In its early years, Magoo's Grill was, in its staff's own words, a "nondescript local watering hole." Twenty-five years later, the entrance twinkles with holiday lights, welcoming guests into an open space with dark-wood floors and deep, cozy booths. The kitchen staff hand crafts half-pound burgers, sealing in their juices by broiling them over an open flame. To make Magoo's signature sandwiches, chefs also grill chicken breasts and tri-tip steaks, which get topped with cheese or applewood-smoked bacon. Meals can be paired with a selection of microbrews or specialty drinks, such as Magoo's melon margarita, made with melon liqueur and lime juice.
Hookahs are designed with hanging out in mind: the slowly-burning patty encourages users to sit and chat for a while as they draw slow breaths. Wicked Mirage's comfortable atmosphere, therefore, is the perfect complement to its ornate water pipes. With weekly poetry readings and frequent game-watching sessions, the lounge's calendar seems to have something for everyone?though many just opt for a simple night with friends or a complicated night with enemies. When it's time to inhale, patrons consult a 70-flavor shisha menu. Its varieties include classic smoke flavors, like jasmine and lemon-mint, as well as more inventive blends, like Wicked Candy's sorbet melon and "Pirate's Cove."
Husband and wife team and dog enthusiasts Dan and Catarina Callen founded Barka Lounge as a place for dogs to exercise, socialize, and get spruced up comfortably and safely. An indoor, climate-controlled facility, Barka Lounge greets pups with a completely cage-free environment, as well as spacious areas in which to play during daycare and longer stays. Staff remains on duty at all times, and extended weeknight and weekend hours cater to owners with busy schedules.
In the kaleidoscopic glow of ubiquitous neon lights, a bartender stirs blood orange vodka martinis for four guests at a table laden with tapas dishes. A DJ from Las Vegas spins progressive house music, sending bass thrumming through the entire club. This is a nightly scene at the ultra modern Redux Lounge, which gracefully blurs the line between hot nightclub and elegant tapas restaurant. In the afternoons before Redux shape shifts into a club, the kitchen grills seafood, tapas, and kebabs, often pairing them with one of Redux' house wines or martinis. At 10:00 p.m., the party starts. Disc jockeys fly in on magic carpets from LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco to spin tunes spanning the last 70 years of pop music. Redux' intelligent LED lighting system syncs up with every syncopation, flashing over the dance floor to the beat of the music. Outside on two heated outdoor patios, barkeeps mix gourmet cocktails for lounging guests. The kitchen stays open until close (2 a.m.) to fuel private parties in VIP areas and excited cheers in the sports lounge. Caterers also rush out through the bustling lounge, toting drinks and food to special events.
Deemed 2012's Best Dance Troupe in East Bay by Diablo magazine, Diablo Ballet's 10 international dancers have enthralled audiences of all ages with live performances since 1993. During contemporary and classical ballets, the performers call upon their experience pirouetting with prestigious dance companies––including the Bavarian National Ballet, Venezuela’s Ballet de Caracas, and the Colorado Ballet––to execute precise footwork to an array of musical compositions. In its free time, Diablo Ballet exposes youngsters to the arts by switching fast-food toys with Rothko paintings and participating in the PEEK Youth Outreach Program, which brings art education to more than 5,000 elementary-school students in Contra Costa County.
The two chefs at Cypress rely on more than following great recipes when crafting their fine French foods. They meticulously prepare every batch of béarnaise sauce and pot of coq au vin using sustainable, organic California ingredients as often as they can. They also take pride in their artful, festive presentation, serving their dishes tableside style on gueridons whenever possible and Cirque du Soleil style when they remember to bring their leotards. Servers, meanwhile, toss salads, sizzle up new york steaks with brandy, and ignite strawberry flambés.