heads to impassioned arguments over whether Genghis Khan was a righty or lefty. A multifaceted Sunday brunch ($39, or $19 for kids) helps clear away mounting workweek flashbacks with dim sum, a tandoori grill station, bottomless mimosas, and live music.
Mickey Byrne's boasts an Irish-style pub menu, combining traditional favorites with more contemporary American fare. Curry fries ($4.50) and crispy calamari served with garlic aioli and Creole mayo ($8.95) encourage tongues to fold in half and enthusiastically clap. Main dishes include traditional tastes such as Flynn's shepherd's pie ($9.95), bangers and mash (a combination of Irish-style sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and onion gravy, $11.95), fish 'n' chips ($12.95), and corned beef and cabbage ($12.95). The menu also features everything from a veggie burger ($8.95) to a traditional Irish breakfast chockfull of black-and-white pudding, two eggs, baked beans, Irish bacon, and banger sausage ($11.95, subject to availability after 3 p.m.).