Bars & Clubs

  • Best Irish Pub

    The Dubliner Irish Pub and Restaurant
    3841 East Thunderbird

    Any place with Guinness on tap is already worth its weight in gold, but this place has more than great beers to recommend it. It has regulars, loud Irish ones, and more than enough traditional Irish and Scottish performers, including an occasional bagpipe player and a group of acoustic guitar wielders on Tuesdays called the Claire Voyants that plays mixed traditional… More >>
  • Best Bar for Banter

    Newman's Lounge

    Located directly below the Golden West, one of Phoenix's last remaining downtown flophouses, Newman's Lounge could never be confused with Cheers or any other homey sitcom bar. Bleating cell phones, thumping karaoke machines and blaring techno music are conspicuously absent at this throwback to a bygone era -- when bars were designed for hard-core drinking and slurred story-swapping. At Newman's, you're… More >>
  • Best Cosmopolitan

    Tiramisu Ristorante

    It's a good thing that libations master Serafino won't share his secret for making the perfect cosmopolitan. If he did, we'd soon be organizing happy hour for our fellow members at a 12-step program meeting. This is the most exciting cocktail we've had the joy of sipping. And we do mean sip -- only someone with no appreciation for beauty would… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Faye's Green Room

    Seems like some bars clang a bell, give it another shake and before you can say "Doc Otis Hard Lemonade," your happy hour is terminated. But at Faye's Green Room, happy hour lasts longer than most part-time employment. This establishment has a happy weekday-afternoon-early-evening sorta deal. Mondays through Fridays, from 1 to 7 p.m., there is a "two-dollar-you-call-it" special on imported… More >>
  • Best Upscale Bar Food

    Michael's at the Citadel

    Chef Michael DeMaria has raised the bar on bar food. His sophisticated upstairs bar tops off this high-class restaurant. We're talking cushy sofas, overstuffed armchairs, a discreet but well-stocked bar and inspiring views of Scottsdale's spectacular sunsets. These are way-above-average bar bites, exquisite eats like potato-and-prosciutto-wrapped scallops with roasted pears and balsamic shallots; and crab-stuffed cannelloni on asparagus with horseradish… More >>
  • Best Food in a Bar

    Long Wong's

    For a beer joint chiefly associated with its day drinkers, live rock and chicken wings, Long Wong's on Mill offers a surprisingly extensive menu of bar fare. For vegetarian hell-raisers, there's a heady carte du jour of veggie clubs, subs, pitas and Garden Burgers that ring in at fewer than six bucks a pop and come with a heap of… More >>
  • Best Background Music

    BD's Mongolian BBQ

    While it seems that Muzak has gone the way of the dodo with the advent of custom-tailored satellite radio, most eateries trying to provide a soundtrack to your visit are still guilty of offering up warmed-over MOR leftovers. In a land normally populated by Dan Fogelbergs, Anne Murrays and Billy Joels, we've found an oasis in the form of BD's… More >>
  • Best Tequila Selection

    Via DeLosantos

    Tequila's not just for killing brain cells and sorrows anymore -- premium tequilas today are good enough for respectable sipping and have many of the nuances and personalities of fine wine. There are three grades -- fresh-from-the-still blanco, reposado aged in oak two months to a year, and aņejo aged more than a year -- and Via DeLosantos offers them… More >>
  • Best Wine Selection

    Cowboy Ciao

    There are other restaurants in town with longer wine lists. But they don't have what makes Cowboy Ciao so special to us -- wine flights. What a wonderful concept -- giving us three different wines, at three-ounce pours each, for one fixed price. It allows us to sample and savor fine new wines we might never have tried otherwise. The presentation is… More >>
  • Best Place to Sing Off-Key

    Ernie's Inn

    When Ernie's Inn opened three decades ago, the place was a darkly lighted, smoky rumpus room for serious drinkers looking to tie one on. A lot has changed since then. Today, Ernie's is a darkly lighted, smoky rumpus room for serious drinkers looking to tie one on and belt out a karaoke tune. It's pure fun. The stage opens every night… More >>
  • Best Open-Mike Night Hosts From Hell

    Matt Strangewayes and Page the Village Idiot

    What's that, you say -- aren't all open mikes equally hellish? Sure, buddy, and all aspirin are alike. The difference is that this one knows it's from hell and has two hosts, Matt Strangewayes (formerly of Windigo) and Page the Village Idiot, on hand to gladly fan the flames. With his bizarre stage introductions, Strangewayes will try to convince you… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Amsterdam - CLOSED

    Once one of Phoenix's better kept secrets (there's still no exterior signage), Amsterdam is not only the city's swankiest gay boîte, but one of its most elegant, to boot. Filled with marble, gilt statuary and a massive carved wooden bar over which pass some truly serious martinis, its charms now play host to such an ever-widening spectrum of scenesters that on… More >>
  • Best Bar in Which to Be Seen


    If your clubwear passes inspection, you will feel positively famous walking into Scottsdale's premier nightspot. Here, where the women look like reporters from Entertainment Tonight and the men look like they're drinking creatine cocktails, you will find 14,000 square feet of self-conscious decadence -- and, if you're lucky, an occasional bona fide celebrity. Excuse us -- we're sorry, do we… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar

    Ain't Nobody's Bizness

    Pool tables, beer bottles and mullets. Individually, not much. But toss them together in a storefront cocktail lounge and you've got sapphic synergy that just won't quit. Taking its name from a Billie Holiday lyric, Ain't Nobody's Bizness has been the Valley's premier women's bar since long before anyone heard of lesbian-come-lately Anne Heche. And if history is any indication, Biz will… More >>
  • Best Gay Latino Club

    Paco Paco Club Premiere

    Say, isn't that Enrique Iglesias? No, but if you manage to squeeze through the crowded, man-packed dance floor for a closer look, he'll probably be flattered to know that you thought so. Looking for the gay Mexican cowboy of your dreams? No? Well, Paco Paco dance club is probably the best place to start looking, anyway. The cramped, strobe-lighted dance floor… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Ridgely Fitzsimmons
    Nita's Hideaway

    What makes a superlative bartender? Good conversation? Nah, anything that delays putting a drink in your gullet is about as welcome as a speed bump. But in dealing with teeming masses of demanding patrons and egotistical musicians, it does help to have a seasoned grasp of the English language and a penchant for caustic rejoinders. One person blessed with both… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    The Club at the Ritz-Carlton

    As someone (and no, it wasn't President Clinton) once remarked, "A woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." What he meant is anyone's guess, but it's a cinch that had he lived in Phoenix, he'd have been a regular at the Ritz-Carlton's cigar lounge. Appropriately called The Club, the darkly masculine room is, well, clubby --… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Roscoes on Seventh

    If you like sports, but are turned off by macho beer guzzlers talking about chicks, Roscoes dishes up a welcome curve ball. Billed as an "alternative lifestyle sports bar," Roscoes is that perfect postmodern cultural hybrid: a sports bar where macho beer guzzlers talk about guys. Roscoes has the usual sports-bar amenities: big-screen TVs tuned to various games, pool tables, and… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Emerald Lounge

    Call us purists, but a CD jukebox is about as sterile as the jewel case the CDs come in. Who wants the same sound you can get in your car stereo or home entertainment center when you're in a bar? No, you want a layer of grime and filth on your music to go with the beer and cigarette surroundings. And… More >>
  • Best Bar for Off-Track Betting and Video Golfing

    Horse & Hound Off Broadway - CLOSED

    Worried that someone from your Gamblers Anonymous group might catch you at Greyhound Park? Then Horse & Hound is the bar for you -- the OTB parlor regularly features simulcasts of some of the biggest races around. The H&H is also the place for enthusiasts of the wildly popular Golden Tee golf video games -- the Hound features Golden Tee… More >>
  • Best Boho Bar

    Emerald Lounge

    Inside the cozy Emerald Lounge you'll find no oversize TVs belching out jock-o fare, no smug bartenders, and no barmaids whose hopped-up attitudes are in direct proportion to their surgically augmented breasts. Hell, the Emerald doesn't even employ a barmaid. What the lounge does offer is cheap booze served up by genial drink-slingers in an unaffected atmosphere that's equal parts Bukowskian… More >>
  • Best Noir Ambiance at a Topless Bar

    Bailey's Platinum Club West

    Sure, Bailey's is sated with archetypal showboaters in French maid outfits and Britney-ready schoolgirl garb who slither and spin to rock riffage like AC/DC and Buckcherry. But the scene is hardly reminiscent of the classic strip bar milieu portrayed accurately in the Crüe video for its song "Girls, Girls, Girls." Darkly lighted with gilded walls, ersatz foliage and inconspicuous patrons who… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Harris' Restaurant

    "The Martini is to middle- and upper-class American society," says martini maven Barnaby Conrad III, "what peyote is to the Yaqui Indians: a sacred rite that affirms tribal identity, encourages fanciful thought and -- let's be honest here -- delivers a whoppingly nice high." We'll drink to that. And given our druthers, we'll be doing it in the understated elegance… More >>
  • Best Strawberry Daiquiri

    Tempe Improv Comedy Theater

    Yeah, yeah -- we know what you're thinking. Rum, lime juice, a spoonful of sugar (powdered, of course) and strawberries -- a daiquiri is a daiquiri is a daiquiri. So what's so special about the Improv version? Rim shot -- the consistency! The Improv has mastered the perfectly blended daiquiri -- not too fruity, not too bland, and, most important,… More >>