Best Of :: Bars & Clubs
Why does George & Dragon win Best English Pub year after year? Could it be all the British beers on tap? The pictures of the Queen Mum and the Duke of Windsor while he was still King Edward VIII? The fact that it serves peas with its fish and chips and has plenty of HP sauce on hand? Or perhaps it's because it offers spotted dick for anyone willing to eat it? Why, we haven't had a better spotted dick since our days in London just prior to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's fall from power. What? You're squeamish about popping a spotted dick into your mouth? Get your mind out of the gutter, you perv! This spotted dick is a giant bowl of sponge pudding filled with raisins and sultanas and topped with a thick, creamy layer of Bird's English custard. But back to our original question, the reason the good G & D always seems to win Best English Pub is for all of the above, spotted dick included. Can someone cue "Rule Britannia," please? Readers' Choice: George & Dragon Restaurant
One of the surprises of moving to Phoenix for the first time from some place like Los Angeles or New York is being able to have a pint of P-town's "home brew" -- Kiltlifter Scottish Ale -- on tap at a local saloon. Let's be honest, when you're a newbie transplant with some of that El Lay or Gotham 'tude, your first reaction to PHX -- not knowing the area -- might be, "Why, God, why?" But a draught of Kiltlifter, the flagship ale of the Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe, is enough to convince you that not only is there civilization in P-town, but it has produced a damn fine brew-ha-ha, one worthy of incessant quaffing. Kiltlifter is an award-winning, Scottish-style amber ale that uses peat-soaked malt (the same used in making Scotch) to give the beverage a smoky sweetness, accented with a touch of English hops. It's a sophisticated, refreshing drink, and Phoenicians should be as proud of it as they are of the Arizona flag.
To borrow a line from John Belushi in Animal House, now that Arizona has gotten off its keister and extended the drinking cutoff until 2 a.m., we advise you to start drinking heavily. And there's no better place to start drinking heavily than at McDuffy's Wide World of Entertainment in Peoria, which has 21 different beers on tap and at least the same number in bottles. This sleek, 13,000-square-foot sports bar is jam-packed with large-screen TVs tuned to all of your favorite athletic competitions, and then some. McDuffy's also offers off-track betting year-round, so you can lose your shirt (or win a bundle) while getting hammered. And the kitchen prepares some of the best bar food, bar none, everything from beer-battered fish and chips and roast beef sliders au jus to hand-crafted pizzas, made to your exacting specifications. Moreover, with its half-price happy hour -- and a reverse happy hour on Sundays that includes Sabbath tourneys of "beer pong" (Yahweh must love that one), McDuffy's has become a destination drinking, dining and fun zone for the entire west side. If only Belushi were still around, he'd love it. Readers' Choice: Four Peaks Brewing Company
Hey, Dancing Queen, if those shoes haven't scuffed a dance floor since disco, it's time to leave the house. Deciding where to bust your latest Beyonc moves isn't easy, but there are a few diva-worthy dance floors out there -- all of them inside the confines of The Buzz.
The Buzz is perfect for the schizophrenic dancer who's not really sure what groove to follow. The maze of bars and themed rooms surround a large dance floor lighted by hypnotic lasers and energized by scratch-happy DJs who spin everything from house to funk to hip-hop.
Save the last dance until you've perused the rest of the two-story fun bar. The Rat Pack Lounge offers a little Sinatra-inspired R&R -- perfect for rejuvenating yourself -- and the rooftop patio is essential for airing out those sweat-soaked digs of yours. Don't lounge around too long, however. The Buzz is best experienced by dancing yourself dizzy. Readers' Choice: Axis/Radius
This place would impress even the Queer Eye guys. From the opera bar to the leather couches to the jumbo shrimp appetizer, everything about Amsterdam is perfectly appointed, particularly the help -- and the clientele. You'll feel like you've died and gone to cable when you sink back with a martini (we recommend the French) and enjoy the, er, view, as well as the live piano music and frequent drag shows. For you fag hags (and boys who do the mani-pedi thing), we highly recommend "Martinis and Manicures" -- just $5 for a mani, $10 for a pedi, 7 p.m. to close, plus $5 martinis.
Don't bother asking for a "facial." It's not that kind of place. Readers' Choice: Amsterdam
Thankfully, you'll be hard-pressed to find a mullet here. E-Lounge draws patrons of all ages, but its largest draw is the twentysomething crowd. With ample, cushy couches, reasonably priced drinks, and hordes of hot women, E-Lounge is fast becoming the nightclub that local lesbians have wanted for years. The inside decor resembles a grotto inferno, with dark red brick walls, paintings of exotic, scantily clad women, and a spacious, sunken dance floor -- a perfect pit for exhibitionists, and a great eyeful opportunity for voyeurs. Add some of the Valley's hottest DJs (Domenica, Pete, and Laura B.) to the mix, and there's bound to be beautiful booty shakin' until last call -- and maybe more booty after that. Readers' Choice: Ain't Nobody's Bizness