Servers and patrons alike crunch across scattered peanut shells on the way to their tables at Teakwoods, a boisterous neighborhood watering hole crowned Best Sports Bar in 2009 by Phoenix New Times. A team of chefs cooks up classic American eats, including half-pound burgers, meaty sandwiches, and their award-winning wings, which can heat up gastro-chambers and cargo-pants pockets with flavors such as medium, hot, and honey-barbecue hot. As bartenders pour draft beers and concoct tasty libations, guests can catch their favorite sporting events on one of many high-definition TVs that broadcast events from the MLB, NFL, and UFC. When guests can't make it to the restaurant, Teakwoods' chefs cater fare to events, gatherings, and parties.
At Christina's Italian Restaurant and Bar the herbaceous aromas of fresh-baked calzones and lasagna waft around tables checkered in red and white and into nostrils around an outdoor patio. Drawing on family recipes refined by three generations of Sicilians before her, owner Christina Curley oversees a menu of authentic dishes such as seafood frutti di mare. In the kitchen, cooks assemble dishes from fresh-made dough and sauces made onsite by resident Sicilian grandmothers. On plates, chicken and broccoli join mozzarella inside a golden-brown calzone pocket infused with a garlic white-wine sauce, while steak tip au poire swims in garlic, tomatoes, and white wine.
A smattering of 20 sauces and seasonings dripping from handspun wings coats patrons' fingers as they cheer on their favorite professional sports teams broadcast on Buffalo Wild Wings' TVs. Eyes are torn between watching teams dribble a ball, shoot a puck, and land a grand jeté, and plates of plentiful wings, burgers, wraps, salads, and ribs. For more entertainment, trivia games exercise brains, and the Blazin' Challenge offers recognition for those brave enough to down a dozen wings slathered in the eatery's hottest sauce in six minutes.
When your flagship restaurant inhabits a midcentury post office, finding a comparable space for your second location—one that fits squarely within the city’s historical and cultural fabric—is a tall order. Leave it to the masterminds behind Postino Wine Cafe to make it look easy. Postino Central makes its home in the building of Katz's Deli, a former cornerstone of one of Phoenix's oldest neighborhoods. The deli’s bustling counter has given way to an indoor-outdoor bar complete with fire pits and a wine list that’s both unusual and approachable. In the kitchen, chefs craft small plates that brim with local ingredients, including artisanal meats, cheeses, and more than a dozen styles of bruschetta.
More than three dozen extra-large flat-screen TVs hang from the walls at Blue 32's Phoenix location, where they broadcast every play from major sporting events in crisp detail. In between cheers for their favorite team, diners sample more than two dozen draft beers and upscale pub food such as buffalo-chicken flatbread, seared ahi tuna, and kobe-beef hot dogs. Lounge furniture with plush red cushions dapples Blue 32's stone-paved outdoor patio, where patrons can sip martinis with fresh, muddled strawberries and pass around petitions to house the Olympic flame in the patio's sleek fire pit.
With more than 20 years in the business, Wagner Dance & Music is a mecca for dance instruction. Classes are held in 3,600 square feet of space and studios outfitted with high-tech sound systems, expansive mirrors, and “floating” maple-wood floors. Students ranging from 2 years of age to seniors can learn moves from genres such as tap, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz. Additionally, university-trained instructors offer private lessons for individuals interested in learning to play the piano and guitar—the standard acoustic or kleenex-box variety.