Pole Sinsations sets the stage for its sassy dance style by promoting positivity and self-confidence while female students explore a new art form. A roster of classes considers both the fledgling dancer and sentient barbershop marquees with a graduated curriculum for students of all levels of pole familiarity. Instructors closely guide newbies through Intro to Pole Fitness, in which ladies learn proper hand and foot placement as well as basic spins, all sandwiched between a body-protecting warm-up and cooldown. As dancers advance, they work to spice up the choreography with more challenging spins, off-the-floor inversions, and the elusive upside-down light-bulb change. Specialty sessions fold flirtation into classic routines, as students saunter through chair and lap dances or wield canes, top hats, and gloves for a feisty burlesque number. For each class, women should don comfy shorts, tank tops, and their choice of 4–6 inch heels or sexy wading galoshes.
Start with a creamy platter of hummus ($4.75), garlic fries ($3.50), or sweet red beets blended with yogurt ($2.95). Main courses at Ali Baba's run the gamut from a full falafel plate ($11.95), served with pita, hummus, and salad shirazi, to seasoned and grilled lamb chops ($14.95). Meat shunners will appreciate the veggie wrap ($7.95), packed heavy with grilled eggplant, zucchini, colorful peppers, tomato, pickle, onion, and hummus. For dessert, sample a frothy piece of tiramisu ($4.95) or Persian ice cream flavored with rosewater, saffron, and pistachio ($4.95).
Maya Angelou knows why the caged bird sings, but at Side Bar the more relevant question is why the caged DJ spins. Suspended above the dance floor in the ultra lounge’s enormous birdcage, DJs flanked by sensual go-go dancers blast an onslaught of dance hits, a spectacle that has earned the club mentions by Us Weekly, 944 Magazine, and NBC San Diego. A series of smaller birdcages also dangle from the lofted ceiling, floating above a sprawl of mismatched leather booths and velvet couches. At the bar, head bartender Isaac Krejci crafts a steady stream of his signature cocktails, while staffers deliver bottle service to patrons in VIP booths. On breaks from the dance floor, night owls can recharge their robotic hip-swiveling leg braces with plates of bar food such as wings, specialty pizzas, and strombolis.
The instructors at City of Champions include a MMA fighter, a muay thai artist, a wrestler, and an ACE-certified trainer who teaches strength and conditioning classes. Together, the team supplies self-defense and fitness training for every stage of life: kid, teen, adult, and ghost.
Red C Lounge's no-frills show posters promise two things: chest-pounding beats and plenty of drinks. DJs deliver those beats in a variety of styles, delving into the jazz-influenced rhythms of deep house on Tuesdays or sampling the long-forgotten hooks of obscure soul or jazz on Rare Groove Fridays. The bartenders also offer a variety of drink service, sliding gin cocktails to customers seated on bar stools or providing bottle service for those who stake a claim to a table by draping their pants over a chair.
Executive chef Aaron Venezuela helms a cadre of culinary wizards to assemble La Fiesta's menu of fresh seafood and authentic regional dishes. Limber chomping muscles with appetizers such as toritos ($8.50 lunch; $10.95 dinner), which fill four mild yellow chilies with a duet of crab and shrimp that sings sea shanties on its way down the esophagus. Deep-fried chimichangas ($15.95 dinner) stuffed with chicken or beef turn the familiarity of a burrito on its head while the carnitas uruapan combines tender chunks of pork, cooked slowly in the traditional Mexican style, with an entourage of red onions, lime, and cilantro ($12.95 lunch; $16.95 dinner). Seafood dishes such as the pescado azteca ($16.95 lunch; $19.95 dinner), which drizzles its pan roasted mahi-mahi and tequila-flamed prawn with a roasted poblano pepper sauce, allows diners to sample the flavors of the Gulf without the hassle of raiding an orca's pantry. Post-meal cool-downs begin with mexican churros sidled up next to Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce ($7.95 dinner).