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.”
In 1999, four college friends founded Newport Storm Brewery with some used equipment and two Middletown garage bays. In the 15 years since then, the enterprise has been on an upward trajectory. First off, it moved into a new, 8,000-square-foot facility. Secondly, they expanded into the liquor business and starting distilling Thomas Tew Rum, a dark amber rum with hints of molasses. However, the founders never abandoned beer, their original passion. Their current craft beers range from Rhode Island Blueberry Beer, infused with juice from local berries five days into the brewing process, to Hurricane Amber Ale with Tettenang hops.
Newspaper clippings placed within Charlie O’s Tavern’s extensive menu detail the exploits of the Patriots and the Red Sox. High-definition televisions let guests watch sports history unfold on gridirons and baseball diamonds. When no big games are on, the staff arranges trivia nights or opens up the pool tables for free play. Diners with a competitive streak can compete over darts after finishing a competitive eating contest or trying to paint a reproduction of Picasso's Guernica on a napkin with barbecue sauce.
Steak and locally caught seafood are at the heart of Easton's Point Pub & Restaurant's menu. From a 14-ounce grilled rib-eye steak au jus to 6-ounce lobster rolls and a fried-clam platter, the lineup drips with surf-and-turf splendor. The kitchen complements its core offerings with not only burgers, pasta, pizza, and sandwiches, but also with flat-screen TVs that air sports games, movies, and closed-circuit feeds of the restaurant's pleasing views on the back deck.
The chefs at Portsmouth Publick House put their own twist on classics. They douse the bison burger with mango chutney; pair eggs benedict with lobster; and stuff quesadillas with smashed potatoes and filet mignon. The rest of the menu, including piping-hot pizzas and soup, refuels patrons during contests and other forms of entertainment. On Thursday nights, guests put their heads together over trivia questions. Sundays offer a stage for open-mic.
Nestled within the King Philip Tower six stories above the town of Bristol, Natalia's In The Sky sits on the very point of a peninsula, providing scenic views of the Rhode Island Sound from Newport to Providence. They compliment these stunning views with fine Italian cuisine. Mountains of linguini in house-made marsala resemble the visible slopes of Mt. Hope, while fresh baked scallops au gratin wallow in a sea of cheese akin to the rippling waters of Narragansett Bay.