Dancing flames erupt from teppan grills, illuminating the captivated faces of diners seated around the tabletop grill. The roaring fires are tamed by Sakura's highly skilled chefs, who playfully flip spatulas in the air before sizzling up plump morsels of teppanyaki steak, chicken, and seafood. Behind the sushi bar, chefs fold fresh fish into both raw and cooked specialty rolls, which reporters from Tucson Weekly lauded as "some of the most delicious seaweed, sweet vinegar rice and raw fish concoctions imaginable."
Kimono-clad waitresses glide through the lively dining rooms, bearing plates of sushi, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and colorful specialty cocktails. In the sports bar, the walls grasp massive flat screens and hundreds of pictures of the owner posing with local celebrities—from weather girls to the neighborhood grocery’s bag boy of the month. Towering chrome heaters warm the tabletops of the expansive outdoor patio, where colorful lights and hanging flags set the stage for live music performances each night.
The Empire Pizza & Pub staff assembles a mix and match of 23 ingredients—including barbecue sauce and genoa salami—atop 13 New York-style pizzas. Their efforts helped earn the eatery a Best Pizza nod in 2011 by Metromix. They name their specialty pies after notable places in New York, such as Soho’s white pizza with tomatoes, basil, and parmesan and the Jackson Heights slathered in barbecue sauce and sprinkled with chicken, green pepper, and onion. By preparing the pies, subs, and salads for carry-out, delivery, or serving them at the restaurant as late as 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday (11 p.m. other days) and as early as 835 B.C.E., the staff accommodates diners of many tastes and schedules.
The arena in which the team’s servers operate features exposed-brick walls lining the narrow layout. A bar at the back pairs libations with pizzas, while vintage lights illuminate the copper ceiling.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
By hosting haunted houses and spooky events, The Slaughterhouse has raised more than $40,000 for organizations such as the American Diabetes Association. Visitors interested in befriending the venue’s mischievous specters can embark on ghost tours, which explore the premise’s haunted depths. Alternatively, on-the-go partiers can select from a rental fleet of trailers packed with haunted-house-style frights or sound-system-equipped hearses, ideal for proving coolness to judgmental teenage vampires.
Reviving jaded posses of Tucson tongues with its traditional cuisine, La Fuente Restaurant is a Southwestern outpost for friendly service and live-strummed dinner music. The vast menu offers shareable starters such as the sour cream-flanked cheese quesadillas ($8.99), as well as hearty specialties like the mole poblano, a chicken breast simmered in the semisweet chocolate-chili sauce that cowboys once used primarily as mustache wax ($16.99). Dinner combos eliminate the burden of choice and are served in full-flavored configurations like beef taco, beef tamale, and cheese enchilada ($11.99), or a small eatable army of beef or chicken gorditas ($11.99). Meat-free options abound for green-mouthed plantavores and include a veggie burrito ($12.99) and spinach enchiladas ($11.99 for two).
Rhino Pub welcomes ravenous revelers with a spacious, sports-centric atmosphere and an appetite-appeasing menu stocked with mouth-watering grub and energizing coffee drinks. Twenty-four beers on tap paired with the luminous glow of 12 TVs attract suds-loving sports fans, and Tuesday's karaoke and Thursday's live music lure a mix of singers, dancers, and the occasional lonely tambourinist. Customers can take an entertainment break and quell carnivorous yens with a bacon cheeseburger, served with a choice of fries or tots ($7.95), or replenish dance tanks with a 16 oz. cappuccino ($3.25). Rhino Pub's inviting atmosphere sports neon lounge lights, long black high-top tables, and free WiFi, making it the ideal place to flirt with a like-minded super-fan or exchange romantic emails with the cute laptop across the bar.