Bar of the Week: Urban

Where: 3216 South Grand

You've stumbled across the hidden lair and now they'll have to kill you... but, in the meantime, please enjoy a martini as you lounge on one of the comfy couches. If you find yourself at Urban, consider your options: You can either go in, have a blast, and accept the fact that they may have to dispose of you later, or you can run away from Urban like a total freakin' wuss.

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Those that decide to laugh in the smarmy face of danger will find:

The Trappings: Once your eyes adjust to the dim lighting (vampires shouldn't have a problem) you notice that this lair is decorated in a style of eclectic global sophistication.

It's shabby chic: hand painted, mosaic-like stenciling on the walls and bar, slick black-lacquered tables that beg to hold your drink, wrought iron art clings to the walls like rusty spiders, fabric swathes the ceiling in the second room and a silver star light fixture gives you something to stare at after a few cold ones.

Have a fine lady friend or hot gent you want to snuggle up to? Lead them to one of the couches, get them a refreshment, and cozy up for a night of chillaxation and romance. Urban is big enough for your next coming-out, going-away or It's-a-Wednesday party, but small enough to check everyone out. Oh, and although it is a smoking bar, it doesn't smell like Aunt Doris' old fur coat.

The Ambiance: That whole thing about you getting killed if you found this place was a goof. Sorry, guys, I must have been thinking of a different secret lair; you know how it is, all the lairs start running together. The word that owner Nhat Nguyen uses to describe his two and a half year old bar is ''inviting.'' If inviting was his goal, then it's certainly what he achieved, because despite it's somewhat intimidating locale (intimidating to wusses), Urban is very warm and friendly, unless you're a tool, that is.

On Wednesdays, DJ Rob Gray spins house music in the second room, but there's a different music vibe every night, including rock, soul and techno. The non- Top 40 selection is something that sets Urban apart from many clubs.

As Nhat said, ''I don't understand why you wouldn't just grab a six-pack from the grocery store, go home and listen to the radio, if you wanted Top 40.'' Yeah, you tell 'em, Nhat!

The crowd at Urban is not hipster, nor scenester, nor yuppie or trendy or any one type, in particular. Different races, bank account sizes and tastes in sneakers, all together, sharing a fondness for the drink. Ah, the drink will bring us together, in the end (we'll all wind up at St. John's for liver failure, but we'll be friends!).

The Potion: We all need more fruit in our diet, so ''Purple Rain,'' a drink containing fresh blackberries and lime muddled with Absolut Kurant is a wise choice. You probably will start singing some Prince, but we're not going to slap you, this time. Urban has a whole list of hard-to-find cocktails, and although the drinks aren't dirt cheap, they do have happy hour specials from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Super-top-secret-tip: You will never find this place on your own (because of the cloaking device), but here's a tip; it's caddy-corner from Gas Mart. That's all I'm allowed to say.

- Lyndsay Johnson



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