A safe space. That's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley give to more than 43,000 kids each year. But along with keeping kids out of harm's way after school lets out, the Boys & Girls Clubs enrich children's lives though their programs. Kids get creative in arts classes, learn social interaction and fitness skills in sports programs, and prepare for the future with technology courses that ensure they won't buy stock in companies that only produce floppy discs.
But the Boys & Girls Clubs impact kids beyond afterschool care. In addition to the East Valley clubs having the first Arizona club to serve a Native American community, the clubs' Ladmo branch has Mona Dixon, who was named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2010.
Her path of success, encouraged by the Boys & Girls Clubs, led her from a girl homeless and worried about her family's survival to a young woman with a full ride to college and named one of the Top 28 Most Influential Black Women in America by Essence magazine.
Voted Best Children’s Theatre in 2010 by the Phoenix New Times, the Childsplay professional theater company delights young audiences and families with awe-inspiring, imaginative productions. The 2010–11 season welcomes to the stage Mary Norton’s classic The Borrowers, an enchanting story of a tiny family living under the floorboards that survives by nipping things from unsuspecting "human beans." The lonely protagonist, Arrietty, ventures upstairs in search of friends and finds a thrilling new world that is also full of excitement, danger, and runaway dust-ball boulders. Peeping youngsters will have their minds tastefully blown away by the creative use of shadow puppetry used to highlight the scale of the two different worlds and the Victorian science-fiction look and feel of the sets and costumes.
Even after prohibition's repeal on December 5, 1933, no whiskey was legally made in the Phoenix-metro area until Arizona Distilling Co came along in 2013. Far from changing local history overnight, the distillery's team spent seven years refining their technique, sourcing local grains, and parsing plenty of legalese. The fruit of all that labor is Copper City Bourbon, barrel-aged for at least two years and named for an Arizona brewery that was shut down during prohibition. Though bourbon remains the micro-distillery's cornerstone, lead distiller Jason Grossmiller has already begun branching out into small-batch gin made with local botanicals and Desert Durum Wheat Whiskey, locally-sourced grain whiskey. In addition to being poured as samples in the tasting room, the company's libations grace stores and restaurants throughout the state, as well as speakeasy bars hidden inside desert mesas.
Liquor stores generally don't give out free samples, but Taste of Tops is the next best thing. As the taproom for Tops Liquors, it's the place where customers go to try a sizable chunk of that store's massive inventory, including 24 rotating draft beers and another 400 microbrews in bottles and cans. Taste of Tops is also home to frequent wine and beer tastings, though tasting flights are actually available any time. The taproom doesn't serve food, but patrons are welcome to bring their own meals from local restaurants or from a mysterious picnic basket they found that spits out endless logs of pastrami.
The course itself carries on that fun vibe, too. Winding through city streets and local parks, the 5K route is dotted with hydration stations that dole out hot chocolate. Holiday music, a giant Santa inflatable, and snow blowers help to set
The Phoenix New Times pick for Best Rock Club in 2010 and 2011, this live-music venue draws crowds that huddle around indoor and outdoor stages to groove and wail every night of the week. Concerts and festivals stage local bands, indie rockers, and national acts playing genres ranging from bluegrass and reggae to jam music and rock 'n' roll. Amid the big-name acts, the house upholds beloved traditions; Grateful Dead fanatics and people with tie-dyed flesh emerge to party on Sunday nights, and each Thursday, burgeoning starlets perform karaoke with the support of a full live band. Beside the outdoor stage, a spacious patio facilitates mingling under the sky's star-freckled firmament. At the indoor bar, barkeeps fill glasses with mixed drinks and brews while colorful lights flash against walls. Black leather couches and huge art canvases line the lounge area, and a dance floor carved before the stage affords up-close views of the passport stamps canvassing rock star's wrists. AZCentral noted: "Not far from Mill Avenue, the Sail Inn offers a whole different scene, with a cool vibe and laid-back people."