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By Derek Askey
Buffalo Chip Saloon: Founded by the daughter of Super Bowl I hero Max McGee in the late '60s, the small Buffalo Chip Saloon draws a Green Bay Packers-loving crowd. It also appeals to lovers of country music, who come to see the Pat James Band perform every Thursday through Sunday. Thu-Sun: Pat James Band. 6811 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, 480-488-9118.
Buzz the Original Fun Bar: On Friday and Saturday nights, this almost-commercial but still edgy place is all about a big ol' dance groove. But on Thursdays, an all-ages punk-loving crowd -- definitely not the usual fab danceteria clientele -- fills the space for live hard-core bands. 10345 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-991-FUNN.
Cactus Jack's Bar & Grill: This busy bar entertains thirtysomething Ahwatukee locals with live rock and blues on Fridays and Saturdays. Pool, darts and sports TVs round out the quintessential pub atmosphere. Mon: DJ. Tue and Thu: Karaoke. Wed: Blues by Carvin Jones. 4747 E. Elliot, Ahwatukee, 480-893-6630.
Cajun House: The New Orleans-themed atmosphere is cool enough, but the patrons pour in for an impressive lineup of established national acts. Rock, rap and reggae are popular here, but the Cajun House is known especially for hip-hop. Quieter side rooms like the Jazz Room Grill allow for conversation and dining. 7117 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale, 480-945-5150.
Cartwright's: Fire up the elk! Cartwright's serves big game meats in a classy setting -- mesquite wood floors with tile accents, iron railings, a 15-foot wooden bar built in Mexico and views of Cave Creek, all basking in candlelight. Singer-songwriters offer light fare on guitar and piano each night while snowbirds and locals dine. 6710 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, 480-488-8031.
Champions: 330 S. Gilbert Rd., Mesa, 480-649-1650.
Chances Are Restaurant & Lounge: Chances Are mixes supper-club elegance -- candlelit tables, cream and teal decor, filet mignon cut to order -- with retro jazz cool for a baby boom crowd. Big-band-style performers sing standards by Frank Sinatra and others nightly. Mon and Tue: Karaoke. 7570 E. Sixth Ave., Scottsdale, 480-994-4338.
Chandlers Bar & Grill: 1140 E. Washington, 602-254-2616.
Char's Has the Blues: A freestanding roadhouse, Char's is nearing two decades of showcasing Valley blues artists seven nights a week. Stop in to see local institutions like ax-shredder Carvin Jones every Monday and Friday night, or just to shoot a game of pool and sip bourbon with friends. Wed: Soul music from Fire in the Sky. 4631 N. Seventh Ave., 602-230-0205.
Chaser's: Chaser's is like a rugged Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Men in muscle shirts and softball jackets drink beer, an American flag hangs on stage, and three pool tables inspire competition. Local rock bands play Thursday through Saturday, and jukebox fare ranges from George Thorogood to Limp Bizkit. 8005 E. Roosevelt, Scottsdale, 480-945-4985.
Cherry Moon: Waterfalls and a reading-room-style lounge give this place a touch of elegance. Fridays are a major draw, with a catfish buffet, poetry slams, standup comedy and hip-hop DJs. Sat: DJs. 122 E. Washington, 602-271-0443.
Chez Nous Cocktail Lounge: After your eyes adjust, you'll see that you've found lounge heaven: deep vinyl booths, an old-school bar and smoky dark. One of the most diverse clienteles in the Valley comes together over stiff drinks and a small, crowded dance floor for live funk, soul and R&B. Mon-Tue: Covers and originals by Street Life. Wed: Open-mike jam session. Fri-Sun: Covers by weekend house band Roscoe Taylor, Tim Forkes & Co. 675 W. Indian School, 602-266-7372.
Chico's Paradise: Bamboo rods on the ceiling and portraits of island scenery set the tropical tone at this laid-back spot. Entertainment ranges from karaoke to happy hour bounds to a totally '80s music-video DJ. Wed: Karaoke. Thu: Weekly pool tournament. Fri: Music-video DJ. Sat: Classic-rock cover bands. 1948 E. McKellips, Mesa, 480-615-8636.
Club Central: A two-tiered jazz, blues and comedy club, Club Central also hosts a karaoke night so the amateurs can share the spotlight with the revolving door of musicians and comedians. An enforced dress code on Saturday nights distinguishes Club Central from other Valley blues clubs. 3110 N. Central, 602-200-8121.
Club Freedom: Among the most popular dance clubs in the Valley, Club Freedom features a massive dance floor on its lower level; wild, twirling lighting; and scores of well-dressed, college-age would-be ravers. Friday nights are big here thanks to "Kind Fridays," where big-name DJs like Frankie Bones and Sandra Collins hit the console hard. Thu: Club Dirty Dirty, a hip-hop night sponsored by Power 92.3. Fri: Kind Fridays. 919 E. Apache, Tempe, 480-303-6696.
Club Level: Local hip-hop radio station Power 92.3 keeps the dance hits coming at this watering hole upstairs on Mill Avenue. The people-watching can't be beat on Friday and Saturday nights, and the high school contingent turns out for occasional all-ages events. 411 S. Mill, Tempe, 480-367-7755.
Club Rio: This mammoth Top 40 and retro dance club hosts live music on occasion, but is better known as the college scene's favorite pickup bar. Before he ever threw a football for the Arizona Cardinals, Jake Plummer got in hot water for an infamous pass he made here. 430 N. Scottsdale Rd., Tempe, 480-894-0533.