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.
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).
The Napoleon is a 5,000 square foot indoor/outdoor upscale luxury lounge and cigar/Jazz club. As the first exclusive high end cigar club to offer indoor smoking, alongside a luxurious space for members to relax, imbibe and listen to live jazz on Thur. Fri. & S
Guided by the black-and-white swagger of Bogart and Bacall, The Casablanca Lounge shares small plates, premium cocktails, and an extensive wine and beer selection with sophistication-seeking guests. Casablanca?s Vegas-style seating taps into Sin City?s charm, but skips the sentient slot machines, and three panoramic patios overlook Camelback Mountain and starlit Scottsdale.
The third-floor lounge's cuisine includes cheese and charcuterie boards featuring artisan cheeses and cured meats. These bites complement the bar's offerings, which include eight rotating drafts from breweries such as Founders and Stone, as well as a sparkling-wine menu featuring Mo?t & Chandon's Nectar Imp?rial and bubbles from Dom P?rignon. However, it's the craft cocktails that take center stage. Guests can order a classic libation or peruse the menu of seasonally rotating libations, all of which are made with the utmost care.?
The star mixologists' attention to detail has even earned them praise from the Phoenix New Times: "As much art as science, the intricate drink-making process involves measuring exact jiggers from an enormous surplus of first-class intoxicants, including more than 200 different bourbons and scotches, or muddling finely-cut ingredients to create spirits with swagger."
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.