By Benjamin Leatherman
By Robrt L. Pela
By Katrina Montgomery
By Robrt L. Pela
By Kathleen Vanesian
By New Times
By Ray Stern
By Eric Tsetsi
Hanging out at the indoor/outdoor drink spot nextDOOR is a delight for the senses. Phat beats spun by turntablists will fill your ears and wicked-looking metal architectural touches (such as the face of Buddha or the mushroom-like outdoor bar) will amaze the eyes. And such top-shelf alcoholic concoctions as cucumber kamikazes or lip-smacking appletinis are sure to please the palate. 901 N. 4th St. 602-254-6424 www.nextdoor4u.com
The folks behind The Lost Leaf are pretty sincere about beer. The bohemian-style drinkery, located in a vintage 1930s-era domicile, boasts a selection of more than 75 different kinds of ales, lagers, stouts, and other brews available by the bottle. If that isn't enough to wet your whistle, the Lost Leaf also serves more than 20 different wines and sake, to boot. 914 N. 5th St., 602-258-0014, www.thelostleaf.org
You'll find it hard to remain perched on your barstool while hanging out at Homme, because the DJs rocking the record decks both downstairs and up on the second floor in the upstairsBAR at this bi-level beat shack are sure to get you shaking that moneymaker out on the dance floor. 138 W. Camelback Rd., 602-234-3023, www.myspace.com/phoenixhomme
Exotically bumpin' beats and other tropical rhythmic treats await nearly every night at Sky Lounge, where the steamy and sultry Latin club serves up two floors of local DJs spinning cumbia, bachata, reggaeton, and other jams en español on the turntables from Wednesday until Sunday every week. Don't forget to bring some agua, cabrón.132 E. Washington St., 602-229-1110, www.skyloungephoenix.com
The gorgeously gothic Palazzo is notorious among downtown nightspots, not only for its darkly opulent haunted mansion-like décor, but also for the weekly fetish/dance night Tranzylvania, where ghouls of every shape and size writhe around to industrial and darkwave music every Friday evening. Two other red-hot dance emporiums, the gay-friendly Amsterdam and fiery Latin discotheque Club Dwntwn, are right next door. 710 N. Central Ave., 602-229-1150, www.clubpalazzo.net
One of our favorite places to check out live music in downtown undoubtedly has to be the Brickhouse. The cavernous concert venue has an unpretentious vibe and intimate rock club feel where we can kick back with a Bud and partake in such national acts as KRS-One or Turbonegro, as well as local bands like Phunk Junkeez and Pinner. 1 E. Jackson St., 602-258-7880, www.brickhouse.tv.
Jumping and jiving every night of the week, the Rhythm Room has served as the Valley's best joint for blues, jazz, and roots musicians to do their thing. Since opening its doors in 1992, owner Bob Corritore has booked plenty of legends from those down-home genres, including Big Pete Pearson, Chico Chism, and Sanford Clark. 1019 E. Indian School Rd., 602-265-4842, rhythmroom.com
Wanna get the lowdown on the coolest and quirkiest bands the downtown music scene has to offer? Look no further than the Ruby Room Lounge, a swanky watering hole run by the folks behind the bygone Emerald Lounge. Hipster favorites such as Fatigo, Minibosses, Lonna Kelley, and Sweet Bleeders grace the Ruby Room's tiny stage during weekend shows. 717 S. Central Ave., 602-258-6900, www.myspace.com/therubyroomlounge
Few places in downtown ooze as much old-school Phoenix cool as Chez Nous, which is why we're grateful that proprietor Amina Uben faithfully recreated the superfly lounge at its new location on Grand Avenue. It's almost a carbon copy of the old haunt, right down to the chintzy-yet-chic gold-and-black wallpaper and the garish (and perpetually non-functional) lava rock fountain. 915 Grand Ave., 602-266-7372, www.cheznouscentral.com
Whenever the day-drinking mood strikes us, we typically head for Garnett's Rite Inn, because this rough-around-the-edges roadhouse offers the dive bar hat trick of cheap booze ($1.75 Bloody Mary's from 6 to 9 a.m. on weekends), saucy-yet-friendly bartenders (Becky is our favorite), and a pretty kickass jukebox (stocked with Otis Redding, Reba McEntire, and Johnny Cash). 4134 N. 7th Ave., 602-279-6086
Spend an evening at the Bikini Lounge and you'll see why the legendary tiki-themed dive bar is a favorite among the downtown crowd. Rub elbows with barflies and artist types as they down dirt-cheap drinks like $3 PBR pitchers, shoot stick at the pool table, listen to hipster DJs spinning jukebox-worthy music mixes, or converse with bartending mainstay Wesley. 1502 Grand Ave., 602-252-0472
718 N. Central Ave.
130 E. Washington St.
Char's Has the Blues
4631 N. 7th Ave.
3110 N. Central Ave., Suite 140
702 N. Central Ave.