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Change is good

When you utter "the usual" more than five times in one weekend, you know you're in trouble.

I'm not knocking the virtues of a weekend routine. But when combined with the summer heat, that routine can produce an unnecessary sense of monotony and a whole bunch of unwarranted trips to Atlanta.

Why not just hit a couple of Columbus' newest assets?

Start by grabbing a meal at Hibachi Express (6160 Bradley Park Drive). The restaurant opened recently, and offers a whole bunch of hibachi options at affordable prices. You can snag a full order of hibachi steak for just $4.99.

Then, hit the party scene and show up at one of the new local clubs. If you're feeling scandalous, try "Explicit Saturday" at Plush (2955 Warm Springs Road). It's the venue formerly known as 4th Quarter. Ladies are free before 11 p.m.

Or, if the explicit lifestyle isn't your thing, head to the newly opened EndZone Sports Bar & Grill. It's at 3201 First Ave., near the Johnston Mill Lofts in Bibb City. I peeked in the place the other day and it has some serious party potential. You'll be forgetting your usual nightlife routine in no time.