What began in 1990 as the gymnastics and dance company of competitive athlete and Broadway dancer Christopher Harrison has evolved into something of a worldwide phenomenon. AntiGravity NTF's staff members are some of the same athletes and acrobats who soar over audiences with the AntiGravity theater group, and who appear in high-profile celebrity musical acts and Hollywood productions. Current director Daniel Stover's work, for example, was featured in the 2012 movie Step Up Revolution, for which he choreographed a scene in which AntiGravity NTF dancer-athletes vertically scale a wall using bungee cords.
These performers practice and share their knowledge of the aerial arts in an impressive facility, which boasts equipment that is the stuff of sports performers' dreams. It includes a wall-running track suspended 40 feet in midair, which allows athletes to scale the walls, do flips, and easily dust away ceiling cobwebs. The trampoline staircase puts extra pep in climbers' steps, as do custom-enhanced AntiGravity boots that act as jumping stilts and gravity-defying silk hammocks, specialty harnesses, and an aerial cube. In the dance and gymnastics studio, students bounce on competition-style mats and flooring, whereas an outdoor conditioning field helps boot campers get fit, and a pole-dance fitness studio invites people to strut their sultry stuff.
Where there's smoke, there's a fiery Groupon. Fill your lungs with one night of unlimited fruity deliciousness at the plush and swanky Meridian Hookah Lounge (a $12 value). Meridian is an intimate and relaxing lounge that's open until 3 a.m. and has live music several nights a week.
Filled with 50 tons of carved ice and most recently inspired by Ernest Shackleton's failed Antarctic expedition, Icebar's 27-degree, bacchanalian winterscape earned itself a feature in Frommer's and a spot on the Travel Channel's list of The World's Coolest Bars. After bundling up with gloves and jackets or in rentable faux fur coats, guests can spend up to 45 minutes touring the room's collection of frozen sculptures, floes, and sled-dog huts, raising toasts to their favorites with glasses made entirely out of ice. Frozen stools covered with seal fur line the bar, where mixologists pour frosty cocktails and root around for two identical snowflakes.
The adjacent Fire Lounge allows visitors to warm up afterward by snagging a drink from the full-service bar or bobbing their heads to the mixes of DJ Sher-khan. The pulsing sound system helps to get blood flowing again while lasers and strobe lights scan the room for any escaped snowglobes.
A self-described ?gastrolounge,? Hammerheads Beer and Wine Bar serves up creative, satisfying pub dishes alongside craft beers and frozen cocktails. Its dishes add a subtle, upscale twist to pub mainstays: kaiser rolls are filled with bourbon pulled pork, and corn dog balls are wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon before meeting their fate in the deep fryer. Boneless chicken wings and their cousin, a breaded chicken-breast sandwich, are carried to tables atop beds of savory coated french fries or sweet potato fries.
Alternating red and yellow walls create a cheery atmosphere, as does the collection of surfboards and pictures scattered throughout the pub. Regular karaoke nights challenge patrons to lock vocal cords with their buddies and demonstrate their crowd-pleasing prowess by making up choreography to accompany each song. Hammerheads also offers a variety of entertainment options each week, including movie nights, live music, and live interactive shows.
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant not only imports ingredients and products, but also recipes. With roots in northern Spain and Catalonia, these dishes come together on a menu of more than 100 hot and cold tapas selections, along with paella and cazuela. Paella, a widely varied rice dish cooked at length in a wide pot over open flame, can contain Serrano ham, scallops, pork, chorizo, and saffron rice the stunning golden hue of an alchemist's magazine advertisements. Though the restaurant spans multiple locations, each one presents guests with some charming element: a poolside patio at the Tampa location, a central tapas bar in Orlando, and a flamenco room in St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, no matter the location, events bring about live music and joviality, all supported by an ample list of Spanish and Portuguese wines.
It's no wonder Vines gives equal weight to "Grille" and "Wine Bar" in its name. The Restaurant Row anchor is hugely popular for its top-quality meats and fresh-caught seafood; a meal could begin with grilled octopus or oysters Rockefeller before transitioning to a cut of Prime filet. But the wine list is at least as impressive, a catalogue of 600-plus bottles from around the world that's been recognized with a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. After dinner on any given night, guests can linger over a fine cigar or a gentlemanly mouthful of chewing gold as they listen to live jazz music from the likes of Tonya Phillips Staples and Barbara Walker.