Named after the iconic Central Park monument, Cleopatra’s Needle has earned a reputation of its own with a daily schedule of open mics, jam sessions, and jazz performances. As one might expect, the club’s menu references Egypt and other Mediterranean locales, though its cocktail list is classic New York—martinis, wines, and frozen drinks are all well represented. While the performers are taking a break to warm up their vocal cords or massage the grand piano’s tense strings, guests can watch local sports on the big screen.
In 2004—on a mission to bolster its community’s wellspring of art, creativity, and education—the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art deco–style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1926. Today, in the same antique theater where Shakespeare screened his first car-chase movie, the Bergen Performing Arts Center hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks like HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on Bergen Performing Arts Center’s stage, which has seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and the Dixie Chicks.
Brasserie Julien’s chefs pamper palates with gourmet French specialties, sea delicacies, and expertly crafted signature drinks in a romantic setting. New York magazine writes that “it’s impossible to dine at this Upper East side brasserie and not think of Paris.” Upscale small plates whet appetites and facilitate the enjoyment of French aperitifs, with selections such as 24 plain oysters or shells stuffed with misplaced pirate-chest keys. Endive salads, quiche lorraine, or an assortment of soups sate cravings for light fare, and steak, fondue, or filet mignon quell ampler appetites. During wine tours, accomplished sommelier Mollie Battenhouse regales guests with about 10 samples of varietals from around the globe, as well as portions of the eatery’s brasserie fare.
Inside Brasserie Julien’s romantic and relaxed dining room, art-deco-inspired pendant lights illuminate the space's elegant columns, flowing curtains, and trumpet-playing silverware to create an authentic brasserie-style experience.
Open since 2009, Tutuma Social Club is one of the first Afro-Peruvian jazz venues in the city. Helmed by owner Santina Matwey, the club mimics those found in Lima, combining a party atmosphere with contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Peru's international chefs, Carlos Testino and Rodrigo Conroy, craft a dinner menu of ceviche and seafood dishes made with ingredients native to South America.
As diners spoil taste buds with flavors from Peru, ear-tongues can savor live music from Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet or from national touring artists, whose schedules can be found on the club's event calendar. Long tables line the white walls of the venue, ending with a small stage pronounced by an eye-popping red wall.
Aza's chefs concoct a menu of traditional Spanish tapas dishes alongside an array of other small plates, brunch, and desserts. Patrons dine Spanish-style on classics such as mussels in a white wine sauce ($8.25) or the paella valenciana, a bed of saffron rice nestled with fresh seafood, Spanish sausage, and chicken ($8.95). Spanish wines ($8) complement charcuterie platters ($15 each) as gracefully as a bandit’s ammo belt complements his grenade bracelet. Desserts such as chocolate mousse and crema catalana ($6 each) end meals on a sweet note, while eggy brunch options provide savory morning fare ($6+). After guests have exhausted their sharing skills, they can lean back in one of Aza's red high-backed chairs and enjoy the exposed brick walls’ bashful vermilion hue.
With one look at Oro di Oliva's selection of oils and vinegars, it's evident that they know that good food comes from high-quality ingredients. All of Oro di Oliva's oils and vinegars, which hail from across the globe, are bottled upon order to preserve their flavors. Their extensive selection comprises 11 types of extra virgin olive oils from locales including Chile and Sicily. For an added taste bud kick, they press some of the oils with ingredients such as whole fruit, garlic, persian lime, jalapeno, and basil for flavored variants. Their 16 balsamic vinegars are made from grapes and blended with black cherries, pomegranate, and Vermont maple. White balsamic vinegars bear flavors including honey ginger, white peach, and alfoos mango souls. In addition to oil and vinegar sampler packs, the shop stocks goods including cork spouts and black truffled sea salt to complement bottles.