Hookahs are designed with hanging out in mind: the slowly-burning patty encourages users to sit and chat for a while as they draw slow breaths. Wicked Mirage's comfortable atmosphere, therefore, is the perfect complement to its ornate water pipes. With weekly poetry readings and frequent game-watching sessions, the lounge's calendar seems to have something for everyone?though many just opt for a simple night with friends or a complicated night with enemies. When it's time to inhale, patrons consult a 70-flavor shisha menu. Its varieties include classic smoke flavors, like jasmine and lemon-mint, as well as more inventive blends, like Wicked Candy's sorbet melon and "Pirate's Cove."
In the kaleidoscopic glow of ubiquitous neon lights, a bartender stirs blood orange vodka martinis for four guests at a table laden with tapas dishes. A DJ from Las Vegas spins progressive house music, sending bass thrumming through the entire club. This is a nightly scene at the ultra modern Redux Lounge, which gracefully blurs the line between hot nightclub and elegant tapas restaurant. In the afternoons before Redux shape shifts into a club, the kitchen grills seafood, tapas, and kebabs, often pairing them with one of Redux' house wines or martinis. At 10:00 p.m., the party starts. Disc jockeys fly in on magic carpets from LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco to spin tunes spanning the last 70 years of pop music. Redux' intelligent LED lighting system syncs up with every syncopation, flashing over the dance floor to the beat of the music. Outside on two heated outdoor patios, barkeeps mix gourmet cocktails for lounging guests. The kitchen stays open until close (2 a.m.) to fuel private parties in VIP areas and excited cheers in the sports lounge. Caterers also rush out through the bustling lounge, toting drinks and food to special events.
The two chefs at Cypress rely on more than following great recipes when crafting their fine French foods. They meticulously prepare every batch of béarnaise sauce and pot of coq au vin using sustainable, organic California ingredients as often as they can. They also take pride in their artful, festive presentation, serving their dishes tableside style on gueridons whenever possible and Cirque du Soleil style when they remember to bring their leotards. Servers, meanwhile, toss salads, sizzle up new york steaks with brandy, and ignite strawberry flambés.
Linger at one of The New Ristorante Forli's tables long enough, and owners Gabriele Davanzante or Russ Belleci might sidle up to the table to tell a joke or spontaneously burst into an Old Italian song. Flourishes like these imbue The New Ristorante Forli with the aura of a traditional Italian trattoria. In addition to a pair of jovial Italian hosts, The New Ristorante Forli cements its status as a cultural bastion by plating classic dishes such as osso bucco and braised lamb shank. Tuscan chianti and California pinot grigio punctuate the restaurant’s extensive wine list. Additionally, dining companions can cast aside games of napkin peek-a-boo and dance to live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Zaika Restaurant, Bar & Lounge dispatches halal meat and vegetarian Indian dishes to tables perched around a hardwood wraparound bar as patrons sink into petite leather chairs and plush booths. Diners savor lamb, chicken, and seafood that has been skewered, marinated in zesty blends, and seared in a traditional tandoor oven like Shrinky Dink maps of India crafted for PhD dissertations in geography. A painstakingly curated wine list, including organic libations, accentuates exotic flavors while six big-screen TVs and one behemoth 80-inch projection screen display athletic showdowns.
In 1941, Wilma and Henry Dorsey opened a modest family eatery on the corner of 18th and Market in West Oakland. Over the next four decades, devoted family members transformed the place with a relocation, the addition of a cocktail lounge, and the construction of a beautiful wooden bar. Today, Dorsey family members remain the sole shareholders of a bustling restaurant that celebrates their Texas roots with country-style meals of fried chicken, catfish, gumbo, barbecue ribs, and sweet peach cobbler. A rotating weekly menu makes fresh additions to the slate of hearty, homecooked food with such dishes as chitterlings and smothered steak, while sides of collard greens, yams, and black-eyed peas garnish every dish with Southern panache.
Far more than a mere restaurant, Dorsey's Locker also treats guests to a full bar and lineup of live entertainment. On Sunday nights from 6 p.m until 10 p.m., the restaurant waives a cover charge for live R&B and jazz music. Open mic events each Tuesday show off the hidden talents of friends and neighbors, while Monday, Thursday, and Saturday-night karaoke provides a socially acceptable outlet for singing a love song to a plate of breaded pork chops.