Sex & Love

SN&R’s choices

SANGRIA AT CELESTIN’S It’s sweet. It’s seductive. It’s sangria—the choice beverage for cultured Sacramentans just trying to get a piece … of fried plantain, what did you think we meant!?

SANGRIA AT CELESTIN’S It’s sweet. It’s seductive. It’s sangria—the choice beverage for cultured Sacramentans just trying to get a piece … of fried plantain, what did you think we meant!?

SN&R Photo By Larry Dalton

Best bad name for a nightclub, and subversion thereof

Head Hunters
What’s so great about the newest addition to Terry Sidie’s gay-nightlife empire? No, not the reputedly delish Sunday brunch or weekend eats ’til 3:30 a.m. Not being just another swank-tastic lounge, which happens to feature a bamboo curtained, arrow-headed, island-jungle motif. It’s the name of the place—which, in the great puerile punning tradition of San Francisco’s Castro, goes to show how even the most derogatory, culturally chauvinistic and potentially racist language can be disarmed and subverted with a little bit of wit, queer pride, and ribald camp. Do you really think the regulars sit by that great patio fireplace with exotic cocktails contemplating a) the classic 1973 fusion album Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock, or b) the arguably barbaric ritualized violence common among pre-colonial Southeast Asian and South American peoples (and, occasionally, among post-colonial North American peoples)? Course not. See, in this context, it’s about guys trying to get other guys to blow them! Totally cute, right? For crying out loud, the Head Hunters motto is “Let us satisfy you!” Niiiiiice. 1930 K Street, (916) 492-2922, J.K.

Best enticement to get drunk and screw

Level Up Lounge
Located above J Street’s delicious Thai Basil, Level Up Lounge shares the Southeast-Asian theme of its downstairs neighbor in terms of food—small dishes perfect for late-night snacking—and drinks—including a refreshing concoction of Tanqueray, lemon grass, lime leaves and soda. But the atmosphere is decidedly more “personal.” Head up the narrow stairwell to the lounge and you’ll get an immediate sense of intimacy. In contrast to some of Sactown’s other swank-merchants, Level Up has forgone sterile urbanism in favor of a funky, lived-in décor. The compartmentalized spaces encourage cozying up to your friends and significant others, while communal seating in the larger room allows you to cozy up to someone you’d like to get to know better. This isn’t just another Midtown meat-market—if you prefer to hook up with someone who pays more attention to your name than what you paid for your watch, head on up. 2431 J Street above Thai Basil, E.D.

Best place for a first date with a butch—or a nellie

Butch N Nellie’s Coffee Company
First dates are awkward enough without leaping straight (or gaily forward) into the pressures of intense romance. Get to know your butch—or nellie—at a relaxed spot where the laughs flow free. Not only is the comedy and poetry free, you’ll also get a chance to find out just where your potential love-match’s sense of humor hides if you start with Life Sentence, the poetry and comedy open mic at Butch-N-Nellie’s Coffee Company. Held every Tuesday at 8 p.m., it’s got to be the best low-pressure, high-fun way to get to know that hot femme or smoldering butch you’ve had your eye on. And, if the date doesn’t work out, there’s always gelato. 1827 I Street, (916) 443-6133. K.M.

GRIND & GROOVE Jenn Duggins and Anna Sharp display a few “accessories” from their woman-friendly store. The charming duo have a reputation for being the coolest, friendliest adult toy salespeople around. And they’ve got “toys for boys,” too.

SN&R Photo By Larry Dalton

Best place for chicks to buy toys

Grind & Groove
Buying “toys” can be intimidating. The places that sell them are too often painted garish colors; located in, shall we say edgy, neighborhoods; and frequented by sketchy-looking guys with pockets full of change. OK, so that’s not entirely true. But once you’ve decided to shop for … accessories, it’s nice to find a place that lets you see the merchandise outside a plastic wrapper (which requires its own accessories to open, no doubt). It’s also helpful when it feels like a safe spot to ask a question or two. It’s what the feminists call “empowering.” Or “sex-positive.” And they’ve got it at Grind & Groove. The upstairs is a typical boutique, loaded with funky tees, some slightly risqué undergarments and novelties as mundane as political air fresheners (the vanilla lasts a looong time). But downstairs, owners Anna Sharp and Jenn Duggins have created a chick-friendly place to shop for whatever strikes your fancy—alone, or in the company of a playmate. 2226 K Street, (916) 447-4200. K.M.

Best place for melodrama

Cheng Video
Lakorn, or Thai drama series, don’t give into any of that American soap-opera cliffhanger bullcrap. At the risk of ruining the surprise, the series typically run a couple of months and end happily every after. OK, maybe not every single one, but 99 percent. The two-hour long episodes, which air on primetime television in Thailand, often tell the love story of two characters living in upper-class Thai society. We can’t explain it, but there’s something about that perfect ending in the quest for a soulmate that makes these shows addictive. The melodrama and beautiful people don’t hurt, either. Thankfully, south Sacramento has several video stores—most prominently Cheng Video—that carry lakorn, quenching our thirst for evil women, rich businessmen and budding young love. 5244 Fruitridge Boulevard, (916) 736-1668. S.C.

Best place to dance sexy or have fun trying

Milongas at Tango by the River
It’s hard to argue that there’s a dance more seductive than the Argentine Tango, with its close embraces, dramatic dips and high-slit skirts. But if your dancing abilities are more likely to attract the paramedics than a paramour, the twice-monthly Milongas dance parties at Tango by the River in Old Sacramento could be your salvation. Held on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, the Milongas offer a beginner’s lesson from 8 to 9 p.m. Then you can practice your newfound skills—or just nurse your twisted ankles—at a dance party until midnight. Don’t forget to wear your sexiest clothes. If nothing else, the paramedics will find you alluring when they come to take you away. 128 J Street, (916) 443-7008, Pre-register online and save $5 off the usual $15 to $20 ticket price. A.R.

Best place to fulfill other-worldly fantasies
Where else but the Internet? Every sexual fantasy from the vanilla to the illegal can be found while browsing Craigslist’s Casual Encounters ads. Searching for that special woman who’s “interested in exploring the sensual side of balloon animals”? Your fellow Sacramentans are out there looking to appease their sexual appetites, and our local Craigslist ads can provide voyeuristic thrills and exhibitionistic chills. Plus, you won’t have to wade through a lot of spam and posts from people halfway across the country. If your fantasy is devoid of sexual perversions, Craigslist Sacramento also has personal ads for people just looking to spend some quality time with good company. Learn the swinger lingo and you too will soon be posting “D/D free MWM 4 BBW BiF who enjoys BDSM.” M.Cr.

STARBUCKS Break-ups suck. So do corporate, no-culture wannabe-coffee-monopolies. It makes sense, then, that you would want to experience your roughest emotional meltdown in a place that you won’t mind avoiding in the future.

SN&R Photo By Anne Stokes

Best place to set the mood

Casablanca Moroccan Restaurant
Don’t be deterred by the modest location; there’s a Wizard-of-Oz-esque sensation when walking through the doors of this hideaway. But instead of Technicolor, you get a soft-glowing ambience that’s ideal for the amorous. Rest on plush cushions, taste authentic Moroccan cuisine, and on Fridays and Saturdays enjoy live belly-dancing performances. The eatery’s definitely for the older crowd and definitely for the experimental, as you can enjoy menu options like rabbit with nothing more than bread as a utensil. You’ll feel pampered by the fun and hospitable owners, who come around with a bowl of water and a towel for washing up. Bring your own wine to top it all off—after visiting a place called Casablanca, you’ll enjoy a little stimulus for the post-dinner evening. 3516 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Suite B; (916) 979-1160. L.H.

Best way to use your high IQ to get sex

Streets of London’s Simon MacMillan Memorial Pub Quiz
You’re not good at sports, you never learned to play guitar and you’ve yet to land that six-figure job. No worries. If you’re up on current events and you can scrape together enough money for a pint of Guinness, you can still get lucky. Streets of London’s popular weekly pub quizzes, held on Tuesdays in Folsom and on Sundays in Midtown, are the place to turn random knowledge of Shakespeare, song lyrics and English football into fame and prizes. Impress the sexiest competitors with the evening’s high score and then get them drunk on your first-prize Streets gift card. If you miss a few questions, third prize usually is a porn DVD. Sometimes you have to get lucky by yourself. 1804 J Street, Sacramento; (916) 498-1388; 649 East Bidwell, Folsom; (916) 984-3706; B.C.

Best way to fast-track the make-out

Sangria at Celestin’s Island Eats and Cajun Cuisine
We all want to find ourselves in paradise with a special someone. But that requires two things most of us don’t have: a plane ticket and Prince Charming. In these moments of, well, real life, improv goes a long way. On a hot summer evening, Celestins’ patio is a-glow with soft, seductive ambience. But the best reason to be at Celestin’s with a fair-weather lover is the sangria. Served in a pint glass and chilled over ice, the sweet, naughty flavors of wine, brandy, lime and blood orange will cool your palette and heat up the chemistry between you and so-and-so across the table. Have one, and you’re headed straight for the hammock. Have two and you might start to see their features blur until they slide down the waxed tablecloth after your third pint and melt into the sidewalk. Or your heart. Who knows, it might get so memorably hot in Sacramento’s Caribbean restaurant that you two will book that plane ticket after all. 1815 K Street, (916) 444-2423. E.P.

Best place for multicultural cruising

Sacramento International Airport
You won’t find the Sacramento International Airport men’s room listed on, and that’s great news for tearoom toe-tappers. While some local public man-love sex sites—like the toilets on American River Parkway, the first-floor men’s room at Mendocino Hall, and the sauna at 24 Hour Fitness—seem to always make the list, the airport lavatory continues to fly under the radar. Here you’ll find sedated gray marble and white porcelain décor, peek-proof stalls and plenty of room down below for exchanging “packages” with your buddy next door. Seat covers, toilet paper and soap dispensers are kept well-stocked, and thrice-daily janitorial service ensures your next liaison will be sanitary. Throw in the airport’s newly acquired international flavor, and there’s no better place to meet and greet recent homosexual émigrés, out-of-town politicians, and, god forbid, the local pud patrol. R.V.S.

Best pampering for the XY set

Arimosa Salon and Spa
The term “metrosexual” may be so last year, but that doesn’t mean that we, guys, should all just go back to looking like we smear pizza grease on our faces. I’m still proud to admit it—I love a good facial. Yeah, yeah, stop snickering. What’s wrong with clear pores for the straight guy? And hey, most ladies prefer a filthy mind over a skanky body. For a full-service salon, Arimosa won’t overpower you men with girly-ness. Sure, it has shelves of hair products the use of which we can’t begin to comprehend, but the clean, quiet atmosphere is decidedly laid-back. The last technician I saw wore Doc Martens, for God’s sake. I guarantee you, 60-minutes of facial massage and you’ll feel more entitled than ever. Isn’t that what being a man is all about? Come on, dude, just because you loath yourself doesn’t mean you have to look like you do. 2015 J Street, Suite 201; (916) 442-4478; E.D.