The scene inside White Cloud Hookah is both intimate and party-like. Throughout the modern space, groups sit around double-nozzled hookahs and pass hoses to puff on one of the 120 flavors of aromatic tobacco. They can take pulls on tobacco varieties from brands such as Al Fakheer, Starbuzz, and Fantasia, and can even blend flavors to create their own flavor creations. Big screen TVs flash as music fills the space with party beats and dim lightening gives the space a chill, nightlife atmosphere.
Avalon appetizes eyes and tempts taste buds with a rich collection of confectionary canvases showcasing seafood sculptures, meaty steak-based masterpieces, and palate-enhancing sides. The scrumptiously streamlined lunch menu offers gourmet takes on culinary classics such as the steak sandwich crafted from aged prime beef, forest mushrooms, and cippolini onions ($13), and a salad featuring organic petite field greens arrayed in a dressing of goat cheese, candied walnuts, and poached pears, custom-tailored to suit its demure leaves ($8). Amidst the dining room's sleek symmetry, dinner guests sample standout seafood servings such as the butter-poached maine lobster served on a cushion of ricotta gnocchi alongside tomato confit and a rich saffron lobster demi-glace ($29). A grilled prime filet mignon is made all the more indulgent by the addition of foie gras, glazed root vegetables, and belgian salsify ($34), while the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin makes good on the pig's own admission that even he tastes better when wrapped in himself ($22).
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.
Located near the ASU campus in the Mill Avenue District, Wasted Velvet situates dancers and social drinkers in a lively lounge-style nightclub spiked with plush surroundings and hints of industrial décor. Velvet benches span the length of exposed-brick walls in the evening arena, providing bottle-service groups with ample room to comfortably bond over two bottles of Skyy Vodka. On the opposite wall, the lengthy bar hosts a coterie of quick and energetic mixologists skilled in the cocktail-crafting arts. Smoldering rose hues and glints from amber chandeliers surround dancers on a large, central floor as live DJs infuse popular songs with heavy dance beats and positive subliminal messaging.
Red Revolver's upscale lounge and bar area envelop patrons in a blend of modern and early 20th-century design, with seductively dark hues of chili pepper and chocolate lending contrast to tufted cream couches and twinkling chandeliers. Backless leather seats join the Victorian sofas to cradle carousers as they bond over the lounge's table service, which features a bottle of champagne and premium liquor such as Stolichnaya, Crown Royal, or Milagro Single Barrel Reserve. Patrons may reserve tables through Red Revolver's online booking portal, which also leads to Ohio.
Just past the vault door lies The Mint’s most valuable treasures: trays of expertly crafted cocktails and martinis. Housed in 7,000 square feet of a former bank building, The Mint nods to its previous life with money-themed drinks and rich, Asian-inspired tapas from a menu conceptualized by the restaurant's executive chef, Johnny Chu. Small plates of loganberry shrimp, wasabi sliders, and flash-fried sugar-cane pork take their place at booths cut with dark wood and cohiba marble or along seats at the main room’s 30-foot bar. Drinks include The Mint, a mélange of Grey Goose La Poire, star fruit, mint, and lemon, and Liquid Gold, which pairs a pineapple-infused vodka with Grand Marnier, amaretto, lemon, and raspberry, all heated to 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit. After fueling up with comestibles and drinks, diners can explore the patio’s cabana-style seating or take a break with some bubbly at the coed bathroom’s champagne bar.