Rihanna's Night on the Town

03/11/2009 at 01:30 PM EDT

Rihanna's Night on the Town
Rihanna
Evan Agostini/AP

Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Rihanna

Rihanna

After laying low in the wake of her allegedly violent argument with Chris Brown last month, Rihanna finally stepped out on Tuesday night to celebrate her 21st birthday with friends.

There was no sign of Brown.

Just before 1 a.m., Rihanna – whose actual birthday was Feb. 20 – arrived at Coco de Ville in West Hollywood wearing denim shorts, a long printed jacket, and sunglasses she never removed. "She looked good and was smiling and laughing," says an eyewitness.

The singer and her pals sat in a private, guarded area, where they sipped on cocktails and feasted on a pink cupcake tower decorated with sparklers and birthday candles. Rihanna kept her friends entertained by dancing in her seat to songs by 50 Cent and T.I., and when it came time to leave, the source says the singer was "in good spirits."

Brown at Work

Meanwhile, a source says Brown has been in the studio working with producers including Polow Da Don, who worked on one of Brown's last big hits "Forever," as well as Usher's "In This Club," "Buttons" by the Pussycat Dolls (featuring Snoop Dogg), and "Glamorous" by Fergie (featuring Ludacris).

Although songwriters were asked before the Grammys to pen a duet for Brown and Rihanna for Brown's new album, a source confirms that the couple has not yet recorded it.

Reporting by JENNIFER GARCIA, JESSICA HERNDON,and ABBY STERN

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