Mystic Water Kava Bar might not actually be based on a Tolkien novel, but as soon as you walk through the front door, you're transported to an unfamiliar and strangely relaxing land. I've never seen a bar so meticulously decorated to look like it's located in the middle of a jungle: huge trees crawl over the bar and stretch across the ceiling, vines and multi-colored lights dot the walls and hang from the tree branches, and Aztec-looking stone covers portions of the walls. The decorations aren't all that set Mystic Water apart from the rest of the watering holes in Hollywood: There is not a drop of alcohol served here, only drinks made with kava root. The thick, almost muddy drink isn't the tastiest thing on the planet, but they say the mild numbing sensation it provides makes the whole experience worth a little discomfort of the taste buds.

It's not the drinks that make you want to hang around at Satoro Restaurant & Lounge. Not that there's anything wrong with them; the bartenders pour a standard bartending-school-style drink. Satoro's charm comes through once the drink is in your hands and you get to take in the atmosphere. A warm orange glow covers the chic restaurant, comfortable and stylish ultramodern furniture lines the bar, and tables and couches line the lounge area in the back. To top off the whole experience, order a couple of reasonably priced tapas (many for under $10) from the jovial waiters and sink into your chair before the live music kicks off.

Now closed: Alligator Alley — one of the area's best juke joints — called it quits with a final concert blowout last Saturday.

Sometimes the concept behind a bar is much better than the execution, and sometimes there can indeed be too much of a good thing. This seems to be the case with the newly opened Red Zone Sports Café & Sports Theater. Having taken over the space the Original Steakhouse vacated, Red Zone has everything a sports bar should have: tons of huge TVs (13 surround the bar, each about seven by eight feet), a full menu of bar food, flirty bartenders, and plenty of alcohol. It's the little things that keep the place from being your everyday watering hole.

Order a pint and you're lucky to get a can's worth poured into your glass. (Those "pint" glasses look like they hold maybe nine ounces.) Want to watch all the games at the same time? Be prepared to crane your neck around quite a bit. The televisions, while huge, are situated practically right on top of the bar. It's easy to see the screens opposite you but not much else. And if you're running a sports bar, hosting live sporting events for guys who are dumping beers down their throats, let's cut the Kelly Clarkson soundtrack down and try playing audio from one of the games — or at least something that doesn't zap all the testosterone completely out of the place. Of course, the Red Zone has been open only a few months, so hopefully these are just growing pains. This place will be rad if it gets its act together by football season.

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