Mesa Arts Center curates artistic goings-on inside a sleek structure filled with four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Graced by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Bill Cosby, the stages of the facility's theaters showcase a cultural cocktail of live music, Broadway, dance, and comedy performances. Grooming the next generation of artisans with the help of advanced equipment, seasoned instructors teach everything from acting and beading to woodworking and welding during art classes tailored to both kids and adults.
For inspiration, students and visitors can stroll through the galleries of the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum for glimpses at a revolving selection of contemporary art from international artists. Speckled with gardens, shapely architecture, and colorful lighting, the facility’s modern grounds welcome guests for everyday visits or annual events and festivals.
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.
As its neon-flamed exterior would suggest, Cactus Moon Sports Grill is a lively establishment. Chefs prepare eclectic dishes, such as Wachos, their Southwestern twist on nachos, in which they douse crisp waffle fries in a hearty sauce. From the sports bar outfitted with 48 HDTVs, bartenders pour a selection of beer and wine, which includes sudsy drafts from Four Peaks, Stella Artois, and Sam Adams. On some nights, the clacking of pool balls on 15 billiards tables and the rattling of foosball kickers orchestrate rhythmic background sounds, and on others, a late-night DJ incites hip swivels and 360-degree head turns with an infectious track list of danceable tunes played out over a 1,000-square-foot dance floor.
Imagined and founded by country singer-songwriter Toby Keith, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill combines Southern-style eats with mason jars full of beer, plus daisy-duke-clad waitresses pouring top-shelf whiskeys. This all takes place beneath complex light and sound systems for the restaurant's full-on concert stage. The staff keeps the calendar stocked with events, hosting sports nights, poker tournaments, karaoke, and live bands such as Due West and Colt Ford. Performers croon, their guitars twang, and the lights dim to shades of purple, blue, and red—colors scientifically proven to make mediocre dancers look like Russian ballet stars.
When both the plasma-screen TVs and stage lie dormant, the entertainment continues aboard the bar's mechanical bull, appropriately dubbed “Toby.” Even ordering a drink comes with the thrill of sidling up to the 85-foot, guitar-shaped bar, originally intended to be strummed by a giant robot Elvis.