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May 24-30, 2006

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Club Life

Illusions Fayrouz Dining & Entertainment
Address: 260 S. California Ave., Palo Alto; 650.321.6464

MANY BAY AREA natives will fondly name one venue when asked about their first clubbing experience: the Edge in Palo Alto, where nary an 18 or under hasn't wandered. Last October, the arriving Fayrouz (or Illusions Dining & Entertainment, depending on which side of the sign you read first) is the latest tenant to occupy the space.

The red mahogany bar tops, sleek interior, balcony seating and cool blue lighting ooze "mature members only." The crowd ranges from twentysomethings wearing fashionista blazers worn Disco Johnny Fever style—collars out—to fiftysomethings in dinner jackets and real pearls. Yet they all seem to know each other and are all there for the same reason—a large Mediterranean spread, belly dancing, music, cigars, hookahs and lots of eating and dancing. The restaurant strictly follows a set menu every Friday, where $35 buys a full dinner, including mezzas (appetizers), salad, entree and dessert, a belly dancing show and a live band playing Arabic music, with singing and dancing until 2am.

Cocktails and wine are separate, and the house sangria has a nice citrus flair. Don't expect to order a la carte on Fridays unless you sit outside on the patio, which during these idyllic late spring nights can be a blessing in disguise. Sit under a heat lamp, smoke a honey berry hookah and enjoy the Mediterranean music wafting through the front entrance and the smoke. Fayrouz is a place where friends greet friends with kisses instead of handshakes, the staff knows its clientele (and may even share drinks with them at their table) and everybody eats and dances like a European. (Christine Lee)

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