Best Ceramics Studio 2023 | PIP Coffee and Clay | Fun & Games | Phoenix

PIP Coffee and Clay is exactly what it sounds like: a tiny cafe with an attached ceramics studio. The studio, located on 24th Street in Phoenix, does both coffee and clay excellently. The cafe is charming, the coffee is strong, and the ceramics studio is welcoming and full of art. It's a great place for ceramics newbies — group classes at PIP are fun and affordable — and also provides a communal studio space for those who already know a thing or two about pottery and throwing on a wheel. No matter your pottery talents, it's a great place to meet Phoenix creatives, people who won't judge you even if your handmade mug is a little lopsided.

You want to be more creative, but you don't know where to start. Well, you can browse a Michaels craft store and see what strikes your fancy, or you can sign up for an art class at Phoenix Center for the Arts and learn from an expert. The center offers instruction in mediums such as ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, painting and music. Classes are for all ages, and the instructors take their time so students understand theory as well as technique. Most classes last about five or six weeks, and they're held at two different locations: the center downtown and the Thunderbird Arts Center in North Phoenix, allowing a greater number of would-be artists the chance to learn a new passion.

From the pandemic to historic heat waves, the last three years have been a doozy. Add in trying to date in a digital world, and it's safe to say that we're all a little on edge. If you're one of those well-adjusted individuals who rely on counseling to get through, good for you. But, if you're like the rest of us and feel like smashing bottles and old appliances with a bat would help you deal with the tension, then Breakthrough Smash Room is the place to go. Your entrance fee gets you a bunch of stuff to break, safety gear and a bottle of water in case you work up a sweat while you're working through your issues. And because wreaking havoc on an old washing machine is better with friends, Breakthrough offers group packages that include food and drink for under $300. This rage room is, well, all the rage.

Not since Hollywood's 1993 release of "So I Married an Axe Murderer," has ax throwing been so mainstream. But here we are 30 years later, living out our own weapon-tossing fantasies in plain sight with a beer in our hand. For just $35 per person, you can take your Tinder date to throw axes at Hotshots, a locally owned business on the border of Scottsdale and Tempe. As an added benefit, you can also discover just how much danger you'd be in should the date go south by paying attention to their accuracy at hurling a deadly weapon. All jokes aside, Hotshots Axe Throwing does a great job of catering to city-dwelling Phoenicians who might not have a lot of ax-wielding experience. So, even if you aren't harboring secret wood-chopping skills, you'll still have a kickass time.

Bowlero knows how to entertain you, whether you're a kid who loves bowling and laser tag or an adult who enjoys revisiting your youth with a few arcade games. Fair warning — Bowlero is noisy, but in a good way, so be prepared. As soon as you walk in, you'll notice the bright light of the arcades, several lanes for bowling, a bar and lots of open space to accommodate couples, families and larger parties. With different specials each night, there are plenty of discounts to get your bowl on. And when it's time to step away from the lanes and take a break, there are several options at the bar — everything from burgers and wings to locally made brews. If you really love the scene, you can even join a bowling league and be a part of the laughter and camaraderie of seniors, co-ed and youth leagues up and down the lanes.

Have you ever had fried chicken and Champagne together? It sounds like an odd combination, but at Châm Pang Lanes off Roosevelt Row, it works. Now, pair the chicken and bubbly with bowling and an upscale, vintage ambiance and you've got yourself an evening to remember. The downtown hotspot has a small number of lanes, plus fun vibes, Instagram-worthy decor, DJs, a circular bar, pool tables, a satisfying drink list and snacks like sushi and nachos. If you're looking for a way to incorporate a few frames into your fancy night out in downtown Phoenix, Châm Pang Lanes is the place to go.

We predict, after Ken and Barbie's neon-clad jaunt by the beach this summer, that rollerblading may be making a comeback. But whether your wheels are all in a row or two by two, you'll definitely want to head to Great Skate Glendale next time you want to strap on some skates. There's something on the schedule virtually every night including public skating sessions, lessons for kids and adults, and themed skate events like "Hocus Pocus" and All You Can Eat Pizza Night. The grownups can enjoy the occasional adults-only skate night, too. The decor is classic skate rink craziness, the food and drinks are decent, and the vibes are fun and nostalgic. What more can you ask for?

Formerly Arcadia Ice, AZ Ice Arcadia has been given a modest facelift and maintains the smoothest ice rink in the desert. A variety of action keeps the Zamboni drivers busy, from figure skating and figure skating lessons to hockey (adult and youth) and public skating. The latter is a big draw for its affordability ($5 to $10; free for kids 3 and younger). Socks and gloves are required and available for sale should you forget them. Adults' favorite thing about this rink has long been the Ice House Tavern, which overlooks the ice and serves drinks and food from a full kitchen.

Bull Shooters

You don't have to be a billiards pro to recognize that BullShooters is the best spot in the Valley for stick 'n' sip action. The sizable North Phoenix pool hall and sports bar boasts the largest lineup of tables locally — 44 to be exact — each wobble-free and topped by blue felt with nary a snag or stain. The cues are also straight as an arrow (so chalk up any shooting snafus to your lack of skills). There's often a wait for a table on weekend nights, but with 13 electronic dart machines, off-track betting, a full food and drink menu with 30 beers on tap, frequent drink specials, and nightly karaoke sessions in the lounge, there's always something to do until a spot opens up. Better yet, stop by during the weekday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. happy hour for $6 games, or wait until 10 p.m. when they're a buck cheaper. Just don't scratch when it's your turn to break.

Win some, lose some. That's a given with a trip to any casino, so if you're going to toss some cash around to pull slot machine levers or throw some dice in hopes of monetary victories, why not go to a spot with some glam? Talking Stick Resort & Casino works hard to be a sexy destination for the betting crowds. Once your eyes settle after absorbing all the flashing lights, the sleek decor is noticeable — it's not subtle in reminding you that it's a Scottsdale hotspot. The concert stage at the Main Pool maintains a zesty roster of fun. A crowd might be smacking around inflatable guitars one night while Cheap Trick plays a blistering rock set. Another time might find boozy, bottle-serviced partygoers dancing their asses off to DJ sets. In addition to gambling and sports betting, other ways to drop some dough include an indoor performance venue, stylish hotel rooms, a soothing spa and a bunch of tasty eateries, including a seafood restaurant, a tapas place and a fine dining option.

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