By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
Moda Lounge: A luxury lounge in a strip mall? Who'da thunk it? But here it is, sitting right next to On the Rocks, with nary a sign in sight. The only identifier is the soft blue light, spilling out from behind window curtains. Moda is blue on the inside, too, filled with retro plush velvet couches and chairs. Couples of all ages grind it out to souped-up salsa music on the large dance floor, or chill on cushy couches in private alcoves, cordoned off by blue and gold drapes. 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-429-0990.
1912 Lounge: This elegant watering hole at Arizona's oldest golf resort has quite a history. Below a banquet room across the hall, catacombs are all that's left of what was once a speakeasy. You won't need a password to get into the brightly lighted bar today, but it seems nearly everyone who works there has a ghost story to tell. 1 San Marcos Place, Chandler, 480-857-4428.
Nixon's: This cozy hideaway, tucked alongside the escalators at the Esplanade, is as much like Cheers as any neighborhood bar in town. The difference: bartenders who won't bore you with Cliff Clavin-esque factoids, and a cool after-work crowd who know a good wine list when they see one (and here, they'll see one). They'll also see a huge painted mural featuring Marilyn Monroe, Sandra Day O'Connor, Madonna, and Jackie O -- among others -- a lot of warm wood, old framed magazine covers, and a mess of political memorabilia. Order the red pepper goat cheese dip and a Thomas Kemper draft, and position yourself near a window with a view of passing shoppers. You'll be glad you did. 2501 E. Camelback Rd., 602-852-0900.
Pattie's First Avenue Lounge: A lively party place with a Mexican cantina, Pattie's features three dance floors, three bars, pool tables and a heated outdoor patio. Party buses -- full of bachelorette parties and other soirees -- always seem to be parked out front. Never a cover and the drinks are cheap (for Scottsdale, anyway). Live music and karaoke during special events.
Fri-Sat: DJ plays all genres of music. 7220 E. First Ave., Scottsdale, 480-990-0103.
Sapporo: Yes, the bar really is changing colors under your cocktail glass (neon lights, you know). But there are no kids lounging here; this spot is often favored by middle-aged professionals who eagerly crowd in to scan the scene while chatting on cell phones. Weather permitting, the back of the bar opens to a lovely patio with fountains bubbling out of rock walls. Service is smooth -- martinis come in silver shakers for self-pouring, with some creative choices like the Asian'tini garnished with octopus. Terrific sushi, too. 14344 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-607-1114.
Suede: Plush padded walls, sleek cherry wood, two lavish bars glam-lit with teardrop lights and neon ice strips -- no wonder this high-class lounge attracts so many beautiful, moneyed people. The sound is equally sophisticated, with DJ picks of jazz, disco and R&B. Everyone sports martinis in their manicured hands, with specialties like red-chocolate, the Bombay Sapphire Gin model, and Ketel One on tap, even. Plan on dinner, since Suede sends out truly tasty Euro-Asian fare like lobster pot stickers and spicy chicken spring rolls.
Sun: Hip-hop 8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Tue: House music, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.;
Wed: DJ old school and funk music, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Thu: DJ, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.;
Fri: DJ, house music and R&B, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480-970-6969.
Zen 32: The fact that this trendy place serves sushi until midnight every day is enough cause to celebrate, but the late-night fish feasts are even more fun thanks to an upbeat, hip young crowd. The bar is separated from the restaurant by a glass wall, so guests can get loud, and they do. Japanese animation videos add extra pizzazz and commotion. Drinks are especially ambitious, featuring a dozen premium sakes, a groovy sake-rita (Momokawa sake, raspberry sake, Triple Sec, Chambourd, Sweet-n-Sour) and a sake-tini (Midori melon liqueur, Skyy vodka, cold sake). Free sushi at happy hour makes Zen 32 literally priceless. 3160 E. Camelback Rd., 602-954-8700.