At Bleu/XO Restaurant & Sports Lounge, diversity reigns. It's visible not only in the entertainment—which ranges from Sunday-night dance lessons to televised sports games—but also in the cuisine itself. The house special fried rice mixes the classic Chinese dish with egg, shrimp, and Chinese sausage, though that's not the only twist the menu harbors. Savory crepes brim with shrimp, pork and sprouts in the Vietnamese tradition, rather than the traditional French style of filling a crepe with a baguette. The menu even touches on Thai flavors with a tabeletop hot pot in which diners cook their own mussels and shrimp with in a spicy broth.
After 9 p.m., diners are invited to enjoy live music in the restaurant.
Dim lighting flickers off cobblestone walls as guests at On the Rocks Bar & Grill socialize over steaks and burgers or gape at 20 TVs broadcasting sports. Plates of hand-formed burgers and slow-cooked ribs occupy tabletops in the dining room, whereas patrons sip drinks and enjoy nightly specials out on the patio. The eatery’s late-night menu keeps guests satiated well into the night with chicken tenderloins and fried strips of the moon.
Although Azteca serves staple south-of-the-border comfort food, the decor isn't what you'd find in a typical Mexican restaurant. To describe it in one word: Elvis. Aside from walls filled with King memorabilia such as bobbleheads and signed posters, Elvis impersonators regularly perform at the eatery's Bobby Vegas Karaoke Club. It's all a part of owner J.J. Jauregui's love for the legendary performer, a love that gives Azteca its distinct character. Nontraditional environment aside, the food itself traces its origins back to 1957, when Jaregui's Aunt Connie served family-recipe burritos on Garden Grove. Today, the menu has expanded to include pork tamales, taquitos, and strip steaks smothered in housemade garlic sauce.
Between terracotta walls, or among flowers on the patio, friends visiting Arabisc Restaurant and Hookah Lounge are invited to unwind. Formerly known as Al Waha, the lounge keeps patrons happy with its signature relaxed atmosphere, a menu of Mediterranean favorites, and shisha that transforms into flavored smoke to obscure coffee mustaches. As they puff, guests indulge in Turkish coffee, rich and dark, along with bites of jalape?o-laced hummus, babagannush, and lamb kebabs.
In 2011, OC Weekly dubbed rock 'n' roll bar The Juke Joint one of the best bars of the year. Here, 20 craft, domestic, and international draft beers are served alongside cocktails and whiskey shots. With walls painted black, the bar invites patrons to spin a few songs on the jukebox, which blasts tunes ranging from punk and rockabilly to American roots music. The bar also hosts live music on a stage dedicated to the late Nekromantix drummer Andrew Martinez. Five pool tables facilitate friendly games and official billiards tournaments, and free WiFi makes it easy to upload the photos that will be deleted tomorrow.
Driving by Linbrook Bowl might inspire a double take. Not because of their classic and colorful neon signage, but because of what it advertises: the alley is open 24 hours a day. This means people can pummel pins or dance around like Fred Flintstone no matter what time it is. In addition to 40 lanes, Linbrook Bowl is equipped with an onsite coffeeshop that helps fuel players all day and night. Bowlers can also grab a drink or bite to eat at The Kopa Room, while watching a sports game on TV or listening to amateur crooners charm the crowd with karaoke.