It's a timeless scene: a man in a suit masterfully navigates the ivory keys of a Mason & Hamlin grand piano on a small stage, its Plexiglas lid illuminating the hammers as they delicately pad along the strings. On stools gathered around the instrument, a couple dines on braised filet mignon, and a bit farther back in the softly lit, intimate venue, a waiter carries a tray of gourmet cocktails. Every night, Ivories Jazz Lounge & Restaurant sets the stage for world-class jazz players and the culinary stylings of chef and occasional ice sculptor Art Trafton. The menu is loaded with supper-club classics such as beef au poivre, mixed grille, and a diverse selection of pastas. The bar stirs up similarly comforting signature drinks, among them the alpine with peppermint schnapps, whipped cream, and hot cocoa. Around dusk, ensembles that often include founder and master pianist Jim Templeton take to the stage with a blend of improvisation and standards. Nightly events range from jazz collectives to blues players, and occasionally depart from the jazz-club template to feature standup, poetry, and workshops on topics ranging from music to jazz-style stage-diving etiquette.
Question Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar chefs on how their pizzas acquire a rich, smoky flavor, and they'll point you toward the wood-fired oven that burns brightly near the restaurant's main entrance. Inside its superheated walls, pans of crusty crostini, lasagna, and thin-crust pizzas bake at high temperatures that seal in juices and bring out flavor. After checking on pizzas, chefs return to the kitchen, where they fold fresh herbs, premium meats, and fresh seafood into the pastas and regional Italian classics lauded by reporters from Ethos magazine.
Diners at Ambrosia await their meals amid the high ceilings, exposed-brick walls, and rustic accents of a multilevel dining room. Behind an antique wood bar, servers blend specialty cocktails and uncork bottles from the restaurant?s extensive Italian wine list, which was honored with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. On the first Wednesday of the month, staffers host a wine event in their private tasting room, where guests intent on honing their wine skills can learn about different varietals or practice juggling water balloons filled with fine champagne.
At Encore Poker Club, dealers from the nonprofit Kings of Clubs Dealers' Club slide cards across red-topped tables to poker players exercising their wits in tournaments with $25?$300 buy-ins. The club?s staff pays out 100% of the prize pool to the players, rather than using the money to fill a billionaire?s swimming pool. Bartenders mix classic cocktails for guests to sip as they gamble or sit on leather couches and nosh on small plates, pizza, and burgers. Complimentary WiFi amuses players between games, and big-screen TVs let patrons watch, learn, and mime the poker faces of professionals.
Urban Wine Works curates wines from across the world to fill the shelves of their shop and slosh into glasses in their tasting room. Frequent events highlight wines from regions such as southern France and southern Oregon or bring live music into the space. Sommeliers at the wooden bar also pour out a themed flight of the week featuring five related wines alongside a cheese plate. In addition, the shop stocks bottles from the owners' winery and vineyard, Bishop Creek Cellars, which grows pinot-noir grapes on pinot-noir rootstock for a purer expression of the grape's flavor.
Stocked with fresh-baked bread, artisan cheeses, and wines from around the world, Blackbird Wine Shop initiates patrons to haute fare with customized tastings, wine-and-cheese pairing lessons, and cellars of bottles available for purchase. To preview the nose, bouquet, and sense of humor of wines, patrons can sample five self-selected vintages during evening tastings before committing to taking one home. For a more in-depth experience, groups of up to 10 can learn the most pleasing pairings of cheeses with eight regional wines, complementing each vintage’s flavor with three cheeses, olives, bread, almonds, and fruit.