Bartenders at The Money Shot Restaurant & Lounge pour cocktails by the shakerful, and ovens bake American and Italian cuisine, including Roman-style pizzas with thin, house-made crusts. Always attending to sports fans, the restaurant projects big games or referee pageants on a 100-inch projection screen and two 46-inch flat-screen TVs equipped with surround sound. In the evening, bands drum out live tunes, comedians crack jokes, and rappers dish tips on properly estimating the amount of paper it will take to gift-wrap Ja Rule's birthday present. Tuesday-night trivia contests mine noggins for tidbits of information on categories such as pop culture and history. As diners participate in a variety of events, platters of favorite Italian fare such as pizzas, bruschetta, chicken parmesan, and garlic Ferraris accompany frosty brews and mixed cocktails.
At Arabesk Palace, diners munch on marinated Middle Eastern eats, before smoking regular or special-blend hookah flavors. Shareable small plates—such as baba gannouj or grape leaves stuffed with ground beef—awaken eaters’ taste buds more pleasantly than swallowing a recording of reveille does. House-made toasted pita acts as chaperone for the rosemary chicken, which boogies all night with jalapeño and peppers in a spicy-tomato-sauce setting, and broiled beef shawarma crashes the party late with main squeeze tahini sauce. Servers pack hookahs with more than two dozen different hookah flavors, from Safari melon dew to vanilla, so that guests can blow smoke into rings or the shape of their missing car keys. Each week Arabesk Palace showcases the stylings of nationally known Arabic singers.
Within the Martini Club's elegant confines, opulent chandeliers and blazing fireplaces illuminate brick walls and lustrous wooden floors, making it a posh place to pick over an eclectic menu rife with Cuban, American, Italian, Japanese, and other nations’ flavors. The spacious wrap-around bar doles out more martinis than you can slosh a glass at, and entrees such as the tuna tartar ($11) and steak brochettes ($12) demand taste buds’ attention. A sushi bar adds Japanese fresh-fish artistry to Martini Club's repertoire of world tastes. The seclusion of several intimate dining nooks ensconced by velvet burgundy curtains make Martini Club a romantic setting for admissions of love or twinning. Martini Club is open Thursdays through Sundays.
Revelers gather around Lizard's Liquid Lounge's antique mahogany bar and intimate tables for open-mic nights, clothing swaps, burlesque shows, and darts and pool-league games. Three widescreen televisions draw gazes to tiny men engaged in sporting spectacles, while local and imported brews such as Rogue, Three Floyds, and Smithwick's whet palates. Homage Street Food's chefs operate out of a kitchen space adjacent to the lounge, where they craft dishes ranging from curry chips to char-grilled-beef sandwiches and chicken curry. Glossy oil paintings by Polish artist Tomek stand out from two-toned walls, and live music incites ears to waltz in 3/5 time on Friday and Saturday. Lizard's Liquid Lounge is a dog-friendly establishment.
A trio of retro bowling alleys lures visitors into their distinctive confines for old-fashioned entertainment. Southport Lanes & Billiards exposes groups to waves of nostalgia with four lanes of hand-set bowling, making it 1 of only 10 remaining of its kind in the country. Outside of the bowling area, sleek wooden floors lead visitors to a line of pool tables, and an outdoor patio gives glimpses of the blooming neighborhood in warmer months.
Seven Ten Lounge, home to a bowling alley, billiard parlor, bar, and restaurant, envelops guests in the trappings of a bygone era. Art-deco motifs, vintage posters, and mahogany furnishings surround revelers as they lob a ball, aim a cue, or pity the defenseless pins. Local microbrews pepper the draft list with homegrown variety, and house-made fare elevates the menu past a typical alley nosh.
Hyde Park's Seven Ten Lanes not only exudes a similarly stylish décor, but also features gutter guards to contain errant throws by children or carnival musclemen with inner-ear imbalance.
Thick velvet curtains complement vivid crimson walls and leather furnishings at The Play Room, an upscale cocktail bar where area musicians echo over a menu laden with homemade Italian-American bites. An in-house chalkboard scrawled with daily specials and the correct spelling of the chef’s name, while twisty ribbons of gemelli pasta snake through the Famous Pasta Josephine’s panoply of spicy sausage, pecorino cheese, and house marinara cream. Libations flow from a full-service bar, where expert mixologists concoct specialty cocktails or pour one of a dozen wines in the flickering glow of an on-site fireplace, which casts its gauzy glow over the eatery’s dulcet lineup of local musicians.