Local Hookah Lounge Hosts East Bay Group Starting Six

Habibi Hookah Lounge off Fair Oaks Boulevard brought live music and entertainment to Sacramento Thursday. Although smaller in size, the lounge offers customers a more intimate feel for entertainment as well as a great hookah selection. Though it opened five years ago, Habibi has recently taken to hosting "College Thursdays," presented by P-Crew Events. P-Crew Entertainment, a local events group who also works with nightclub The Park, were responsible for booking Starting Six. Coming out of the East Bay, these six guys write music based on what they love doing: partying and having fun. With a sound similar to The Cataracs and Tyga, their music gets everyone of out of their seats and dancing. The group consists of both rappers and singers, including Jared Richmond (Riggz), Robert Steward (Fess), Nicholas Naculous (Nic Nac), Greyson Tarantino (Goose), Ryan Bremond (Bread) and Steven Yaris (Big Steve). Before the arrival of the group, local DJ Snoop-E spun for the crowd, getting them pumped up for Starting Six. A DJ for various venues including Blue Lamp, Splash Bar, Dragonfly Lounge and Zokku Lounge, Snoop-E showed his expertise in mixing throughout the night. From electro to house, DJ Snoop-E brought in all the stops with a great medley of songs. As Starting Six arrived, the group of guys mingled with the crowd while talking and taking pictures with the fans. […]

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New coffee bar coming to Seventh and K

An empty former Starbucks at Seventh and K streets will soon be serving coffee and food as Plaza Cafe Lounge opens next month with an emphasis on bringing a San Francisco-style coffee bar to downtown Sacramento. “We want to make it a lounge place where you can sit on a comfortable couch or out on the patio and meet with friends,” said co-owner Zack Alemi. The 1,800 square-foot space will be outfitted with $10,000 worth of leather lounge chairs and couches as well as free wi-fi. A 1,500-square-foot patio fronting St. Rose of Lima Park will add seating, and Alemi said the coffee lounge will connect to the Antigua night club next door. Six big-screen plasma TVs will be in the space as well, tuned to various news channels or whatever customers want to watch, Alemi said. A mixture of hot sandwiches, ciabatta paninis and pizza by the slice will be available, as well as bagels, other breakfast foods and desserts. “We’re going to have pies, probably six types of cheesecake, and smoothies and shakes,” Alemi said. “I don’t know of many places where you can just go and get a piece of pie and some ice cream, and we want to offer that.” The shop will stay open until 11 p.m. on weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekends, and Alemi said hookah pipes will […]

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Lounge on 20′s remodel

Midtown’s Lounge on 20, known for its all-white décor and dim lighting and as a place to grab a drink and relax, transformed last month to include dining and incorporate a warmer color scheme. “We added almost 100 seats for dining, a new menu and (Executive Chef Pajo Bruich),” said owner Ali Mackani. “There are color changes, new lighting, a freestanding sculpture that’s also a fireplace, and we still have areas for lounging.” He added that a dessert chef, Elaine Baker, formerly of Grange Restaurant and Bar, is also working at the remodeled space. Also included is an elevated stage for live performances Thursday through Saturday nights. Careful preparation enabled the transformation to take place over four nights, Mackani said, adding that it reopened to the public on May 20. The successful lounge concept is still evident, but Mackani said the goal was to bring in dining, and he added that from the outset he wanted it to be unique. Bruich uses sous vide cooking methods, which allow meats to be slow-cooked for hours at a low temperature to retain their juiciness and flavor. Mackani said Bruich will also be incorporating “molecular gastronomy,” which is paying close attention to the way foods interact with each other at the smallest level of detail to deliver the exact taste the chef is looking to create. In about […]

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Lounge on 20: Cosmetic and Culinary Changes

Lounge on 20, going on 3 years old, is making a few big changes to its menu and its interior, including two new chefs, an indoor fireplace and the addition of a banquet-style dining room. Owner Ali Mackani said the official reopening is scheduled for May 1. “Many of our customers kept asking for a dining room, and we had the room, so we utilized it,” Mackani said. The largest overhaul of the renovation is the dining room, which will feature several banquet-style tables and chandelier lighting. Mackani said there will be no true separation between the lounge area, which will feature couches and an indoor fireplace, and the dining area. Furniture will be the only barrier, he said. The bar will have a charcoal grey backdrop with an olive green ceiling to create a more “warm and friendly” atmosphere, he said. “Before, every wall in the restaurant was white,” he added. The fireplace will be installed in front of the bar, with four flat-screen TVs (two in the lounge area and two in the back dining room) featuring graphic art. Pajo Bruich is Lounge on 20’s new executive chef. The 31-year-old self-taught chef owns “The Private Table,” which specializes in high-end private dinners, and “Pajo’s Boutique Catering,” which serves high-end functions. The Lincoln resident called the new menu he has created “very progressive.” Bruich […]

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Bold move by Zen Sushi pays off with A-List clientele.

Zen Sushi, located at the corner of 15th and I streets, has re-opened after weeks of construction and renovations. Days following it’s grand re-launch, I ventured in and sat down to talk with my favorite sushi chefs: Michael Kwong and Lou Valente, and to meet the owner and Master Chef, Jason Von Hom. Gone was everything. All the orange and brown lacquered wood and Formica had vanished. Short, white leather chairs standing neatly at attention alongside uber-thick marble counters replaced the old, rickety, high-seated counter stools. Large flatscreens behind the new glass sushi cases made the room look bigger and drew more attention to the ceiling. Now affixed to the ceiling of each room in the restaurant are custom-made sculpted glass panels. The use of LED lighting, often used in nightclubs and on performance stages, is a bold move for any restaurant wishing to maintain an intimate feel. Von Hom enlisted the help of his longtime friend, San Jose Architect Vinh Haba, of ARDESE.  Haba tastefully appointed different kinds of lighting throughout the front ‘lounge’, allowing the glass wall containing the bar to become a focal point without taking over the room. Lounging is what they are counting on, as the new sushi bar is not just a bar, but also a place for people to meet, to socialize with small groups and to do […]

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A highbrow evening with Stew and The Negro Problem

Would a group called Stew and the Negro Problem be at home playing a venue like the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis? Absolutely. The intimate, lounge-like 250-person Vanderhoef Studio Theatre was the perfect setting for musician Stew and his provocatively-titled band, The Negro Problem, on Tuesday evening. The name is meant to challenge perceptions be in-your-face and humorous, which also describes the band’s music quite accurately. Announcing that his band was probably mad at him because he had no setlist, Stew guided the seated older crowd on a musical journey that was insightful, comical and just plain sounded great. The lyrically driven songs were the stars, with each being a slice-of-life anecdote coupled with simple but sophisticated accompaniment provided by collaborator and bassist Heidi Rodewald and the rest of The Negro Problem. They fused styles seamlessly – including Baroque pop with jazz sensibilities and a tendency to rock. There were even opportunities for synth riffs and a flute solo. At times juvenile, Stew’s lyrical content was elevated by the underlying wit and social commentary and the cohesive Negro Problem instrumentation. Two songs into the set the audience was presented with the song “Ken,” about a Ken doll in a Mattel factory who realizes he’s gay: "My name's Ken, and I like men/But the people at Mattel … are somewhat bothered by my […]

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New restaurant to offer local flavor

Julia Hadley has never owned a restaurant before, but she said she looks forward to opening Hads Steak and Seafood at 19th and J streets and molding it to her image of what a neighborhood favorite should be. Hadley said she has fond memories of growing up with the Fireside Restaurant & Lounge, which was operated by a good family friend. She remembers going in with her father, and the staff affectionately greeting him with, “Hey, Hads.” “I want people leaving full, satisfied and taking half of their meal home with them,” she said. “It’s going to be good food for a really good price,” Hadley said. The restaurant is set to open the first week of November. Local flavor is what she wants to be known for, and she’s bringing in former Fireside Restaurant and Lounge chef Ed Hull to work with her staff to recreate some of her favorite menu items. Most notable among those is the Fireside steak sandwich. In addition to that, the menu will include rib steak, French dip sandwiches, halibut, scallops, prawns, lobster and vegetarian options. But menu options won’t be limited, and Hadley said she wants the community to play a role in shaping the establishment’s offerings. “If we don’t have something they want, we’d like to hear from the community,” she said. “I want to be a […]

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Tequila museum, restaurant and bar to open by end of year

Tequila is to Mexico what wine is to France, and restaurateur Ernesto Delgado said he will use tequila to showcase Mexico’s rich culture when he opens Tequila Museo Mayahuel later this year. The “tequila museum” will include a restaurant serving traditional Mexican dishes and a wide array of between 50 and 100 types of tequila with a museum and gift shop reminiscent of Napa Valley wineries. “The concept is to showcase Mexican culture through tequila, its history and the process of making it,” Delgado said. With so many Mexican restaurants and tacquerias in Sacramento already, Delgado said he knew he had to come up with something unique. “My whole idea here is to create a new spin,” Delgado said. “What’s the next Mexican restaurant? A full tequila experience.” Pete Andrew of Collier’s International, property manager of 1200 K St. the location, said Delgado’s concept will “kick-start this whole revitalization of K Street.” Dave Herrera, vice president of the Sacramento branch of Collier’s International, agreed. “It’s definitely going to bring another amenity with a tremendous amount of culture into the downtown area,” Herrera said. “I think it’s going to be an entirely new concept.” When finished, the restaurant will feature a statue out front that serves to draw visitors and is the beginning of the story Delgado said he wants to tell through the experience. The […]

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Americana-Rock Phenoms at Naked Coffee

The 6-piece Americana-Rock phenoms, The Whiskey and the Devil Chaplain, are making their Sacramento debut at Naked Coffee on Saturday, May 22nd. The guys make up a fantastic mix of indie roots, folk and straight ahead Americana music. Formed at the latter-end of 2007, the Whiskey is making a name for themselves one show at a time through their knock-down live performances.  Here is just some of the attention they’ve been getting: “The fellas that make up this Valley-born folk/bluegrass group played just a handful of songs, but it was enough to make an impression. They opened a February night show at the Cellar Door in Visalia for genre-faves Langhorne Slim and April Smith, and both were wowed by the six-piece experiment called Whiskey and the Devil Chaplain.” – Tom Price, The D Magazine “Crystal clear tones, alluring lyrics and an aesthetic craft that leaves you wishing there were more than four songs, this is the kind of music you find yourself coming back to listen to over and over. This is not a band obsessed with overproduced songs and overpriced equipment. It’s raw and it’s honest, but still catchy and noteworthy.” – Allysa Laurel, The Campus “Take in a show, you will not be disappointed!”– Ezekiel Simms–Nashboro Cane Cutters They will joined by Christopher Fairman and Be Brave Bold Robot. Show starts at 8:30pm! $5.00 […]

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