Led by martial artist Bill Essex, a Shaolin kung fu and tai chi black belt, Shaolin-Do Martial Arts trains children and adults in the time-honored Eastern discipline of combat. At Shaolin-Do, students can prepare to become black belts or train for competitions, but that’s never the main focus. Instead, the instructors hope to instill confidence and skill through a fitness activity they can practice for life. Shaolin-Do blends hard and soft arts to develop internal and external strength simultaneously. Along with kung fu and tai chi classes, students can also participate in month-long boot camps that incorporate martial-arts moves and other exercise techniques for full-body workouts.
The instructors at Lush Pole Fitness have always loved to dance. That, combined with owner Lisa's curiosity for all things taboo, was the catalyst for Lush Pole Fitness, a studio where ladies of all ages and sizes build core strength and tone legs and arms during invigorating pole-dancing classes. They also invite students to frolic together during parties that elevate birthdays and bachelorette celebrations.
When Maria Espinoza dances, she feels free from both everyday worries and chronic health problems. She opened Dancin' Motion to share this feeling with others, giving the community a creative outlet for dance, art, and music lessons. Instructors lead dance classes such as salsa, belly dance, and Zumba to shake the dust off advanced students' dancing shoes or train beginners in dance basics. Each month at social dances, DJ David fills the sprawling studio space and adjoining outdoor patio, available for private event rental, with the rhythms of upbeat Latin tunes and the sound effects of downbeat Latin legal dramas. During daylight hours, congas, timbales, and bongos fill class spaces with Latin percussion during private music lessons.
Though the staff at The Brass Tap take beer very seriously, they've nevertheless turned drinking it into a game. Customers get a single point for each of the pub's 300 craft beers that they try. At certain milestones, they'll receive gift cards or a t-shirt with a new title, all the way from rookie to beer guru?and, if they conquer the challenge three times, they can win the coveted Repeat Offender 900 shirt.
Thankfully, the bar makes it easy to sort through its 300 beers. The menu is divided up into different beer types, which go deeper than the basic delineation of ale vs. lager vs. water that's been dyed amber. Guests can peruse listings of bottled barleywines and porters, or have a resident beer aficionado fill their mug with an imported brew on draft. Beer even permeates the food: the chipotle mustard on the house-baked pretzels is made with pale ale, just as the cheese dip is made with Samuel Adams. All of the burgers, sandwiches, and pretzel pizzas also have recommended drink pairings.
As for entertainment, each Brass Tap books a variety of local bands throughout the week. Trivia, bingo, and happy hours find regular spots on the schedule, and some locations have outdoor patios and cigars for purchase.
Though years of working as a trainer for chain restaurants taught Mike Tolley how to cook quality food efficiently, it was the slower, lower-heat cooking that he enjoyed the most. So when he decided to open his own restaurant, Uncle Mike's Smokehouse, he eschewed traditional fast-food preparation in favor of the slow smoking that gives meat a rich, complex favor. He and his chefs grill everything from pork shanks and chicken wings to St. Louis?style barbecue and steaks. They don't just specialize in savory, smoky flavors, however. They also add a sweet note to meals with slices of cornbread, vanilla maple sweet potatoes, and bourbon-laced pecan pie.
CrossFit Body-Mechanic’s coach Casey Schmidt—who placed among the top 21% of athletes at the 2012 CrossFit Games Open—blasts away body fat with what he calls “the sport of fitness.” He and his students compete against their own best times, heaviest weights, and highest number of reps to become leaner, meaner functional athletes.