Julie Berger's memories are saturated with images of dancers— teachers who inspired her, students she worked with, and professionals she revered. Entranced by the beautiful and transformative art form, Julie practiced dance throughout her life, attending intensive dance programs, performing in competitions, and teaching at local dance centers. Julie discovered salsa dancing while studying in England, and she instantly fell in love with its sultry movements and lively steps. Determined to share the newfound style with others, Julie founded her own salsa-dancing studio.
At Salsa in the Suburbs Dance Studio, Julie and her staff of passionate dancers lead classes in a variety of styles, including salsa, ballroom, and belly dance. The instructors work with students of all levels, helping them master form, technique, and rhythms. The teachers also offer children's classes in ballet, tap, and Zumba, ideal for youngsters trying to be more active or hoping to include a lively dance section in their next chemistry presentation.
Countless fiber-optic cables comprise a titanic custom chandelier in Vango Lounge & Sky Bar’s main dining room, casting a glow over tufted-velvet walls and plates of Japanese continental cuisine. During a typical meal, yellowtail and grilled vegetables may top small plates of crostini, and wasabi mashed potatoes sidle up to larger entrees such as braised-beef short ribs in sweet teriyaki sauce. As chefs compose eel and avocado rolls or slice delicate pieces of salmon sushi, bartenders mix specialty cocktails, such as the Sundance with Absolut Raspberri and Godiva white-chocolate liqueur. Luxe decorations—including wall nooks that display sleek bottles of vodka and a wall that holds 200 inlaid fresh roses every night—dapple the 8,000-square-foot lounge. Upstairs on the roof deck, revelers can admire the surrounding skyline from a seat at the bar, boogie on the dance floor to nightly DJs, or secretly read comic books under the covers of king-size lounge beds.
The meat-and-seafood-centric dinner menu's combines local ingredients with fresh seasonal selections. Start with a seafood tasting appetizer ($24), which offers up sauces and condiments for a marine menagerie of oysters, clams, blue prawns, scallops, crab claw, and mussel salad for the landlocked sailor or supping siren. Entrees feature elegantly updated classics such as Pennsylvania rabbit bolognese with tagliatelle pasta, pancetta, and pecorino Romano ($24), or Black Angus beef tenderloin that's blissfully bathed in red wine beef sauce ($25). Finish with a whimsical sweet treat such as the lemon olive oil cake with honey marscapone cream and blackberry lime sorbet ($9). Pull up an upholstered chair beneath the pearl-bedecked chandelier and sip on a selection from the extensive wine and cocktail list while drinking in sweeping city views.
North bowl is anything but a typical bowling alley. Previously a mechanic's garage, North Bowl Lounge n Lanes was completely overhauled in 2006 before reopening as a swank, 21,000-square-foot retro-style bowling alley and nightclub. With two floors, an upscale comfort food menu, a large bar, and a vast sweep of polished wood lanes, it's become a North Philadelphia gathering place for the 21-and-over crowd.
The food here isn't anything like typical bar fare, either. Upstairs in the cafe, diners munch on Baja-style fish tacos with housemade salsa or Cajun mac n' cheese as they overlook the lanes below through windows. After bowling, there's more fun to be had in the retro arcade, where video games and pinball machines offer a form of competition that requires no heavy lifting and wearing special shoes is optional.
At two locations, Top Hat Dance Studio's passionate team of nationally certified teachers inspires dancers of all skill levels to shuffle off to Buffalo while hustling, salsaing, and waltzing across the dance floor. During group lessons, skilled instructors teach guests to untangle left feet while performing intricate, stylized choreography in the Lancaster location's two-step, ballet, and West Coast swing classes or the Philadelphia location's salsa, bachata, and advanced-level chicken-dance classes. Fledgling fleetfooters can supplement group sessions with private lessons, during which feet will learn to tap out Morse-code messages to a far-away dance partner while sharpening skills with one-on-one instruction. In addition to these dance classes, instructors also specialize in preparing engaged couples for their first dance and offer a number of specially designed youth programs.