Amid the smell of blooming hyacinths and the colorful ensigns of freshly emerged butterflies, one need only turn to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for proof of an encroaching spring. As the spring-training grounds for both the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the park?named as an homage to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community?sports 12 baseball diamonds, giving fans ample opportunity to watch the action and practice voicing play-by-plays of groundskeepers mowing the adjacent fields. In addition to spring-training bouts, Salt River Fields also hosts numerous special events, such as arts festivals and charity sports events.
Arizona’s most promising side-splitters share the stage with nationally renowned headliners at Speakeasy Comedy Club, a venue taking its atmospheric cues from a Prohibition-era nightspot. Shows on Friday and Saturday nights feature performers who have honed their anatomical knowledge of funny bones during televised appearances on Conan, Last Comic Standing, and HBO specials. Though the club discloses its password to a range of comics from diverse backgrounds, most performers eschew squeaky-clean comedy for a brand of dirty humor that appeals to the noir detectives who regularly lean on the venue's gray brick walls or occupy the back row’s plushy seats. A friendly wait staff supplies cocktails, signature margaritas, and other exquisite libations along with Mexican cuisine to soothe bellies aching from chortling fits.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
At Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre, three troupes—the Actor’s Cafe, the Children’s Theatre, and Cullity Hall productions—celebrate great storytelling with seasons full of classic plays and child-friendly adaptations. The Actor’s Cafe’s small, adult casts perform in a 60-seat cabaret, and the grownups and growing-ups of the other companies play on the main stage's still-intimate 136-seat theater-in-the-round.
At Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, you don't ever have to go thirsty, hungry, or get bored. That's because the lively interior is home to a variety of unique features, from a trio of beer taps at every booth to a 360-degree stage and 24-foot television. From the kitchen, servers whisk plates to tables piled with artichoke dip, five types of sliders, or grilled whiskey wings made from free-range whiskey bottles. Frequent events keep the airy, rustic interior of the bar and restaurant lively, and range from live music to UFC fights.
Every weekend, nationally touring comedians step up to the brick wall at The Comedy Spot Comedy Club to deliver their sets. The performance area allows viewers to get table seating right up to the edge of the stage or hang back in the booths to admire photos of nostalgic comedic icons. While watching, audiences can take in New York– and Chicago–inspired sandwiches and pizzas from the menu. Those looking to hone their own rib-tickling skills can enroll in improv classes or take the stage for a five-minute set during open mic nights. The club’s website even offers fledgling comics tips, such as a dress code, following the light, and checking each patron’s bag for tomatoes.