The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.
Promoting positive socials skills through gleeful play, Under the Sea Indoor Playground, named one of the area's best indoor play spaces by CBS Los Angeles, gives kids a colorful landscape of obstacles, toys, and floor-to-ceiling murals to play in. Throughout the three locations, youngsters of various ages ramble through soft-padded activities such as the soft moon bounce, or exorcise pent-up energy scaling the sea castle. Meanwhile, parents and guardians can watch proudly from nearby seating or join in and challenge children to good-willed games of foosball. For younger children, Under the Sea turns down the tempo of play with a soft baby corner, toddler swing, and learning-oriented play equipment. Under the Sea is designed to help develop social skills, coordination, and self-esteem with a colorful cast of painted octopi, mermaids, and sea monkeys mistaking the playground's yellow slides for sea bananas.
Dr. Adalbert and Eva Fenyes’s 1906 Beaux-Arts mansion served as a haven and gathering place for local musicians, artists, writers, and scientists for decades. In 1970, in an effort to ensure this salon atmosphere would live on, their descendants transferred the family mansion, its gardens, and scores of original furnishings and artwork to the Pasadena Museum of History. Today, the more than 85-year-old museum fills the Fenyes Estate with tours, exhibits, and a range of events as part of its mission to preserve and display Pasadena's history and culture.
Docents lead tours through the rooms of the National and California Historic Landmark mansion, which once served as the Finnish Consulate. (Nearby, the Finnish Folk Art Museum resides in the estate’s former sauna and guesthouse.) The history experts also conduct regular spotlight tours of specific collections that embody local high-society life at the turn of the 20th century.
In the History Center Galleries, the staff curates rotating exhibits on local history. Outside, visitors can wander the verdant landscaped gardens that separate the History Center Galleries from the Finnish Folk Art Museum and prevent staff members from reaching each other with volleys of water balloons.
At Scarlet Tea Room and Fine Dining, the tea services represent both a treasured English tradition and a modern form of celebration. Here, groups gather beneath a chandelier flecked with vibrant red accents to indulge in five-course meals. Their loose-leaf steeped beverages—which range from a sweet and lemony French verveine to a smoky Chinese lapsang souchong—complement a selection of bite-size desserts and light sandwiches stuffed with savory fillings such as prosciutto, aged white cheddar, and sun-dried-tomato spread. The afternoon tea service also includes housemade scones and berries romanoff, a fruity dessert served in a dark-chocolate cup.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, the award-winning kitchen staff prepares small plates of shareable dinner fare such as grilled skirt steak with marinated mushrooms, sautéed gnocchi with walnut-arugula pesto, and Fijian kingfish crudo with grapefruit and green papaya. To celebrate special occasions, such as Valentine's Day or Father's Day, diners can order specialty cakes for pickup or visit the dining room for a romantic concert or saucy burlesque performance by Queen Elizabeth.
Chefs at redwhite+bluezz sling exceptionally tasty salads, soups, entrees, and desserts forged from creative ingredients and accented with upscale libations. The luxurious menu unleashes contemporary influences upon classic recipes, such as a starter of fondue kicked into the 21st century by a squad of lobster, spinach, artichoke hearts, fontina, and sliced baguette ($14). Main courses flank the all-American meatiness of a buffalo rib eye with pommes lyonnaise, burrata and tomato gratin ($32) and hide vegetarian surprises such as pumpkin gnocchi served with roasted spaghetti squash and a pool of pistachio buerre noisette ($21). Quell sweet teeth clamoring for attention with unshareable desserts such as the vineyard-inspired cookie-mousse Eton Mess ($7).
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.