Though one could also call it a store, The Wine Club’s name speaks to its staff members’ passion for fine wines. Their passion and commitment to quality spirits at fair prices fostered the growth of the first singular club in 1985 into a trio of neighborhood wine and spirits stores by 1996. Shelves and display cases at each store are crowded by varietals from all over the world. During Friday happy hours and informal Saturday afternoon tastings, guests gather to discuss flavor profiles with fellow tasters, certified sommeliers, or vacationing extraterrestrials. The store also curates a variety of wine clubs for customers hoping to expand their palates.
Have you ever seen someone smell a glass of wine and remark on its “lemony overtones” or “essence of plum” and wondered if they had any idea what they were talking about? Usually you're right, and they're pulling words from the 2009 Unabridged Wine Libs Dictionary. Pair one word from the "Obscure Fruits and Woods" chapter with another from "Vague Concepts" and you've got a smart-sounding wine description. How many times have we heard a Wine Libs poser foolishly declare that a wine resonated with "cedar echoes?" Too many times to count on one seven-fingered hand—eight times, to be precise.
Of all the hooting and victory dancing coming from the group in the corner booth, only half of the commotion is a result of the game of Sorry! the group is immersed in. The other half occurs during breaks in the action when the competitors dig into the decadent morsels in front of them—desserts forged from ingredients such as rum mascarpone cream and homemade marshmallow. Evenings of spirited merrymaking capped with sweet treats are standard at Candybar, where seasoned pastry chef Cathleen Li handcrafts a rotating menu of cakes, ice creams, and sorbets.
To complement Li’s signature desserts, mixologists further tantalize taste buds with inventive cocktails ranging from the triple-chocolate bellini with chocolate sorbet to the blood-orange cocktail. Throughout the candlelit dining room, minimalist bulbs dangle from ceiling tracks, casting dancing shadows across plush red couches, black-and-white damask poufs, and contemporary artwork. A collection of board games infuses the dessert lounge’s chic atmosphere with a touch of whimsy and encourages good-natured rivalries between friends or high-stakes games to determine who gets the last bite of the ice-cream sundae.
No matter the time of day, patrons always dine at twilight inside Arabian Nights Restaurant. Painted palm trees arc cross a dark-blue sky in minaret-shaped frames, and exposed rafters high above the dining room evoke the feeling of an outdoor meal along the Mediterranean. The kitchen matches the dining room's traditional touches with a flame-fired oven that bakes fresh pita bread to order and crackling wooden embers that give kabobs their rich, smoky flavors. Guests also share small plates of hot and cold mezza, such as falafel and tabbouleh, as the light from ornate chandeliers casts freeform shadow puppets against linen-covered tables.