If you're on a budget and suddenly want to either have dinner or drink it up, you don't have to choose. A visit at Wokcano Cafe in Pasadena is a must. Dinner and drinks combined in one location, plus a bar that can be a dance floor, a DJ, and a smoking patio (for those looking for rare places that still allow the puffs in Pasadena). Warning though, they do serve food til about 2am (Mon-Wed, Sun) and til 4am (Thurs-Sat), so you may want to handle that tight budget well or else you'll leave this place with a much thinner wallet than planned.
Wokcano offers a vast selection of Asian plates; from sushi to Chinese, and even Thai. Opt for the heavier meals that are worth more bang for your buck. The Pad Thai is not as authentic as you'll find Thai town but will suffice for those on a budget and an empty stomach. The crab fried rice on the other hand has always been a personal favorite, filled with real crab (Thank You!) and not the prentitious kind AKA Mr. Imitation. The seaweed salad is a geat pairing with the sushis. Although do not expect quality sushi here, after all the target crowd is geared towards the hip and nocturnal, and not the critic/blogger/foodie. The choices on the table were passable, a satiating mouthful that can wipe out a sushi craving if you want a full bar paired with it. If you're a not-so-adventurous eater and wouldn't mind California rolls then by all means go ahead and indulge in their sushi.
Of course no nightlife is ever complete without drinks, so make your way towards the back and enter through their bar. Beware of hitting your head with the hanging parphernalia (upper lingerie) and go ahead order hot sake, Asahi (Japanese beer), or any cockail of your choice. Bartenders do have a heavy hand and so, yet again, more bang for your buck.
Don't forget to unwrap the tiny little present at the end of the meal, your chocolate-covered fortune cookie with your itemized bill.
A budget nightlife does not necessarily mean, going to the liquor store for some beer and then coming home with some Chinese take-out. Get off the couch, dress up, and go to Wokcano Cafe. The crowd is fine the music is popping, the drinks are hard, and the food- not bad at all.