B.B. King's Blues Club's stages have been graced with some serious star power: the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, and a slew of other world-renowned artists have jammed there. But that shouldn't be surprising for spots bearing the name of Riley B. King—better known as B.B. King—who’s also been known to jump on stage. Live music entertains guests every night of the week in the intimate supper club, where chefs whip up a soulful Southern-style comfort food, ranging from ribs to fried dill-pickle chips with horseradish sauce.
The Orlando location's patio allows patrons to savor the Floridian sunshine, and the mezzanine level affords clear views of the main stage, drenched in bright neon lights. The main seating area provides easy access to the dance floor, or diners can kick back and enjoy their meals while admiring hand-painted table art that hails from Memphis, just like the zesty barbecue. Three full bars provide the fizzy courage necessary to ask a stranger to dance, even in the absence of music.
Filled with 50 tons of carved ice and most recently inspired by Ernest Shackleton's failed Antarctic expedition, Icebar's 27-degree, bacchanalian winterscape earned itself a feature in Frommer's and a spot on the Travel Channel's list of The World's Coolest Bars. After bundling up in fur coats and gloves, guests can spend up to 45 minutes touring the room's collection of frozen sculptures, floes, and sled-dog huts, raising toasts to their favorites with glasses made entirely out of ice. Frozen stools covered with seal fur line the bar, where mixologists pour frosty cocktails and root around for two identical snowflakes.
The adjacent Fire Lounge allows visitors to warm up afterward by snagging a drink from the full-service bar or bobbing their heads to the mixes of DJ Sher-khan. The pulsing sound system helps to get blood flowing again while lasers and strobe lights scan the room for any escaped snowglobes.
It's easy to both start and end a night at Blue Martini. During the early hours of the evening, guests can catch the last rays of sun on the patio as they dine on light fare such as fruit-and-cheese plates and flatbread pizzas. This lightness is necessary, because once the sun goes down, guests have to be light on their feet as the lounge turns into a full-on dance party. From then until closing time, guests can keep their energy up with glasses of wine or one of the house's 42 signature cocktails. The bartenders shake, stir, and blend together ingredients to make these drinks, which range from skinny-raspberry mojitos that contain less than 250 calories to the lightly flavored key-lime-pie martini or cucumber lemonade.
In the midst of nightly live jazz, diners feast on a plethora of dishes made from premium ingredients, including Japanese Kobe beef and hand-foraged mushrooms, while sipping sommelier-recommended wines from an award-winning selection. To gear up gustatory glands, patrons can dive fork-first into the sesame pepper-crusted Hawaii bigeye ahi tuna partnered with pickled cucumbers and seaweed salad ($18). Served with french fries and chimichurri sauce, the Kobe skirt steak ($29) comes from cows raised according to the strict laws in Hyogo Prefecture, which forbids cattle to date until they graduate high school. Alternatively raised in free-spirited rivers and music festivals, the wild-caught salmon shares plate space with tuscan potato salad, capers, arugula, and a citrus-fennel purée ($34). Similarly sating, the double cut Australian lamb chops are bathed in a zinfandel reduction sauce and paired with rosemary-garlic mashed potatoes ($44).
A self-described “gastrolounge,” Hammerheads Beer & Wine Bar serves up creative, satisfying pub dishes alongside craft beers and frozen cocktails. Its dishes add a subtle, upscale twist to pub mainstays: croissant sliders are filled with bourbon pulled pork, and corn dog balls are wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon before meeting their fate in the deep fryer. Boneless chicken wings and their cousins, tempura-battered chicken nuggets, are carried to tables atop beds of savory waffle fries or sweet potato fries.
Alternating red and yellow walls create a cheery atmosphere, as does the collection of framed paintings and pictures scattered throughout the pub. Regular karaoke nights challenge patrons to lock vocal cords with their buddies and demonstrate their crowd-pleasing prowess by making up choreography to accompany each song. Hammerheads also offers a variety of entertainment options each week, including movie nights and live music.