Nestled in the quaint reserves of Gemmayzeh, Koi (named after a Japanese fish) sits in its red and black glory. From the outside, it appears to be a traditional Japanese restaurant, with windows revealing the oriental designs and comfortable seating within.

The inside, however, might surprise you. Boasting all the class of a Japanese-themed destination that's subtle enough to lend authenticity, Koi's interior actually befits that of a mini-club, offering a trendy bar, red and gray couches and ample room for dancing. They've even got a projector that screens games and movies, as well as their own DJ who caters to his demographic by hour. had a chance to sit down with Koi's owner, Zahi, who enthused about all the unique aspects that Koi brings to the Gemmayzeh scene.

"Before, the restaurant didn't have a personality," he explained, "Now, it's more into sushi." He went on to comment on Koi's interior changes and additions, including brand new furniture, color scheme, an HD projector, and a newly hired Japanese chef who was trained in Japan.

"The decor reflects a bigger introduction into Japanese style," remarked Zahi.

(Pictured: Koi's "Crispy Platter" and "Crazy Platter")

True to its oriental theme, Koi also offers special Japanese cocktails and whiskey and beer imported from Japan. Acting as a casual sushi restaurant/bar during the evening and night, they serve sushi everyday from 6:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Yet it's not all breezy bar hopping for Koi; they kick up gears around 11:00 p.m., turning into a nightclub for a 25+ crowd.

Their evenings bring with them an amalgamation of events: Sunday nights feature the talented Oud player Jihad Mahfouz--the musician behind "Lawn El Sama"--flawlessly combining the two Asian concepts of Japanese cuisine and Arabic entertainment.

On Thursday, Koi hosts a live band for a step back in time, groovin' to Oldies night and appealing to an older generation. Not to miss out on crowd-favorite Karoke, they hand over the mic to guests every Wednesday night.

And just when you think Koi couldn't come up with new concepts, they offer businesses the chance to reserve their restaurant for day-time conferences, and are also considering instating a daytime coffee bar that serves sandwiches and food.

With a DJ that easily transitions you from the casualness of an evening of conversation into the upbeat tunes of a nightclub, Koi offers exactly what Gemmayzeh needs: a relaxation spot for conversation, food, and/or dancing.

This is What Happens When Sushi Meets the Nightclub: Koi

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