The spring-loaded trampolines and high-flying activities at Airworx’s brightly colored 27,000-square-foot center launch visitors of all ages high into the air. Families can duke it out at the dodge ball court to determine who sits in dad’s comfy chair, and kids younger than 7 spring from age-appropriate trampolines and crawl over a 20-foot inflatable structure in the Shooting Stars area. Airworx’s nightclub-quality sound system and bouncy floors leave visitors breathless as they simulate Jordan-esque dunks amid rows of basketball hoops or challenge friends on the 140-foot trampolines to see how many backflips it takes to travel back in time. Besides open bouncing, Airworx also opens up colorful private rooms for birthday parties, and an elevated DJ booth personalizes the tone of unique corporate and group events.
Wasted Velvet, a new lounge-style nightclub in Tempe’s Mill Avenue District, keeps nocturnal rhythms pulsing with music, drinks, and dancing six nights a week. Bartenders at the full bar sling $3 domestic and $4 imported bottles as well as $5 well drinks, and a robust roster of specials keeps dollars stretchier than Gumby doing Bikram yoga. A dance floor, lit by a crystal chandelier casting light on ambiant rose and violet hues, nudges against plush banquettes and wall murals depicting seductive night revelers. Sternums vibrate to the sounds of live DJs such as DJ MattaFact, who has spun on 101.5 JAMZ, and VIP bottle service ($150) lets groups and parties post up in style.
Amid plush leather booths and dim red lights, smoke billows from hookah pipes, wafting soft scents of watermelon and mixed fruits over patrons nodding heads to DJ-spun tunes. This laid-back ambiance is par for the course at Crave Cafe & Lounge, where Mediterranean influences meet American style to create a trendy and mellow atmosphere for dining or partying, earning it the title of Best Hookah Lounge 2011 from Voice Places. Crave’s chefs cook up a menu of Mediterranean-inspired fare, including the greek burger—a simmering layer of gyro meat topped with feta cheese and cucumber. A full bar slings more than 15 bottled beer selections and nightly specials noted by Voice Places, such as The Best Bloody Mary You Ever Had and the Crave Mango Creation, Crave’s own secret recipe starring Absolut Mango. Spirits also find their way to tables via VIP bottle service, and a house breathalyzer machine allows patrons to measure their BAC to determine if they’ve enjoyed one cocktail too many or their blood-hummus level to determine if they've legally become a chickpea.
Phoenix chef Christopher Gross is something of a local legend, having pulled in a James Beard award for his upscale French cooking. At his eponymous Christophers Restaurant, the star chef plates up dishes like a lobster pot pie or wood oven pizza, topped unexpectedly with duck confit, goat cheese and figs. But even amid the sleek, upscale bistro setting with a glass-encased kitchen, he keeps things fun, peppering the menu with playful bites like an excellent burger that’s topped as you wish. At Crush Lounge, next door, the mood is sexier, with loud music, a busy bar and small plates like roasted rabbit salad or a house smoked salmon “BLT” sandwich, each to be paired with the restaurant’s list of over 50 by-the-glass wine choices. Stick around long enough and chef Gross might emerge from the kitchen himself to check in on your table with a handshake and a smile.