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.
A steady wave of live music erupts from both floors of the establishment, whether it be DJ Robzilla mixing beats in the lounge or Mama Trish plucking acoustic melodies on the patio. Meanwhile, open-mic poetry nights give versatile versesmiths a respectful audience to recite sonnets about hygiene found on truck stop hand dryers.
The posse of chefs at Agave Blue piques curious palates with a menu of casual Mexican fusion fare. Step in from the eatery's parking lot to warm up masticators with an appetizer of taco cheese fries ($5.95) topped with taco meat, jalapeños, and shredded cheese. Mouths can move on to deep-fried chicken chimichangas ($9.95), a trio of steak tacos ($10.95) harmonizing with mexican slaw and chimichurri sauce, or the baja burger ($8.95), which hulas to tables with an entourage of grilled pineapple, pepper jack cheese, and sautéed onions. Diners can sip, slurp, and blow bubbles into traditional margaritas, sidling up to the bar to watch the game or hanging out at a table to watch the table.
Belting out karaoke can be a scary prospect for some, but Stage 7 offers a remedy for this particular brand of stage fright. Inside their private karaoke rooms, groups of three to 30 can sing alongside their friends, secure in the knowledge that they will not be mocked by strangers or have their uvula photographed without their consent. Rooms of varying sizes are furnished with sofas and tables so visitors can relax and socialize while they choose from a selection of more than 7,000 English-language songs—which range from classic rock to Top 40—as well as thousands more in Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino. Waitresses ferry snacks and drinks to each room, keeping singing pipes well-oiled with sake, soju, domestic beers, and imports such as Tsingtao and Asahi.
At their studio in historic Riverside, the artists of Old School Electric Tattoos adorn bodies with both ink and piercings. Helmed by a master tattooist, body-art professionals possess experience in an array of styles, such as East Coast, West Coast, portraits, and illustrations. They also apply their experience in custom designs, helping guests develop original images or dynamic renderings of their social security number. Beside the tattoo team, piercers work under the direction of several master practitioners who studied with renowned body-modification artists such as Fakir Musafar and Steve Haworth. Each member of Old School Electric Tattoos' staff complies with certified sterilization standards and biohazard practices.