Combining coffeehouse cool with club beats, Sip Bar entices patrons with an inventive array of international eats for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant delights morning diners with rise-and-shineables such as granola and yogurt ($7) or eggs in a basket, a more portable alternative to orange juice in a butterfly net ($10). Tongues in need of a tasty wakeup are treated to frothy, creamy cappuccinos ($4). Later in the day, small wooden tables cheerily grumble beneath the weight of roasted eggplant sandwiches, stuffed with garlic, roasted red pepper and mozzarella ($9), garlic shrimp ($17), and Hungarian-style goulash with potato dumplings ($20). Sip serves its full menu every day until 4 a.m., ensuring that hungry night owls needn't gnaw on coasters or deep-fried napkin rings.
Just under the corner of 78th and Columbus sits 78 Below, a gathering place where patrons can have a drink, listen to tunes, or share small plates with friends. Primarily a live music venue, 78’s stage area entices musicians with a legendary back line that includes such house equipment as a Yamaha Motif synthesizer that belonged to jazz icon Henry Butler and a full Pearl drumset used by Chris Parker when he played for Bob Dylan. Performances occur nightly, and feature regulars such as former Blues Brothers band member Jonny Rosch as well as surprise singers that have included Amy Grant, Sheryl Crow, and gifted janitors after the staff has gone home.
Outside of the stage area sits a cocktail lounge furnished with mod couches where guests order from a succinct menu of American-style tapas. Alongside beer, wine, and cocktails from the bar, sliders made with crab cakes and Angus-beef patties mingle with grilled four-cheese sandwiches in dishes small enough to keep hands free for unsolicited keyboard solos.
Weekend dance parties fill the twin floors at Columbus 72, soundtracked by live swing and Latin bands or DJs spinning Top 40 dance hits. Piloted by a premium-liquor-packing waitstaff, the pillar-peppered Columbus ballroom accompanies a private-lounge sidecar boasting cocktail tables, an LCD screen, and optional helmet laws. Right off the expansive boogie zone nestles a brood of plush red and black VIP booths, which seat six to eight and may be enhanced with bottle service. Meanwhile, the Broadway Bar serves a separate dance floor in a more intimate setting with its own DJ and sound system on Friday and Saturday nights. The club's strict dress code demands casual, neat wear such as collared shirts and dress sneakers, with black-tie attire required for carousing team mascots.
Surrounding its 24 oil-slicked lanes with exposed-brick walls, an arcade, and private VIP lounges, Harlem Lanes complements the thrill of striking down pins with the relaxed atmosphere of a swanky nightclub. Anchoring the two-story space, a sports bar serves drinks and food under the glow of flat-screen TVs, and couches throughout the facility allow bowlers to kick up their feet after celebrating strikes with mock tap dances. The ambience gets funky on Friday and Saturday, when live DJs and glow-in-the-dark bowling loosening up straitlaced pins.
From the expertly mixed drinks to the forward-looking entrees inspired by classic American eats, Bleu Violin has hipness at the top of its agenda. There, bartenders shake, muddle, and stir together martinis as club-bound guests split upscale appetizers such as nachos topped with lump crab and shrimp or southern-fried chicken wings tossed in a choice of four sauces. Live music adds a sleek soundtrack most nights of the week, laying down a lively beat best suited for mingling or muttering all the curse words you’ve been storing up all day.