The scene inside White Cloud Hookah is both intimate and party-like. Throughout the modern space, groups sit around double-nozzled hookahs and pass hoses to puff on one of the 120 flavors of aromatic tobacco. They can take pulls on tobacco varieties from brands such as Al Fakheer, Starbuzz, and Fantasia, and can even blend flavors to create their own flavor creations. Big screen TVs flash as music fills the space with party beats and dim lightening gives the space a chill, nightlife atmosphere.
The spring-loaded trampolines and high-flying activities at Airworx’s brightly colored 27,000-square-foot center launch visitors of all ages high into the air. Families can duke it out at the dodge ball court to determine who sits in dad’s comfy chair, and kids younger than 7 spring from age-appropriate trampolines and crawl over a 20-foot inflatable structure in the Shooting Stars area. Airworx’s nightclub-quality sound system and bouncy floors leave visitors breathless as they simulate Jordan-esque dunks amid rows of basketball hoops or challenge friends on the 140-foot trampolines to see how many backflips it takes to travel back in time. Besides open bouncing, Airworx also opens up colorful private rooms for birthday parties, and an elevated DJ booth personalizes the tone of unique corporate and group events.
Amid plush leather booths and dim red lights, smoke billows from hookah pipes, wafting soft scents of watermelon and mixed fruits over patrons nodding heads to DJ-spun tunes. This laid-back ambiance is par for the course at Crave Cafe & Lounge, where Mediterranean influences meet American style to create a trendy and mellow atmosphere for dining or partying, earning it the title of Best Hookah Lounge 2011 from Voice Places. Crave’s chefs cook up a menu of Mediterranean-inspired fare, including the greek burger—a simmering layer of gyro meat topped with feta cheese and cucumber. A full bar slings more than 15 bottled beer selections and nightly specials noted by Voice Places, such as The Best Bloody Mary You Ever Had and the Crave Mango Creation, Crave’s own secret recipe starring Absolut Mango. Spirits also find their way to tables via VIP bottle service, and a house breathalyzer machine allows patrons to measure their BAC to determine if they’ve enjoyed one cocktail too many or their blood-hummus level to determine if they've legally become a chickpea.
Wasted Velvet, a new lounge-style nightclub in Tempe’s Mill Avenue District, keeps nocturnal rhythms pulsing with music, drinks, and dancing six nights a week. Bartenders at the full bar sling $3 domestic and $4 imported bottles as well as $5 well drinks, and a robust roster of specials keeps dollars stretchier than Gumby doing Bikram yoga. A dance floor, lit by a crystal chandelier casting light on ambiant rose and violet hues, nudges against plush banquettes and wall murals depicting seductive night revelers. Sternums vibrate to the sounds of live DJs such as DJ MattaFact, who has spun on 101.5 JAMZ, and VIP bottle service ($150) lets groups and parties post up in style.
Avalon appetizes eyes and tempts taste buds with a rich collection of confectionary canvases showcasing seafood sculptures, meaty steak-based masterpieces, and palate-enhancing sides. The scrumptiously streamlined lunch menu offers gourmet takes on culinary classics such as the steak sandwich crafted from aged prime beef, forest mushrooms, and cippolini onions ($13), and a salad featuring organic petite field greens arrayed in a dressing of goat cheese, candied walnuts, and poached pears, custom-tailored to suit its demure leaves ($8). Amidst the dining room's sleek symmetry, dinner guests sample standout seafood servings such as the butter-poached maine lobster served on a cushion of ricotta gnocchi alongside tomato confit and a rich saffron lobster demi-glace ($29). A grilled prime filet mignon is made all the more indulgent by the addition of foie gras, glazed root vegetables, and belgian salsify ($34), while the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin makes good on the pig's own admission that even he tastes better when wrapped in himself ($22).