Rusty's Rhythm Club's founder, the hyperqualified Rusty Frank, took to dancing at the tender age of 6, and has been light-tripping professionally since her college days. Since then, she has been inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame and has performed in locations from the Hollywood Bowl to Disneyland and other worldwide locales. Rusty is joined in instruction by her effusive teachers, who bear multitudinous dancing awards as well as an actual portal to 1920s-1940s America.
They impart the dancing skills of the 1940s at both Rusty's Rhythm Club, a weekly swing dance emporium, and Lindy by the Sea beginning-class series, a dance school for all experience levels. Rusty's Rhythm Club sharpens soles with an all-ages dance fest accompanied by the tunes and Prohibition-era conversational topics of live bands in the air-conditioned Westchester Elks Lodge in Playa del Rey.
A Buddha statue sits serenely against one wall inside Lotus, a spot that's part art venue, part restaurant, and part indoor hookah garden. Stalks of bamboo support the bar and the tables where diners grasp sushi with chopsticks or submerge thinly sliced steak, seasonal vegetables, and other morsels into Japanese Shabu-Shabu filled with boiling kelp water.
Fruity smoke drifts through the open space of the hookah garden, melding with fragrant steam from cups of hot tea. Egyptian rugs and massive cushions create an opulent, relaxing vibe for puffing away or sipping a cocktail.
At Kah Asian Restaurant & Lounge, Chef Vit Suttichanond blends Thai, Japanese, and Chinese flavors into pan-regional cuisine that Easy Reader News has praised for its presentation and its approachable flavor combinations. Familiar Thai curries and noodle dishes fill most of the menu, although wok-fried orders of kung pao chicken and meaty fried rice lend distinctly Chinese touches as well. The sushi chefs also breathe new life into sushi-bar staples with inventive aesthetic details, such as the crimson slivers that explode from the center of the dynamite roll.
Sconce-lit walls and exposed ceiling beams surround the dining room's gleaming wooden tables. Separated by a line of high-backed booths, the lounge area's backlit bar brims with potent spirits and a collection of bottled sakes that diners can knock over in hopes of winning an enormous stuffed animal.
Gasser Lounge's tap masters sling craft brews and signature cocktails within a sleek, low-lit hangout that emanates rock-'n'-roll vibes with tables made from tires, red-leather booths, and shrines to Johnny Cash. A Harley V-twin-engine beer tap combines the spirit of the open road with the joviality of sipping on a lively libation more effectively than a stationary-bike-powered wine press, pouring Gasser's house draft, Bitchin' Brew ($3) as well as microbrew favorites including Lagunitas IPA and Mama's Little Yella Pils ($5).
Nikki's creative assortment of tasty appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees lays the foundation for a bevy of specialty beach beverages. Treat your table to a plate of Nikki's homemade nachos, piled high with beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole ($8, add chicken or steak for an extra $3), or devour four pint-sized sliders ($12) with your choice of protein to pave the food pipes for a savory entree. For dinner, get your grabbers on a 72 Market burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and red onion ($11), or skillfully fold your green thumbs around a veggie wrap stuffed with seasoned and grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini in a sun-dried tomato tortilla with jack cheese ($11). Classic comfort food such as meatloaf served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes ($14) will make diners feel even cozier when blanketed with another matured childhood favorite: strawberry lemonade made with Absolut Citron vodka ($10). Top everything off with The Half Baked, a half-pound, barely baked chocolate-chip cookie-dough base topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup ($6), just like everyone's favorite substitute teacher.