Three floors, five bars, flashing lights, and thumping bass are the ingredients that make up the tasty cocktail that is SOHO Nightclub. Each floor has its own atmosphere and guests are invited to wander from level to level, sipping drinks and taking in the scene. A male revue and a legion of go-go dancers add sultry moves to the mix on designated evenings. Revelers can relax with bottle service or hookah at tables—the perfect setting for reading a really good book.
In 2004—on a mission to bolster its community’s wellspring of art, creativity, and education—the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art deco–style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1926. Today, in the same antique theater where Shakespeare screened his first car-chase movie, the Bergen Performing Arts Center hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks like HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on Bergen Performing Arts Center’s stage, which has seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and the Dixie Chicks.
Masters of impromptu rocking, the three-man band of Particle braids funky undertones of bass guitar with energetic keyboards and drums in an electronic-backed jam session. Bolstered by an underground following and a decade of playing together, the band grooves through hits from its album Launchpad with more chemistry than hydrogen and oxygen had on their first date. The seasoned trio, which has performed with Blackalicious and Grateful Dead founder Phil Lesh, will razzle and dazzle Mexicali Club's intimate lounge after openers Shwizz and The 45's warm up the stage with tunes as catchy as chicken pox.
Nationwide Bowling orchestrates a cacophonous symphony of clanking pins and cheering bowlers at 11 modern bowling centers located throughout New Jersey. Center size varies from the Hudson-Bayonne location where 60 lanes with automatic scoring, a grill, sports bar, and arcade games accommodate armadas of bowlers to Garden Palace, which houses 16 lanes, a bar, and a snack shop. At all locations, staffers host birthday parties and corporate events and organize leagues for competitive bowlers or people who just like to chuck heavy objects as hard as they can.
Oak Ale House is an eatery divided in half—one side is a sports bar, and the other is an old-fashioned Italian restaurant. Paintings of Italy hang in the latter section, where families crowd long tables piled high with plates of pasta, pizza, and burgers. The menu unfolds to reveal a mélange of American-Italian staples such as penne in a creamy vodka sauce, and rib-eye steaks that sizzle out the national anthem as they’re cooked. Back in the kitchen, ovens bake thick and thin pizzas to a bubbly golden brown, and grills heat up eight types of hamburgers to sate hamburgervores.
Beyond the guarded border dividing the two establishments lies a sports bar, where frothy brews pour from kegs and live music beckons toes to start tapping. The bar also houses seven flat-screen TVs, billiards, darts, and karaoke on select nights.
Every once in a while the muddled sounds of conversation, music, and cue balls clanking against pool tables spill onto the corner of 236th Street and Broadway. The source of the sounds is The Bridge Tavern, a neighborhood pub with an emphasis on the community. Its ceiling stretches over the establishment with a mural dedicated to Kingsbridge and another mural celebrating the Yankees. Amid a row of Bronx street signs and a wraparound bar, servers fuel the chatter with beer, wings, and half-pound burgers.