Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
The dead walk at Son of Monsterpalooza, but they might not be the scariest thing. After all, they're only signing autographs. Along with costumed creatures and their victims from decades' worth of horror and monster films, the massive convention brings into the light the makeup artists, costume designers, movie directors, and screenplay writers who came up with this stuff?and what could be scarier than a consortium of such disturbed minds? Guests, too, are encouraged to come wearing costumes, which they can enhance at a huge vendor bazaar.
Gennaro?s Ristorante has managed to stay open for nearly 30 years not only because of its menu of Italian pastas and grilled meats, but also because of its dedication to Italian-style hospitality. When guests first enter the eatery, they head to the sitting room?a cozy area with marble flooring where they can sit beside a roaring fire and sip Italian wines and creative cocktails from the bar.
They then head into the dining room for a night of devouring meticulously prepared entrees, such as pork medallions with a green-peppercorn-and-cognac sauce, or tagliolini pasta with squid, shrimp, and mussels. The inclusive restaurant caters to all types, offering a vegan menu and gluten-free options. While patrons eat, performers soothe the ears with classical piano or guitar music or gentle earlobe rubs.
At Left Coast Wine Bar & Gallery, an eclectic mix gathers to sample more than 400 wines from California, South America, and Europe and admire works from local artists. Visitors clink bottles of craft beer or glasses of malbec and sweet chardonnays while jazz, rock, and open-mic performances fill the air with music seven nights a week. The outdoor patio treats revelers to fresh air as they savor Italian and French cheeses or munch on grilled panini sandwiches. A cozy upstairs loft provides an intimate setting for singer-songwriters to serenade guests with acoustic versions of popular ringtones.
You could argue that every meal at Gaucho's Village includes live entertainment—servers are constantly visiting tables with humongous skewers of meat and slicing off choice pieces with a sword-like knife. To summon such a show to your table, all you need to do is turn a small marker over to display its green side, or turn your "Bring on the Meat" t-shirt right-side out. Then, you select from an array of flame-roasted cuts, ranging from the traditional picanha, or sirloin cap, to tri-tip and filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The blazing churrasco fires backstage also cook lamb, pork, and sausage, and the menu suggests a proper wine pairing for each cut.
Though these meats have been featured on the Travel Channel's Tastiest Places to Chow Down, they aren't the only impressive spectacle at the restaurant. The real show occurs on weekends, when samba dancers and DJs rev up the always-festive atmosphere. Guests who would rather kick back than shimmy along can visit the attached lounge. There, a separate lounge menu boasts empanadas and coxinha—fried balls of chicken and cheese—as well as flavored hookah on a back patio fenced with live bamboo.
Along with its original Pasadena location—which has kept neighborhood liquor cabinets in high spirits for more than 60 years—Mission Wine and Spirits stocks a massive selection of wine, beer, and spirits at its three outlets. Imported vintages from countries such as New Zealand and France share shelf space with more than 15 types of domestic wine. Amateur sommeliers can also choose from a range of ports, dessert wines, and sparkling wines. In addition, the shops fuel good-natured gatherings with domestic and imported beers, spirits ranging from Irish whiskey to absinthe, and digestives that settle stomachs after hearty meals or eating lava on a dare. Mixers such as celery bitters and sweet-and-sour mix spruce up liquors with cocktail flavoring, while nonalcoholic spirits and wines delight the taste buds of abstaining guests.