Escape Oxygen Bar breathes energy into Greenville with a bar that bestows all the luxuriant necessities of life: crisp air, mirthful meals, adult nectar, a dimly lit dance floor, and aromatic inhalables. An oxygen bar treatment ($5) enhances atmospheric ambience by blushing lungs with fragrant air, stimulating the mind until it can solve crossword puzzles written in Pig Latin. Tip back a top-shelf cocktail ($5) and dip low on the laser-lit dance floor, or win back your detachable third hand on one of two vast pool tables. The hookah bar ($5 per person) soothes smokers with an exotic inhalant that preps parched palates for socially agreeable dishes such as chicken wings ($5.50) or cheese fries ($4). The value of this Groupon cannot be used toward cover charges.
A visit to Habiba Mediterranean Restaurant begins with a puff of smoke. Seated on the patio, groups of friends share conversation and hookahs bubbling with a variety of flavors. Inside, these aromatic fumes give way to the appetizing aromas of traditional Moroccan, Lebanese, and Indian cuisine. Here, chefs slide ground lamb onto skewers and blend chickpeas into hummus using nothing but a stern gaze. Lamb shanks are slow roasted in a spice mix, and their refreshing tabouli salad combines bulghur wheat, parsley, tomato, mint, lemon, & olive oil. Bartenders pour wine and beer at a full bar paneled in glossy wood, which reflects walls awash with rich reds and greens.
Crave treats diners to the fine art of food shrinkage with their internationally influenced menu of tapas. Tapas are smaller plates intended for snacking, sharing, combining, and carting home in microscopic doggy bags to create unique full-course meals. Crab-cake sliders layered with roma tomato and remoulade ($4.15) slip past dental defenses to tickle exposed taste buds, and fried goat cheese ($3.95) fills tonsil caverns with the echoing flavors of its pecan crust and granny-smith apple garnish. Chefs reflect their global modus operandi with battered plates of vegetable tempura ($5.95), bowls of spicy tomato-tortilla soup ($3.95), and miniature cowboy hats filled with 4-ounce portions of filet mignon ($9.95). Those saddled with heftier hunger pangs can satiate themselves with a large plate, such as duck confit with mushroom risotto, french beans, and mushrooms ($16), before stifling cacophonous sweet chompers with a delectable dessert of poached anjou pear with Grand Marnier sauce ($4.55).
Global Restaurant's Chef Bernard grew up along the sun-soaked shores of the southern French village of Nice, where his grandfather was a pastry chef and his father owned a fish shop. This rich familial and Francophilic culinary heritage inspired him to take chef apprenticeships in Paris, the United Kingdom, Russia, and upon globe-roving cruise ships. His travels infused an eclectic edge into his cooking, which still incorporates traditional meals, fusion concepts, and a French spirit. His journeys also yielded him more than recipes — during one of his cruises, he met his wife, Shannon, whose experience with the front end of the food-and-beverage industry led the pair to open their own restaurant in Charlotte.
Inside the duo's creation, Global Restaurant, electric blues and oranges brighten the space, and crisp tablecloths lay a canvas for dishes with inventive flavors and artistic presentations. Chef Bernard's specialties include cauliflower-goat-cheese sauce, boldly splashed across a seared sea bass, and date chutney and caramelized apples that dance across an all-natural duck.
The menu, which is in many ways a travelogue of Bernard and Shannon's journeys, has snagged the attention of the Charlotte Observer and of WCNC's Charlotte Today, which invited Bernard on air for a live cooking demo, where he seared some of his famous diver scallops atop the weatherman's greenscreen.
Bask On Seaboard’s executive chef Chuck Herrick and his collaborating crew artistically etch a seasonal menu of modern American delicacies crafted from fresh, local produce worthy of a spotlight on Charlotte Today. Small plates wallop taste buds with petite portions of intense flavor combinations, such as the roasted-garlic-and-black-bean blend in the hummus or the spiced cheese fondue served with the butternut squash fritters. Sweet potatoes and haricots verist dance across a large plate of North Carolina trout, entertaining tongues with fresh, savory flavor and astounding card tricks. Appetites unable to determine tummy cravings can hedge their bets with surf and turf, a platter overflowing with spicy shrimp and hanger steak aside creamed spinach with pecan orzo.
Savory small plates, including mac ‘n’ cheese and sliders made with locally farmed and organic Angus beef, pave the way to Crave Dessert Bar's main attraction—decadent desserts. The bar's sweet treats, which earned it Charlotte's best location for To Die For Desserts in 2012 by Elevate Lifestyle Magazine, include carrot and walnut cupcakes and chocolate fondue with seasonal fruits and marshmallows. Chocolate-swirled cheesecake rests atop a fudge-brown crust, and the red velvet cake, cream-cheese frosting, and toasted pecans of the Scarlet Letter layer cake pay homage to the only foods Nathaniel Hawthorne ate while writing The Scarlett Letter.
To complement the tapas and desserts’ flavors, diners can puff on hookahs in more than 16 fruit varieties, including peach and watermelon. Bartenders craft more than 40 signature cocktails, which make the bar’s photographs and canvases by local artists more and more appealing as evenings progress. The loft's hardwood floors, exposed brick, and comfy chairs and couches accommodate guests until 2 a.m. Tuesday–Sunday, and after 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the bar transforms into a 21+ hot spot.