Each year begins with a clean sheet. Like the first page in a new diary, it is pure and unblemished. (The coffee-and-ink stains come later as we juggle our resolutions with the realities of life.) As such, the simple, white world of Bar Kapa seems an appropriate place to start. Even after two years of operation, it appears pristine and untouched -- as if detached from time. It is stylish and very adult. But it is not the kind of place one would go to alone.

Its simplicity and elegance can be somewhat daunting -- like walking into an aircraft hangar hit by a blizzard of white-on-white. One wall stands straight, and the other curves toward it to form a half-arch. This sweep of wall is fitted with panels of shiny space-age plastic. A few white pillars stride the length of the room, and two rows of sleek aluminum tables and chairs line either side. There is no bar. On entering, I felt like a scarecrow in a cornfield, but, once seated, I could find shadow and solace.

Candlelight flickers at every table. And each candle is reflected in jagged tangents running across the ceiling. Images of water join this light-show, projected from little pools mounted atop short pillars at opposite ends of the room. Refrigerators fitted with variegated stripes of perspex add a modicum of color in one corner. Minimal techno and house mixes give the space a heartbeat. Compared to the white-light impact of entering, it is surprisingly warm and soothing.