When asked what inspired her to open Genie's Hookah Lounge, Farahnaz Shobeiri recalls the parties her grandfather used to host in Iran. “Whenever he had parties, he had hookah. People came to talk about family and politics and also to just enjoy themselves.” Now directing her own festive space, Shobeiri hopes to not only foster a similarly laid-back, convivial atmosphere but also to share her Persian heritage with others.
On Friday and Saturday, belly dancers sway to the sounds of Middle Eastern music, and tarot-card readers divine fortunes amid thick persian rugs and plush couches heaped with pillows and tinier, plusher couches. Friends can pass around handmade Egyptian hookahs filled with coconut-shell coals and dozens of different flavors, including tobacco-free herbal molasses. The lounge also boasts a high-end air-filtration system, which means that the smell of smoke or wandering cologne salesmen never overpowers the aromas of spiced meats and fresh bread from the kitchen.
Though Genie's Hookah Lounge doesn’t serve alcohol, people are welcome to bring their own wine and beer, and servers pour pure pomegranate juice and herbal teas directly into mouths via a funnel. Shobeiri hopes that the atmosphere encourages people to relax and linger over their meals. “We do everything from the heart here,” she says. "Everyone comes here to be happy.”
Inside Maharaja Indian Restaurant, the air is heady with the scents of traditional Tandoor-grilled Indian meats and flavorful curries, all served in a dining room done in striking hues of royal blue and canary. It's easy to feel like you've been whisked away to somewhere in Bombay, but if you look outside, you can see sweeping views of Rhode Island's Narragansett Beach. The restaurant occupies an upper floor of the Village Inn, a stone's throw from the shoreline. Beach views provide a temporary distraction, but the menu commands most of the attention, with spicy lamb vindaloo, Halal goat biryani, vegan channa masala, and ten different types of naan bread.
When Simon and Jennifer Sousa opened Adagio Piano Lounge, they thought music would be the focus. That's why they planned to offer only a short menu of appetizers and drinks. But with Jennifer's mother, Lucy, in the kitchen, food became much more than an afterthought; her dishes garnered praise from patrons as well as The Herald News. Visitors can devour steamed littleneck clams in garlic sauce, chicken marsala, or Portuguese steak while live bands or dueling pianists perform in the background. Bartenders mix martinis and pitchers of sangria to pair with sumptuous entrees.
The chefs at Tap House Grille wrap bacon around meatloaf, top hand-formed Angus beef patties with guacamole and roasted chilies, and put inventive spins on classic American dishes. In the dining room, flatscreen televisions hang above tufted banquettes and a handsome wooden bar keeps more than 50 bottled beers and 24 rotating drafts chilled. On Friday and Saturday nights, live music, comedy acts, and Simon Says tournaments entertain patrons, and a complimentary valet service babysits patrons’ cars.
TRIO Cafe & Lounge is the brainchild of brothers Tony and Paul Rodrigues and their childhood friend, Brian Carvalho. The trio sought to replicate a European-style eatery and lounge in Massachusetts, complete with chic decor, contemporary cuisine, and innovative cocktails. Abstract art speckles the walls of each location's sleek space, where diners sit on cushy couches and clink glasses of sangria over raw oysters and peppercorn-encrusted steaks.
McFaddens Restaurant and Saloon combines the warm atmosphere and decadent fare of a family restaurant with the all the rowdy good times of an old-fashioned saloon. In the dining room, the wait staff shuffles around plates of classic fare for both lunch and dinner, including Black Angus burgers, roasted vegetable flatbread pizzas, and slow-roasted prime rib, with a few treats for kids, such as grilled-cheese sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders, and ice-cream pie for dessert. After dark, the bar comes alive with trivia and karaoke on Wednesday nights, supplemented by liquid courage in the form of beer towers and Ciroc ultra-premium vodka. Weekends start on Thursday with a live DJ and wrap up on Sunday with game-day specials during NFL games and professional rock-paper-scissor smack downs.
The casual bistro charm of Cafe Paragon’s dining room, its dark wood furnishings and glowing box lamps setting an easygoing mood, translates faithfully onto dishes that Gayot deemed “healthy and flavorful renditions of Mediterranean and American staples.” The prosciutto panini pairs grilled apples with brie cheese on French bread beneath a balsamic glaze, while the French burger tops off at 8 ounces of Black Angus beef, with applewood-smoked bacon and boursin cheese filling in the margins of the pillowy onion roll. Entrees such as a 16-ounce rib eye topped with garlic blue cheese butter and butternut squash ravioli testify to the diversity of the menu, which balances nicely between fresh eats such as blueberry salads and hearty steaks and fish.
At night, the space transforms into something of a nightclub. Bartenders augment the Mediterranean mezzes and filet sliders with specialty martinis, wine, and cocktails. Club music, meanwhile, booms through the speakers, willing guests to let their hair down, order a specialty drink, and dance.