A few finger-taps on the digital screens inside Ai Tunes Karaoke Lounge's private karaoke rooms unlock more than 70,000 songs in English, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, or Japanese for guest singers to choose from. Servers visit the rooms to take orders for tapas and entrees that range from Asian noodles to stone-baked naan wraps. They also pour draft beer and mix sake bombs or cocktails such as the French Connection—a smooth blend of Hennessy and Grand Marnier.
Divan Restaurant & Hookah Lounge serves Persian-influenced Mediterranean feasts amid exotic artwork, plush pillows, and flowing curtains. Hooded lanterns cast a warm glow on murals depicting a sultan's court, colorful modern canvases, and tucked-away corners where diners share mezzes amid crimson cushions or chairs wrapped in silver cloth. As they dine upon dishes such as duck confit with black-currant relish and grilled lamb with pomegranate-mint demi-glace, guests enjoy the comforts of the hookah⎯a traditional water pipe that relaxes users with smoke that combines a touch of tobacco, sweet notes from fruit molasses, and a dash of wispy ghost.
As wispy tendrils of hookah haze dissipate overhead, diners clink glasses filled with drinks such as fruit-flavored martinis and sup on plates of blackened salmon, garlic-butter grilled shrimp, and molten chocolate cakes with hints of tarragon and raspberry sauce.
The aroma of brewing organic, fair-trade coffee from Brazil wafts through the air at 50th Street Cafe during breakfast and lunch. Behind the breakfast counter, cooks work to reinvent classic breakfast dishes. They flip pancakes made with cookie dough and drizzle them with chocolate or add fresh mozzarella and basil-pesto hollandaise to unorthodox omelets. Farm-fresh eggs and housemade hash browns, early-morning staples, arrive alongside less traditional panko-battered walleye fillets. The griddle sizzles like a knight in shining armor left in a hot car, laden with half-pound patties of Cattleman’s Selection ground beef, which end up on thick-cut sourdough toast with Old Smokehouse bacon and melted swiss cheese. That heat is also reflected in the bright hues of yellow tile and orange accents as well as whimsical calico-patterned carpets. The staff at 50th Street Cafe works to reduce its collective carbon footprint by using recyclable materials.
Gastronomic glamour comes standard at London Bistro, a combination eclectic-fare restaurant and after-hours lounge, dishing up Indian-, Kenyan-, and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Sink incisors into international menu items, such as the Oxford beef stew, featuring beef cuts simmered in brown sauce and veggies and paired with the cultural carbs of basmati rice or chapati bread ($10). The Kings Cambridge crab cakes features two crustacean circles trading for plate territory with claw-signed treaties, then relaxing among a garden of mixed greens drizzled in a mango sauce ($15). Parched patrons can wash down mouthfuls of sausage and mashed potatoes from the bangers and mash ($10) with a free cocktail Tuesdays through Thursdays.
MidCity Cafe sates hunger pangs and quenches thirsty throats with a menu stuffed with eclectic cuisine, soda and coffee drinks, and creative martinis. Un-pitted french olives adjudicate as slices of toasted pita bread swan dive into the Mediterranean-style hummus plate ($7.25), allowing chefs to focus their cooking goggles on artfully bundling pork, shrimp, and vegetables into crunch-laden fried spring rolls ($4.94). For heartier fare, hands can happily wrap around MidCity’s banh mi ($5.95–$8.95), a Saigon-style sandwich built on a foundation of crispy baguette and layered with pickled daikon, fresh jalapeño, and a choice of meaty or meat-free protein. Fuel liquid lust with a selection from 15 inventive Grey Goose martinis ($9 each), such as the French Toast martini, which whips up a Bond-style breakfast of Amarula fruit cream liqueur, Frangelico, and a dash of self-destructing cinnamon.