In creating a recipe for a romantic and pleasurable night out, few ingredients create the same synergy as wine, cheese, and jazz. The founders of Crumb&Cork put their spin on this formula by offering a menu with more than 28 artisanal cheeses and 40 wines from around the globe, which their patrons sip and sample amid an atmosphere permeated by live jazz music on Fridays and Saturdays. In an effort to encourage tastings, the owners sell their wines by the glass and decorate the space with comfortable furnishings so their clientele feel free to linger and chat.
The Ashley Street Grille's sprawling dining patio overflows with a multitude of elegant culinary creations served as patrons bask in the sunny riverfront vista. The dinner menu showcases elegant entrees such as the chicken Oscar, a dish bestowed on Academy Award–runner-ups that consists of egg-battered poultry flanked by crab, asparagus, spinach, and sundried tomatoes ($39). A dulcet, tender pork loin resonates with garlic and rosemary notes beneath the subtle strains of a port-wine demi-glace ($31) and a plump grouper confines boisterously flavorful shrimp and blue crab beneath a hearty lobster-butter lockdown ($39). The lunch menu features a variety of salads, sandwiches, and other fodder for midday munchers and sun-soaked reverse vampires, including the roasted Granny Smith–and-chicken sandwich ($17). All diners receive free valet parking.
Chillounge Night moves the atmosphere of a nightclub outdoors, freeing warm pulses of bass to tremble under the stars and roll beneath the chatter of guests perched on plush sofas. Glasses from a cash bar clink together, adding treble notes to the organic symphony as the sun sinks below the horizon and the atmosphere takes on the feeling of Carnival. Samba dancers parade past tables laden with snacks from local restaurants, and fashion shows parade intriguing threads. As fireworks crackle against the darkening sky at some events, live music begins to fuel dancing or make metronomes feel more comfortable.
Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
Before Bogdan and Gosia Wienc founded Magic Dance Club, they had already cast spells across Europe with their elegant footwork. Having conquered the floors of their native Poland as finalists in the Polish National Championships, the couple perfected their craft in England under the tutelage of some of Europe's most esteemed ballroom dance coaches. By the time they made it to Florida, the dancing duo was unstoppable. They were named one of the twelve best couples at the U.S. National Championships in the standard ballroom division and earned membership in the National Dance Council of America.
Now, they're "in the business of making people happy" at their own studio, Magic Dance Club, where students master an array of joyous dances, including the tango, foxtrot, mambo, swing, and the cha cha. All lessons take a three part approach, as students start in private sessions, graduate to group lessons, and then field test their skills during dance parties.