Sweet Mel's combines food and drink in a way not seen since the invention of the banana milkshake, offering a lengthy lineup of burgers, beers, and mixed drinks inside a red and black bar. From their perches on exposed-brick walls, hungry TVs can only dream of sampling what they see?pork chops, deep-fried Oreos, beef patties sandwiched between funnel cakes (The Sweet Mel), and foot-long hoagies packed with slabs of ground beef and bacon (The Boss). To wash down big meals, bartenders pour a steady stream of martinis and specialty cocktails, and fill 100-ounce towers with beer, the only beverage that does not immediately curdle when poured into a tower. A wide array of events puts the corner stage to use, with $1 drafts on Mondays, trivia on Tuesday, and Shakespearean-style readings of the menu specials every day.
Experienced instructor Maria Alvarez leads solo hoofers or fleet-footed pairs through the steps, forms, and customs of more than 15 styles of dance. Private lessons—each lasting 50 toe-tapping minutes—cater to the ability of each individual student or couple, and the one-on-one interaction allows for the speedier learning of steps and the secret fox-trot handshake. Group lessons, which are usually composed of 10–30 participants, encourage students to boogie down with multiple dance partners, and each group outing focuses on a few steps. Newly acquired fancy footwork comes in handy at the monthly studio parties, in which students test out their skills in a fun social setting. Movement-friendly duds should be worn to classes, and more semiformal threads, such as dresses or tuxedo T-shirts, are welcome at the parties. All events require footwear with clean soles.
One of the oldest community theaters in the state, The Gainesville Community Playhouse has produced crowd-pleasing plays since 1927. In Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, elderly Carrie sets out to escape the clutches of her cowardly son and his bossy wife by returning to her childhood home. A dedicated cast and crew of local volunteers ably enact Carrie's search for her past. Patrons peep through the fourth wall in the 210-seat Vam York Theater, which boasts facilities to stage the most demanding musicals or Shakespearean space battles.
101 Cantina showcases a menu of contemporary Mexican dishes served in a vibrant cocktail lounge. Opposite a wall decorated with a giant mural resembling urban street art, bartenders keep the nightlife alive by serving more than 50 tequilas as well as a variety of flavored margaritas and specialty cocktails. In the kitchen, chefs prepare traditional, home-style burritos and enchiladas, while experimenting with tacos filled with inventive ingredients, including everything from steak with Korean-style marinade and sesame-chili dressing to grilled chicken with wasabi aioli. 101 Cantina prides itself on providing a spirited night out, and the eatery?s wall of fame commemorates some of these nights by displaying a number of photographs of patrons and presidents of the clean plate club.
The "Press" in Radical Press Coffee might have two meanings, seeing as how the shop is located within the Civic Media Center's radical lending library. If you want to read more about the fair economic practices behind the shop's vegan coffee drinks, you can probably find a relevant book in the stacks that line the walls. As for the coffee itself, it's all locally roasted and served hot or iced, french-pressed or aero-pressed. The baked goods are all gluten-free, vegan, and nutritious, so you won't have to eat the napkin to get your daily fiber.
University of Florida fans tuck into booths, sit along the bar, and lean across a blue-felt pool table while they enjoy the lively atmosphere and sports action at Gator Tales Sports Bar. The kitchen sates patrons with a long list of edibles, and bartenders keep whistles whetted and in tune with cool drafts of Miller Lite and Amber Bock. Ceiling fans manufacture breezes on the outdoor tiki bar, surrounded by key-lime-green walls and twin flat-screen TVs, and a mounted gator head smiles above the bar inside.