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This ain’t your grandpa’s saloon, but it is an L.A. hotspot

Get the feel of Prohibition-era Savannah, Ga. at the Los Angeles bar Sassafras.

The latest openings and events from around the world.


Los AngelesAt Sassafras you'll find bar staff dressed in Prohibition-era attire, an absinthe fountain and barrel-aged cocktails. But this ain't your grandpa's saloon. The bar is styled with an eclectic mix of antiques and furniture from a Gothic-style Savannah townhouse (the house itself was shipped in from Georgia and reassembled inside). Make sure you try the house-made moonshine infused with apples and served in a cinnamon-sugar crusted glass. Lucky patrons can spin the gambling wheel at the back of the bar to win free drinks.

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SydneyConcierge services and lobby designs go digital at QT Sydney, a newly opened hotel that is set within two 1920s-era buildings. In the heart of the central business district, not far from Darling Harbour, Chinatown and Circular Quay, the 200-room hotel has taken over what used to be Gowings department store and the State Theatre. Inside the historic property, guests can use the concierge's specially designed iPhone and iPad app to create unique cultural excursions. Check out the curated digital art and video installations by Australian artists Daniel Boyd and Grant Stevens and various other quirky decor touches such as the hanging light fixtures shaped like bowler hats.


ChicagoFans of Mark Steuer's rustic seasonal cuisine at the Bedford can now sample meals inspired by his South Carolina roots at Carriage House. The new restaurant has the homey vibe of a family kitchen, complete with communal tables, antique-style crockery and a rocking chair on the porch. Pair a pitcher of rum punch with small sharing plates that range from ubiquitous Southern fare (house biscuits with apple butter, shrimp and grits) to such contemporary interpretations as low country oyster roast, pheasant and black-pepper dumplings, and rice balls with smoked pork neck gravy. For something more substantial try the buttermilk marinated rib-eye steak or crispy braised pork shoulder.


PhiladelphiaMexican-born and Montreal-educated new-media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer sets downtown Philly alight with a new public art project called Open Air. From 8 to 11 p.m. until Oct. 14, three-dimensional light formations brighten the sky above the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Onlookers can participate in the interactive exhibit through an iPhone app that uses voice recordings to control the lights (download the app and borrow a free mobile device to record your message at the Eakins Oval, 24th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway). For a prime vantage point of the show, get a table at Water Works Restaurant (640 Water Works Dr.). or the Belgian Café (601 North 21st St.).

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