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.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
For more than 30 years, the ladies at Women's Workout & Wellness have cultivated a supportive environment in which women can focus on health, fitness, and wellness. Whether grooving through Zumba sessions, pushing weight sleds, performing lifts, or sweating, students find plenty of challenges in the center’s classes. Staffers gauge fitness level by analyzing BMI and testing cardio, strength, flexibility, and the ability to karate-chop airborne cucumbers. Experts also lend advice on nutritional intake and help clients set personalized goals. Before and after sweat sessions, ladies can suit up and cool down in the spacious showers and locker rooms at each location. Daycare is available at some locations for a nominal fee.
As part of the national network of Paul Mitchell beauty schools, Paul Mitchell the School Tinley Park teaches students—or, as the academy refers to them, future professionals—cosmetology and aesthetics skills inspired by the products and services the brand has spent decades perfecting. While expert instructors help students prepare for state board exams and training in advanced techniques, they also supervise their proteges as they practice their skills on public clients or vain houseplants who can reserve salon services at discounted rates. The school was originally opened in 2001 as the first Paul Mitchell School in Illinois, and in 2009 moved to its current 15,000 sq.-ft. studio space outfitted with modern trappings.
Under the watchful eye of a licensed professional, John Amico School of Hair Design's trained cosmetology pupils prove their hair-snipping, shaping, and taming skills with a wide variety of salon services. With the Amino Amplex treatment (a $150–$250 value depending on thickness and length), one of the school's student-stylists de-frizzes damaged hair with a formaldehyde-free formula, straightening and shining locks with an elixir concocted from amino acids and a vial of Rapunzel's tears. The father-and-son-owned cosmetology school teaches its disciples to complete the process in between three and four hours, upon which clients will sport a straighter, more relaxed style for up to three months.
In the Old World, castles were places to live, govern, and seek shelter. Today, there are still places designed to keep the outside world at bay, but rather than standing as bastions of military defense, they serve as oases of relaxation, fitness, and fun. Riviera Country Club and Sports Center is one such getaway. There, members can explore a vast campus of athletic and recreation amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a full gym, and a spa. Though the club’s organizers leave plenty of time for individuals to play in each space, they also host organized events, including regular group fitness classes such as boot camp, kickboxing, and Latin dance. They maintain a vast array of sports courts, as well, allowing members to feed their competitive sides in basketball, tennis, and racquetball arenas. As adults young and old sweat during their chosen forms of play, staffers help tykes explore their creativity in a play space known as the Sandbox, which combines education, arts and crafts, and computers to produce a secret army of glitter robots.