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City Survival: SPM's guide to your neighborhood

 by Mindy Lee  published on Thursday, August 25, 2005

Coffiee Plantation is one of our favorite Tempe hot spots. Here, two students,  already savvy to the local scene, relax between classes./issues/arts/693533
Deanna Dent / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Coffiee Plantation is one of our favorite Tempe hot spots. Here, two students, already savvy to the local scene, relax between classes.
 

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Getting around the ASU neighborhood isn't as tough as, say navigating the markets of Marrakech, but it's still be confusing if you're new to the area. That's SPM has graciously compiled a user-friendly, non-age discriminatory, vehicle-free guide to your new home. We've listed some of the best-kept secrets in the area, as well as some hot spots where you've just got to be seen. Cut it out. Put it in your pocket. It's way cooler than a map.

Breakfast is the first meal you eat when you wake up (keyword: when). That's why we recommend Chompie's (1160 E. University Dr.), where breakfast is served all day long. It's walking distance from the residence halls, so you can be sure that the early bird isn't the only one who gets the worm. This New York style deli and restaurant is a hometown favorite made popular by their savory bagels which are made fresh everyday. Chompie's also serves up a mean lunch and dinner menu, filled with meat-stacked sandwiches and other comfort foods like chicken fried steak and braised brisket.

After breakfast grab your new dorm buddies and head out to Mill Avenue. Some of the most distinctive shops are closer than you think. Ladies, check out Divaz (740 S. Mill Ave. # 110D) and Urban Angels (699 S. Mill Ave. # 112) for the most up-to-date stylish clothes and accessories. Guys, stores like Urban Outfitters (545 S. Mill Ave.) and Swell Clothing (524 S Mill Ave.) have the latest apparel for you, with the latter locally-owned store sporting some of the best denim in the valley. Another area highlight is Plush (215 W. University Dr.), where the racks are filled with alternative-style clothing and accessories. This moderately-priced (t-shirts range from $17.95 and up), fashion forward shop is perfect for those seeking an individual style. Check out their extensive collection of edgy belt buckles and accessories.

For those still anxiously awaiting their power-hour, there's no need to avoid the bar scene like a plague. The Mill Avenue area caters to under-agers as well, intertwining bars with alcohol-free activities. Catch up on your movies by heading to the Harkins Centerpoint movie theatre (730 S. Mill Ave.). It shows all the new releases with some of the latest show times in the Valley. This means you'll have plenty of time beforehand to grab a latte and a scrumptious muffin from Coffee Plantation (680 S. Mill Ave.) and plop a seat in their open patio area for great people watching. And trust us, it's worth doing. Mill Avenue isn't a homogenous shopping strip once the sun goes down.

For those on the prowl to bar-hop, grab a comfortable meal before heading out (something needs to absorb all that alcohol). P.F Chang's (740 S. Mill Ave.) and Oregano's (523 W. University Dr.) are excellent dinner restaurants. The dishes are moderately priced, meaning a complete meal for two (beverage, appetizer, entree, dessert) could cost you somewhere around $40. The place is crawling with anticipatory drinkers and the food is fabulous. P.F. Chang's is Chinese food with a kick, mixing spicy, sweet and tangy flavors of the Orient with a twist. Oregano's is known for their generous proportions of zesty Italian fare while never disappointing with their mile-high sandwiches and delectable pizzas.

With your belly full of food, it's time to hit the bars. With so many of them walking distance from each other, you can check them all out. If you're in the mood to meet new people, check out Mill Cue Club (607 S. Mill Ave.) or Maloney's (955 E. University Dr.). Both bars are jam-packed with social butterflies trying to make conversation over the piercing loud music by screaming into each other's ears. For a mellower scene, Rula Bula (401 S. Mill Ave.) and Casey Moore's (850 S. Ash Ave.) are the piece de resistance of chill atmospheres. Both have the inviting feel of an Irish pub but with a modern flair.

These are just a few highlights of what the ASU area has to offer -- a starter kit --venture out on your own. You never know which places vibe with you until you try it out.

Reach the reporter at mindy.lee@asu.edu.



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