A union of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, Fire N Ice Hookah Bar combines the laid-back charm of a hookah lounge with the music and swank of a nightclub. Customers roam through the electric bi-level space flooded by soft colorful lighting before picking their poison—hookah, drinks, food, or all three.
In the hookah lounge, they curl up on plush sofas cushioned by satiny pillows and reach out every so often to grasp the hookah pipe as it’s passed around, inhaling any one of 25 exotic hookah flavors. The smoke spirals up toward Middle Eastern tapestries hanging overhead or snakes around the top-shelf cocktails perched beside the pipe. It even intermingles briefly with the aromas wafting from Middle Eastern dishes—such as chicken tikka, korma sliders, and kebabs—before vanishing into the air as quickly as a magician at a science fair.
As the night lingers on, Fire N Ice begins its transformation into a full-blown nightclub. Belly dancers take to the stage first, twisting and shimmying across the spacious dance floor. By 11 p.m., the club's three DJs begin spinning top R & B and hip-hop hits intermixed with a few Arabian jams, signaling to guests that it's their turn to hit the floor.
The banners of New York's sports teams hang from the ceiling at Play Sports Bar, a space lined with flat-screen TVs tuned to sporting events all while more than 100 different beers flow from the bar. The diverse selection of bottles and drafts, many of them craft beers, complements a menu of traditional sports-bar fare such as burgers, wings, and pizza that can be molded into a football. On nights throughout the week, the bar is enlivened by events such as live music, beer tastings, and karaoke.
Head chef Andrew DiCataldo helms Patria Restaurant and Mixology Lounge, crafting Latin fusion cuisine so artfully executed it moved the New York Times to advise readers: "Don't miss the place". DiCataldo's menu highlights classic ingredients such as avocado, plantains, and queso fresco, presenting them in contemporary updates of traditional Latin dishes. Patria and its afterhours lounge are divided in both atmosphere and décor, alternating between the restaurant's scarlet walls, rich wood furniture, and luxurious curtains, and the lounge's cool-toned lights, well-stocked bars, and wizards attempting to resurrect disco.
A parade of bas-relief pastoral figures cavorts across the entryway of Delia?s Lounge, signaling both the spirit of revelry and the wealth of mesmerizing visual artifacts to be found inside. A fireplace warms a room stuffed to its plush gills with velvet sofas, leopard-print banquettes, wooden sculptures, and a giant reproduction of the Mona Lisa serenely surveying the cozy scene. Until the wee hours of the morning, the kitchen fills the small, candle-topped tables with a variety of appropriately shareable plates such as pan-seared crab-cakes, chicken quesadilla rolls, hamburger sliders, and shrimp cocktail with house-made horseradish sauce.
New York Magazine dubbed Delia?s a Critics? Pick, averring that ?you won't find tastier, or larger, cocktails in Manhattan.? Martinis range from the spare to the sweet: Hendrick's Gin bears a simple slice of cucumber, apple martinis blend liqueurs, vodka, and an apple slice garnish, and the Godiva white-chocolate martini presents vodka, cacao, and white-chocolate liqueur in a glass lined with a chocolate drizzle.
Bembe’s bartenders take an unusual approach to tequila. Instead of pairing shots with a traditional chaser of lime and salt, they serve them with a slice of lime dipped in sugar and coffee grounds. This unique combination has scored points with publications such as the Village Voice, which remarks on “a sweet-coffee aftertaste that's far gentler than tequila or salt." This inspired take on tequila isn't the only thing that sets Bembe apart. The club’s décor is equally creative in its blending of tropical relics, straw hammocks, and recycled furniture salvaged from across the city. The smell of incense fills the air, as do the sounds of soul, funk, Afro-beat, and Latin music. If the dance floor gets too chaotic, there’s always the downstairs lounge, where guests can sip on a vodka cocktail served in a real watermelon or a mojito served in a real terrarium.
Tea-light flames flickering through red glass holders gently illuminate the exposed-brick walls, ochre curtains, and plates full of contemporary American cuisine fashioned with a Mediterranean twist at Red Oak Restaurant. Servers flit about the dimly lit setting or covered patio, which sits under a red canopy surrounded by greenery and wood latticework. At tables they stop to present tapas-style hot and cold plates, which balance grilled shrimp, crisp calamari, or classic Mediterranean hummus and falafel. Chefs in the kitchen prepare substantial entrees, including kebabs threaded with lamb or kofta, as well as lamb chops fresh from the grill. Also in the kitchen, fragrant stews known as tajines simmer oxtail or beef with herbs and spices. As a post-meal treat, brass-trimmed hookahs send thanks to the chef via aromatic smoke signals.