Friday, August 19 07:00 AM
If there's one thing Brazilians have the lock on (aside from looking effortlessly sexy in swimwear), it's partying. And with more bars per capita than either Rio or São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, the cachaca-charged capital of central state Minas Gerais, is the place to shake your moneymaker--especially now that its famed Roxy/Josefine nightclub has been redesigned and reopened.
The four-year-old club's original architect Fred Mafra has transformed his former vision into a mind-bending array of hexagons and colored LED lighting, as if some honeybees set up shop on the Tron set. Two dance floors, three bars (in acoustically sheltered bays so bartenders can hear your order), and a smoking deck with a retractable roof all include prismatic trickery. In comparison, the beautiful people--straights on Wednesdays and Fridays (Roxy), gays on Thursdays and Saturdays (Josefine)--might as well be window dressing.
Photo: Courtesy of Jomar Bragança
Thursday, August 18 07:00 AM
We've come to expect a lot of innovation from luxury hoteliers Jumeirah--after all, these are the brains behind Dubai's sail-shaped Burj Al Arab and Shanghai's techno-Zen Himalayas Hotel. But at the new 218-room Jumeirah Frankfurt in Germany, the most impressive feature is taken from the oldest page in the book: location, location, location.
The 25-story glass tower anchors the PalaisQuartier complex, a new mixed-use development built around the 18th-century Thurn-und-Taxis-Palais. The financial district is within walking distance, the "Rodeo Drive" Goethestrasse next door, and the airport a 20-minute subway ride away. In other words: business or leisure, Jumeirah is the hub. And with interiors decked out with silk carpets, mosaic rain showers, and warm honey and walnut tones, plus high-tech gadgetry (body heat detectors and motion sensors regulate room temperature), it's a rather plush hub at that.
Photo: Courtesy of Jumeirah Frankfurt
Wednesday, August 17 07:00 AM
Ever since Michael Phelps left the building, the National Acquatics Center in Beijing seemed a bit like a fish out of water. But now, the Happy Magic Watercube Waterpark has opened in the translucent bubble-covered building to put the sparkle back in its splash.
Ribbons of color sail wavelike through schools of pink and blue jellyfish suspended from the ceiling, and a rainbow of slides twist their thrill-ride tentacles down into splash pools. Swimmers can seek out swells in a wave pool, float around a lazy river, or brave a near-vertical speed slide. Seems Mr. Phelps isn't the only one who knows how to live life in the fast lane.
Photo: Courtesy of Happy Magic Watercube Waterpark
Tuesday, August 16 12:44 PM
Chicago newcomer Barn & Company is the pits. Delicious, meaty, hickory-smoked pits, that is. And we're fired up about its country-crossing menu referencing barbecue traditions from Texas to Memphis to Kansas City.
The dining room has a rustic city slicker vibe with reclaimed barn wood walls and rusted tin ceilings installed to add a bit of patina to the space. It's the ideal place to down brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and links. Tables look onto the open kitchen where chef and BBQ expert Gary Wiviott mans the smoker and mixes up sauces. If you can't stand the heat, order up a jam jar of beer or a Redneck Sangria. Pork plus bourbon-spiked wine? That's our idea of a pig out.
Photo: Courtesy of Barn & Company
Monday, August 15 10:20 AM
The new Dekalb Market has made everything shipshape in downtown Brooklyn. Twenty-two salvaged shipping containers chopped, welded, and painted in rainbow hues now house boutiques selling everything from vintage rompers and 1970s eyewear to Holstee recycled wallets and Alder printed silk scarves by local Pratt Institute design students.
Work up an appetite grooving to tracks spun by the hip-hop heads behind Bbeats, the market's record shop, and then sample everything from veggie muffulettas to mod Filipino fare in the mini restaurants. An urban farm and a beer garden are also on site. Fertile ground for a weekend outing? We think so.
Photo: Courtesy of Dekalb Market