Best Basement to Sneak Into (2011)
Stop into Hanny's on a weekend night in downtown Phoenix, and you'll see why there's no one on the street. The swanky bar and restaurant is a great place to spot who's who in the downtown scene, and an even better place to do some exploring. The building was designed by local architects Ryal Lescher and Leslie Mahoney and opened as Hanny's department store in 1947 (you don't even have to squint to see the original signage above the bar and on one of the outside walls). But more interesting than the dressing rooms turned bathrooms on the second floor, the hidden bar area from which you can spy on first-floor guests, and the empty elevator shafts is the basement. The space is an empty shell of what once was — the shoe counter still stands near the elevator, dusty and forgotten. The staircase is blocked off with a chain-link fence. Sneak past the Hanny's employees down the staircase and behind the dressed mannequin by local artist Janis Leonard (below the DJ booth) and you'll see what may one day be one of the coolest underground spots in Phoenix. Just don't tell them we sent you.