Hookah is all about embracing a slower pace of life. When seated in front of a shisha, one is committed to doing nothing, at least for a little while. The street cafes of Cairo hum with groups of friends exercising this ethos, taking turns inhaling sweet, fragrant smoke and sipping tea. Despite Pittsburgh’s distance from the Sahara, KOAL Hookah Lounge brings a bit of that mentality to Slippery Rock.
After boiling tobacco leaves with one of 21 fruit varietals, the staff at KOAL pack ornate water pipes for parties of three or five. Though most menu flavors reflect long-established tradition, the lounge experiments with unconventional blends such as the Vanilla Sky, a mixture of vanilla and blackberry tobacco. The modern décor further illustrates this embrace of old and new, with track lighting illuminating a bottle-lined wall, and bold reds encapsulating a row of sleek black stools. Guests can dramatically exhale on the outdoor patio, as well, as they savor hot chocolate and fervently detail the interesting dream they had last night.
Renters of the Vault Lounge saunter past Imbibe Martini Bar's open-to-the-public service area, through a fortified door, and into the converted 100-year-old First Federal Bank saferoom, where they can kick off the most exclusive of festivities. Pop a bottle of bubbly surrounded by classic woodwork and wine racks, toasting to both the classy confines and the newfound knowledge of how it feels to be a million bucks.
Brewmaster Nick Rosich handcrafts eight varieties of beer inside Rust Belt Brewing Company's small-scale fermentation room. Supporters of the brewery can corroborate loyalty claims with a souvenir T-shirt ($15) or baseball cap ($20) or simply tattoo faces with fan mail. A pint glass ($5) or growler ($10) festooned with the rustic logo clutches innumerable bubbly brews in its chilled depths. Though not included in this Groupon, all of the brewery's concoctions are available for purchase, including the Irish red ale, blonde ale, stout, and IPA.
Bill's Place invites hard-working lads and ladies to relax and unwind over a menu that showcases saucy wings, juicy burgers, and smooth brews. Bill's famous jumbo wings ($0.50/wing for dine-in; $0.60/wing for takeout) come smothered in a choice of sauce, such as hot, garlic, barbecue, or honey mustard, and the Bill's burger ($4.85) comes crowned with a golden tiara of cheese and the owner's autograph. Pair any meal with a large side of fresh-cut french fries ($2.75), chili-cheese fries ($3.75), or deep-fried pickles ($1.25), and outfit the noneating hand with a Corona, Keystone, or Busch beer to wash it all down. The bar's televisions flicker with the day's sporting events, and guests can hang around after fingers are licked clean to run the billiard table or rack up a new high score on the bowling arcade game. Open for both lunch and dinner, Bill's Place offers indoor seating for those who prefer lighting provided by neon beer signs and outdoor seating for those who want to eat, drink, and converse with friends while enjoying some fresh air. Bill's also plays host to trivia and karaoke nights, live music performances, and livestock auctions on select evenings.
Inside Mike’s Place, a relaxed setting dotted with sports paraphernalia and a pool table, classic Italian-American recipes meet standard bar eats. As guests alternate bites of homemade lasagna and jumbo wings doused in 1 of 10 sauces, bartenders keep glasses brimming and campaign-finance-reform discussions to a minimum. On Friday nights, live musicians and DJs take center stage.
Krista’s Cantina’s menu turns hunger upside down with sauce-slathered wings and amply stuffed hoagies, all whipped up amid a jovial bar vibe. Mirrors vaunting beer insignias steam up as golden fried provolone sticks ($3) and zucchini sticks ($3.75) roll up to tables with zesty sidecars filled with marinara, and a dozen crispy wings ($7.75) can paint a diner's plate in one of more than 20 flavors, ranging from hot barbecue to buttery garlic. The meatball hoagie ($4.50) coats palates with bubbling provolone and marinara and comes with chips and a pickle to help patrons to meet their daily crunch requirements. Burgers range from basic ($2.75) to fancy varieties such as the all-American ($4.50), which, like a pop star about to sing the national anthem, is spoon-fed bacon, fried onions & american cheese.