Bars & Clubs

  • Best Karaoke with a Live Band

    "I'm with the Band" on Mondays at Blue Martini Lounge

    So you've had a couple of drinks and someone hands you a microphone while a canned instrumental track of your favorite '80s song starts to play. You're ready to tear it up, but it's hard to feel like a rock star when you're following a bouncing dot across a TV screen. If you really want to feel like a superstar… More >>
  • Best New Club

    Revolver Lounge

    Before its unveiling in January, Revolver Lounge was hyped as one of the hottest new clubs to hit Old Town. Thanks to an air-conditioning eff-up on opening night, that literally was the case. The sheer number of tanned and toned bodies crammed inside the Western-themed Stetson Drive swanketeria caused things to get steamy. (Guess everyone had to cowboy up.) While… More >>
  • Best New-School Martini

    Sens - CLOSED

    There are plenty of delish cocktails we could recommend at Sens, Johnny Chu's always-fabulous Asian tapas hot spot, and we're delighted that they've finally built a bigger bar to accommodate our cravings. But if you're looking for a new twist on an old favorite, we humbly suggest the Hot and Dirty. It's got all the dirty martini basics — olive… More >>
  • Best Old-School Martini

    Seamus McCaffrey's

    These days, everybody wants to prettify the martini with rose petals or gold flecks or God knows what else. But what the hell is a martini except a way to convey the maximum amount of gin? And that's why we've been increasingly enjoying martinis at bars that would never dream of listing a martini as a house specialty. At an… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Carly's Bistro

    During our probably-too-long drinking career, the bloody Mary had ranked near the bottom of our desired beverage list, hovering somewhere around a Smoker's Phlegm (Jägermeister and mayonnaise) in the gross department. That's until we hit up Carly's Bistro during its weekend brunch and ordered the eatery's version of the drink, which includes V8, vodka, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pickle and… More >>
  • Best Red Sangria

    Rita's Kitchen at Camelback Inn

    OMG. We've slurped down some tasty adult beverages in our day, but nothing beats the red sangria at Rita's Kitchen, located in the upscale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa. Seriously. Though the food's not bad, the I'll-have-another-round cocktail infuses fresh apples, grapes, and an amazing blend of vanilla and cinnamon into a royalty-worthy elixir. If it's a nice day, take… More >>
  • Best White Sangria

    La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar

    La Bocca offers white sangria by the glass or pitcher. The bartenders use a special recipe of wine, spirits, spices and fresh fruit, and they're not telling what's in the mix — for good reason, too, because this is a secret that keeps you coming back to drink more. A glass of Blanco at La Bocca is so refreshing that… More >>
  • Best Frozen Sangria

    Caffe Italia - CLOSED

    We went to Caffe Italia in search of a quick dinner — maybe some spinach lasagna or a little penne in clam sauce — and ended up having our life changed. How did we make it this far in life in the desert without frozen sangria? This taste sensation is like a Slurpee for grownups: Sweet red wine steeped in… More >>
  • Best Mojito

    MercBar

    Some places just cram mint leaves in the bottom of a glass, pour rum over them, and call it a mojito. But at MercBar, the mojito is a piece of real craftsmanship. Bartenders take their time crushing ice and mint leaves together in the glass before adding just the right balance of rum, sugar, lime juice, and soda. Some of… More >>
  • Best Manhattan

    Roadrunner Lounge

    You know you've arrived at a good bar when the bartender doesn't know how to make the drink you've ordered but knocks it out of the park anyway. This recently happened to us at the Roadrunner Lounge. On previous visits to the seen-better-days establishment, we've received a perfect Jameson Manhattan with sweet vermouth, bitters, and a maraschino cherry. But then,… More >>
  • Best Lounge

    T. Cook's at The Royal Palms

    We've always loved the patio at the Royal Palms, where you can sip champagne under the stars. But, lately, we've been pledging fidelity to the graceful lounge just inside the front door. Choose either a comfy couch or a seat at the curved bar, settle in with a craft cocktail, and let pianist Dwight Brewer sweep your heart away. This… More >>
  • Best Bottled Beer Selection

    Taste of Tops

    Looking for the piss-quality beer special of the night? It ain't happening at Taste of Tops, and that's completely fine by us. The casual bar and lounge, open for business since October 2009, is an incarnation of longtime fave Tops Liquors, which pretty much sells every beer ever. However, at Taste of Tops, you're not going to find Piss Lite… More >>
  • Best Local Beer for a Novice Drinker

    Papago Brewing Company's Orange Blossom

    Some people say that beer is an acquired taste. We're inclined to agree, but only if they mean the same way breathing is. Beer is one of the greatest gifts mankind has bestowed upon himself, which is why its popularity has endured for millennia. But for you oddballs who feel that you need to slowly dip your toes in the… More >>
  • Best Local Seasonal Beer

    Winter Warmer

    As Phoenix's beer culture continues to grow in size and refinement, it seems more and more seasonal brews are hitting taps around town each season. SanTan Brewing's Winter Warmer is the gold standard. You can get the dark, malty brew only when the mercury dips into the 50s, but it's worth waiting all year for. Robust, thick, and sweet, like… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink Pabst Blue Ribbon

    Old Skool 50 Cent PBR Night

    Best place to drink PBR that isn't behind the trash bin in an alley? Yes, it's true, we've got a different fave spot for sucking some PBR down — the Old Skool 50 Cent PBR Night at The Rogue Bar. This dive bar (turned hipster dance club turned rock venue) still knows how to treat its guests to a night… More >>
  • Best Wine on a Budget

    Postino Winecafé

    Every day before 5 p.m., you can sample any wine on the list at Postino for just $5 a glass. And though we know plenty of establishments that offer similar weekday deals on house wines, Postino's offer really is the best for two reasons. One, the offer also is good on weekends, when the patio is a great spot for… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour, Central Phoenix

    Fez Restaurant and Urban Bar

    Happy hour is happy hour is happy hour, right? At Fez, it's a celebration that takes place seven days a week, 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight. Its principal features are pretty standard: two-for-one well, draft, and bottled beer and signature margaritas, $3 house wine, and $6 small plates. Not so ordinary are Fez's insanely tasty daily… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour, South Phoenix

    Amano Pizza Bistro

    Orange trees and Japanese flower stands hugged a quiet two-lane road in the early years of South Phoenix. On that same road today, in a still-quiet lot across from a lone gas station, Amano Pizza Bistro is working to make some noise. Eric and Katy Bower opened their neighborhood bistro as a place where locals and foodies can chat over… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour, Downtown Phoenix

    District

    A friend of ours is in love, and it's not with a girl or even with his cat. No, this guy is besotted with District, the swanky restaurant bar at the downtown Sheraton. He loves the long, curvy bar where he can cozy up to a tart Sage Julep (Maker's Mark and lemon juice with limes and tiny sage leaves),… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour, West Valley

    Tuscan Oven

    We're prone to weeping because happy hour at Tuscan Oven doesn't take place 24 hours a day. True, it keeps us occupied and blissful Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., with $4 domestic and imported beers and all signature drinks and wines by the glass priced at $3 off. But why can't it just go on and on?… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour, Southeast Valley

    San Tan Brewing Company

    What's a pub with no grub? Or a brewery with no . . . foodery? You know what we're getting at. The best part of happy hour is twofold: drinks and apps — and San Tan has 'em both. The place brews its own stuff; we're talking $3.75 for pints of pilsner, hefeweizen, IPA, stouts, and ale that'll wash down… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour, Tempe

    Four Peaks Brewing Company

    Happy hours should be crowded, loud, and a bit obnoxious. Your server should give you something to look at besides the rounds she's hoisting. The food should be delicious and, maybe, a little bad for you. Happy hour is where we gather to say, "Yeah, I sat and drilled away for The Man all day, too. But I could stick… More >>
  • Best Place for a Twilight Drink

    House of Tricks

    House of Tricks isn't perched on a hill or tucked up against a mountain. It's pretty much what it sounds like — an old house in downtown Tempe, rehabbed before rehabbing old houses was the thing to do in these parts, and it's so damn charming that we'll take the view of twinkly lit trees and a roaring outdoor fireplace… More >>
  • Best Bar for Day Drinking

    The Recovery Room

    John Kunst knows a thing or two about stability. As owner and silver-fox sage of The Recovery Room for 26 years, Kunst has kept his neighborhood bar daytime-dependable for those seeking serenity before the sun goes down. A dark, cozy interior, blue-hued pool tables, and the ear of a friendly barkeep set the scene for patrons who can order their… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    Wanderin

    This cash-only gin joint offers no gimmicks and even less attitude. It's simply a place where drinkers go to drink — and maybe enjoy some pool or a $3.75 pizza, too. Though it's scruffy on the outside, the Wanderin's interior may strike first-timers as both unusually big and remarkably clean. But make no mistake. This bar isn't pretending to be… More >>
  • Best Bar for a Drink and a Smoke

    Maverick Saloon

    It's not a bar — it's a patio. At least, that's the technical term and how owner Alfonso Larriva got the city off his back after an 18-month renovation to allow smoking inside the Maverick Saloon. With slats on the windows allowing air to blow in and cigarette smoke to blow out, patrons can puff away with lively locals bellied… More >>
  • Best Smoking Patio

    Amsterdam - CLOSED

    Most bars' designated smoking areas seem like afterthoughts — small, sad patches of parking lot concrete with a butt bucket bought at Home Depot. Not at Amsterdam. Puffers can pick a martini from one of the bar's 10 menu pages, then stroll the swanky outdoor scene, lighting up alongside the here-to-be-seen set, bouncing to techno beats on the patio's dance… More >>
  • Best Bar for Bikers and Hipsters

    Chopper John's

    The black exterior and the Harleys parked out front say biker. The back patio's ironworks spelling out the word "welcome" atop an acoustic guitar says hipster. The ocean mural says . . . Well, that one's a head-scratcher. Since 2008, Chopper John's co-owner, John McCormick, has combined his love of motorcycles and music into a biker bar with a hipster… More >>
  • Best Hookah Lounge

    Café Istanbul and Market

    Café Istanbul's hookah lounge sits on the second floor above a Middle Eastern market, providing an exclusive feel for its many patrons. The furniture is stylish and comfortable — ornate, carved-wood tables and black leather couches lined with pillows. The décor feels authentically Middle Eastern, with colorful, cone-shaped lamps providing decorative light, Moroccan wall mirrors, and a plasma TV that's… More >>
  • Best Old Hipster DJ

    Shane Kennedy

    Shane Kennedy is crusty. We mean that in the nicest possible way. The fixture of CenPho nightlife and longtime Bikini Lounge DJ is the sort of rough-around-the-edges scenester Phoenix desperately needs. He doesn't wear tight pants, and he had his beard before it was cool, which makes him the sort of old-school, record-store-clerk-type hipster that's quickly disappearing from its natural… More >>
  • Best Young Hipster DJ

    Hartbreaks

    Anthony Hart, a.k.a. DJ Hartbreaks, titled his first mixtape The Long Goodbye. If he's departing the scene, we hope it's a long goodbye. He's our favorite kind of young hipster DJ, the kind who has the impeccable taste necessary to back up the too-cool-for-school act. Spinning at The Lost Leaf and the Civic Space Jam, he's known to play everything… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Night

    The Blunt Club, Thursdays at Yucca Tap Room

    To quote Nas on his 2002 track "Nothing Lasts Forever," everything will come to an end. When it comes to the Valley's volatile nightlife scene, that means your favorite club night — no matter how popular it may seem — will someday call it quits. Well, except for the Blunt Club, that is. The venerated hip-hop night launched in '02… More >>
  • Best Drag Queen Show

    "The Follies" at Ice Pics

    Valley drag diva Pandora's about as sassy as they come, whether she's flipping a Barbarella wig or singing "Don't go breaking a fart" while covering an Elton John and Kiki Dee duet. So it's not surprising that she's launched an outrageously funny and often cheesy drag comedy show, "The Follies," at Ice Pics Video Bar (formerly Nasty Habits). Performances take… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Bar 1

    For casual gay nightlife — we're not talking pumped-up leather bars or bumping discotheques here — Bar 1 is a chill hang that still knows how to have fun. The bar's interior is clean and candlelit, with a fireplace, sofas, and a couple of pool tables that are in tip-top condition. The outside patio is a cozy, tree-lined, and dimly… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar

    Cash Inn Country

    The unassuming façade of the Cash Inn belies the shenanigans that occur behind its doors. Bar-goers are often found line dancing, shooting pool, karaoke-ing and throwing darts, all to the beat of what can best be described as a hodgepodge playlist. We can be even more specific and give them the Best Dancing Lesbian Bar, because seriously, these chicks can… More >>
  • Best Ladies Night

    Roka Akor

    Hope you've saved your pennies. If it's Wednesday and you're a lady, it looks like your second glass of wine (and every glass afterward) is just one cent. This may wreak havoc on Roka Akor's cash register on a weekly basis, but we're not concerned. We're too busy marveling at the restaurant's specialty ice cubes and Japanese décor. Also up… More >>
  • Best Ladies Fight

    Stripper Fight League at Cheetahs Gentleman's Club

    Putting women in cages may sound oppressive, but give them some boxing gloves and headgear and you've got a moneymaker. Several strip clubs around town host some form of stripper fights, but Cheetahs was the first and remains the most popular. Around 11:30 p.m., dancers leave the stages and the DJ turns the music off. House lights shine down on… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Philthy Phil - CLOSED

    Don't let his name fool you. Philthy Phil may have a sleazy moniker, but the owner and bartender of this neighborhood good-times dive bar is straight-up good people. An orphan from Detroit, Phil grew up the hard way. And while there's a scrappiness about him (he 86s anyone making trouble, especially in defense of the ladies who are drinking at… More >>
  • Best Place to See Midget Bartenders

    Giligin's Bar

    Giligin's Bar is awesome for a lot of reasons, but there's one in particular: midget bar. This Old Town hot spot redefines the term mini-bar by placing a miniature version of a traditional bar to the right of the entrance — miniature chairs, little-person bartenders (a.k.a. Chuey the Rock 'n' Roll Midget and his Lilliputian friend named Giant). It's adorable… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, Central Phoenix

    The Ox Sports Bar

    Screw the sprawling, network-themed sports bars where nobody knows your name. Tucked behind a Circle K just off 32nd Street north of Thomas Road, The Ox Sports Bar is a cozy hideout with a colorful neighborhood crew that eagerly accepts new fans. Join the cheering section for dart tournaments, pair with new friends for a pool match or a game-time… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, Downtown Phoenix

    Coach & Willie's - CLOSED

    There's a lot missing from downtown Phoenix, but there's no shortage of places to watch the game if you can't nab tickets (or would rather nurse an all-too-frequent loss from the comfort of a barstool). But Coach & Willie's is not your typical sports bar. It's decked out in flat-screens — no need to worry about the tall guy with… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, South Phoenix

    Gallagher's Sports Grill

    If we ever had the opportunity to design our dream sports bar, chances are it would probably wind up looking just like Gallagher's. The amenities are plentiful, including off-track betting windows, arcade games, 14 ales and lagers on tap, and a posh outdoor patio with a sparkling waterfall and splendorous views of South Mountain (particularly at sunset). Speaking of getting… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, North Phoenix

    16th Street Sports Bar - CLOSED

    Keith Prescott's a man of many passions, and chief among them is soccer. Ask the UK native about soccer and you'll hear tales of his tenure with the Liverpool Football Club, as well as his experience attending the 1966 World Cup (when Britannia ruled the roost). Along with his wife, Marianne Hansen, the 63-year-old has utilized his footie fanaticism to… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, West Valley

    Yard House

    Yes, this is a chain eatery, but hear us out: The Yard House, located in Westgate City Center, is the shiz. For one, due to its killer proximity to University of Phoenix Stadium and Jobing.com Arena, the place goes off pre- and post-game, whether it's for the Cards, 'Yotes, or the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Plus the food — which… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, Southeast Valley

    Crabby Don's Bar & Restaurant

    This rough-around-the-edges spot in a ubiquitous Gilbert strip mall near Val Vista Drive may turn off clean-cut suburbanites. But those who are willing to branch out can definitely enjoy this place that seems to attract folks who like sports, fried food, and metal (live bands play on the weekends). Along with a full menu, including burgers that are off the… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, Tempe

    Baseline Sports Bar

    It takes more than a few cool TVs to make a sports bar awesome, which is something the folks at the Baseline Sports Bar in Tempe seem to understand more than most. Sure, the bar has enough TVs to satisfy your average tech geek, but it's the food and beer that make the Baseline Sports Bar stand out. We recommend… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar, Scottsdale

    American Junkie

    This bar that behaves like a nightclub during certain evenings isn't exactly the prototypical sports hang. (For example, it's not unusual to see a blond vixen in platforms drinking a blowjob shot at the circular bar.) But even when it's all Scottsdaled out, the atmosphere provides an interesting backdrop to watching sports on one of the venue's flat-screens.And when spring… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    BullShooters

    There's felt as far as the eye can see at BullShooters, as this pool hall is in a building the size of a Walgreens and contains 42 tables. That isn't the only way in which it towers over the competition. Twenty-six TVs are mounted throughout, there are 12 electronic dartboards on the premises, and a full bar and kitchen has… More >>
  • Best Bar Trivia Night

    Doc & Eddy's

    Trivia nights at bars are opportunities to prove to your friends that you're good at one of two things: drinking or trivia. Doc & Eddy's offers the chance to do both in fine fashion. Thursday nights at Doc & Eddy's is like Jeopardy! for drunks, complete with a pushy host who doesn't hesitate to toss contestants out for looking up… More >>
  • Best Pub

    Robbie Fox's Public House - CLOSED

    It's relatively new, but Robbie Fox's is already a classic. Stepping in, we'd swear we were still on that semester abroad program — funny, the pubs in Ireland, England, and Scotland were filled with obnoxious American students, too. The ambiance is just the same, save the smell of cigarette smoke, and when the lights came on at 2 a.m., both… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, Central Phoenix

    JT's Bar & Grill

    You don't have to be fan of the Sooner State to love JT's Bar & Grill — but a little affection for Oklahoma certainly helps. There's OU paraphernalia everywhere — and, on one wall, an album cover from Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! But even if you couldn't care less about Okies, we guarantee you'll love JT's, simply because this tiny… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, Downtown Phoenix

    SideBar

    It's been just shy of two years since this cool downtown Phoenix lounge opened, yet we can't remember what our lives were like before we had such a comfy, warmhearted spot to stop for a drink. SideBar owner Josh Parry wanted to create a landmark cocktail lounge that's both a hot neighborhood gathering place and a cozy everyone-knows-your-name throwback to… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, South Phoenix

    Mother's Bar & Grill

    The ceilings are low, the floors are dusty, the patio is littered with cigarette butts, and there are only four beers are on tap. Suffice it to say this ramshackle roadhouse located along a lonely stretch of Buckeye Road is the kinda place only a mother could love.It's not without its charms, however, as kitsch and character are in abundance… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, North Phoenix

    Steel Horse Saloon

    As much as we're fans of comedian Ed Helms, our blood kinda boiled years ago when the co-star of TV's The Office cracked on one of our favorite Valley bars. See, in 2004, the bespectacled actor visited this notorious biker bar while reporting for The Daily Show about a then-merely-proposed Arizona law permitting guns to be carried in drinking establishments.… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, West Valley

    Exit 7 Bar & Grill

    Exit 7 is a laid-back neighborhood bar that draws a motley crowd, has a weekend DJ that spins a variety of music, including old-school rock and hip-hop, and offers the best drink specials ever. We're talking 50-cent Coronas on Thursdays and $1 drinks on Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. with a $7 cover for guys and $5 for the… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, Southeast Valley

    Buffalo Wings & Rings - CLOSED

    Yes, this place has wings (chicken) and rings (onion) but the beer is the real draw here. Unlike most Southeast Valley bars content to offer Miller, Coors, and Bud, BWR always brings in something we've never tried before — we could drop names, but they'd surely be obsolete well before this went to print. The bartenders are as knowledgeable and… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, Tempe

    Boulders on Broadway

    Tempe's Boulders on Broadway feels like a ski lodge in the summer: floored with brick, walled with wood, and packed with mountain bikes from neighborhood drinkers who've pedaled to the bar to enjoy the atmosphere. The hulking two-story structure has plenty of room for everyone, but most of the action happens in the small-ish bar area, which tends to fill… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar, Scottsdale

    TT Roadhouse

    TT Roadhouse likes to present itself as a quasi-biker bar, but it's far from it. Actually, despite the posturing (this is Scottsdale, after all), it has more the feel of a British pub than anything. Dimly lit, lined with heavy wood, and staffed by bartenders who are wary of folks they don't know, it's everything a neighborhood bar should be.… More >>
  • Best Legacy Bar

    Long Wong's at the Firehouse - CLOSED

    The name Long Wong's is legendary, and the wings have little to do with why. The old location on Mill Avenue birthed some of the state's biggest and best bands, including the Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments. Okay, so the new Long Wong's at the Firehouse isn't on the old strip. And, sure, though the owners are the same, the… More >>
  • Best Comeback

    Nile Theatre/theUnderground

    In the mid- to late '90s, the Nile Theatre in Mesa was the shiznit. The indie concert venue on Main Street was one of the places for local music fans. The biggest names in rock, punk, hardcore, and hip-hop hit up the Nile, and locals bands aplenty performed in the basement. Unfortunately, the Nile was shut down in 2002 after… More >>
  • Best Place to Await the Second Coming

    Padre Murphy's

    What would Jesus do at Padre's? Probably conjure up some cod for the all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry or transform the club soda into a crisp chardonnay. All blasphemy aside, we suspect J.C. could have an almighty good time at this neighborhood bar. After all, it's named after an Irish Catholic priest, and one of the Lord's quotes ("Go and sin… More >>
  • Best Place to Reenact Saturday Night Fever

    Disco - CLOSED

    It wouldn't surprise us one bit if Saturday Night Fever's Tony Manero somehow strutted his way off the silver screen and into Disco, white suit and all. That's because the proprietors of this dapper danceteria dropped some major bank in re-creating their own version of the legendary illuminated dance floor that John Travolta ambled across with aplomb in the 1977… More >>
  • Best Place to Practice for American Idol

    Lucky Break at Lone Butte Casino

    Got the pipes to be the next Kelly Clarkson or Lee DeWyze? Your vocal destiny awaits at Lone Butte Casino's Lucky Break singing competition, now in its fourth season. Savvy singers compete each week to advance to the grand finale, where one winner will receive $10,000 and a trip for two to Nashville or Las Vegas for a chance to… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Hazelwoods First Place Sports Grill

    This cheery CenPho sports bar is almost always packed with armchair athletes, people who want to watch the game on the place's 31 (count 'em!) TVs, eat a burger, and maybe play some trivia. But around 10 on Tuesday and Saturday nights, a different kind of group shows up en masse: the karaoke crowd. And hot damn! It's fun to… More >>
  • Best Box Karaoke

    Korean BBQ

    What is box karaoke, you ask? Imagine you and your circle of friends had a private room for laying down some Journey or screaming out some Bowie. Now imagine a waitress on hand to bring you beer continuously. This, friends, is the box karaoke experience. Sure, you can go to those fancy karaoke boxes in Scottsdale, but the one at… More >>
  • Best Country & Western Nightclub

    Rusty Spur Saloon

    Glitz is what Scottsdale does best, so we'd understand if you were a little skeptical of anything cowboy-style in Old Town. The Rusty Spur quickly puts to rest any fears you might have about authenticity. For starters, if Rusty Spur were the nightclub equivalent of a dude ranch, it'd probably start by expanding to have enough space to actually accommodate… More >>
  • Best Country & Western Bar

    The Buffalo Chip Saloon & Steakhouse

    Yep, that's a live bull. And, yep, that cowboy is about to ride him. Every Wednesday and Friday, that cowboy has eight seconds, but you have as long as you like to check out the house band, take a free dance lesson, or chomp on catfish and fries (but don't forget the $10 all-you-can-eat BBQ). More than 50 years ago,… More >>
  • Best Rockabilly Bar

    Rogue West - CLOSED

    Rogue West is a rockabilly fan's wet dream come true. The sleazy yet stylish West Valley punk dive has everything y'all could want in a bar, including $1 cans of cheapo beer, Sailor Jerry and skateboard artwork decorating the place, Bettie Page look-alikes as regulars, and free pool on two tables. Oh, and local rockabilly and psychobilly bands — including… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    The Sail Inn - CLOSED

    When a new Long Wong's and the old Sail Inn reopened within months of each other in Tempe, it was the more famous wing-serving club that got all the ink. But thus far, it's Sail Inn that has had a real impact on the city's live music scene. The redecorated and revitalized club books great acts, but it's the building… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Metal Show

    UB's Restaurant & Bar - CLOSED

    At first blush, Russ Winn doesn't seem like the kinda person you'd expect to find running a metal venue. He's in his late 70s, is a former military man, and an easy-listening lover, to boot. Sit a spell with the septuagenarian, however, and you'll gain insight into how UB's owner is more than suited for the job: Winn's open-minded, possessing… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    Bad Sneakers

    For a while, we were torn up when the weekly Yacht Rock music series (which featured DJs spinning the smooth sounds of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers) permanently set sail. But then we discovered Bad Sneakers, a Steely Dan and Tower of Power cover band that, in a way, trumps those Yacht Rock days. The group, which tops out… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Tribute Bands

    Skye - CLOSED

    Scott Blackwell is almost a dead ringer for Tom Petty — from his lanky frame and stringy blond locks to his hangdog countenance and penchant for top hats. The similarities extend past outward appearances, as the 47-year-old Phoenician can not only strum his Telecaster just like Petty, but can also sing "Free Fallin'" and "You Don't Know How It Feels"… More >>
  • Best Theater Show

    Jeff Tweedy at The Orpheum

    We've said it before and we'll say it again: Phoenix's historic Orpheum Theatre is used far too infrequently for concerts. Okay, so the city-owned theater's vending requirements make the booze lines way too long for concert promoters to make any real money staging rock shows there. When it actually happens, it's magical. Such was the case with Wilco frontman Jeff… More >>
  • Best Arena Show

    Paul McCartney at Jobing.com Arena

    Wrestlemania 26 was a tough act to follow — the WWE's premier event drew 72,219 fans to the University of Phoenix stadium, beating even the Super Bowl in attendance. But later that night, a Beatle managed to do it, also putting on the single best arena show of the year. Sir Paul McCartney had nearly 50 years of hits to… More >>
  • Best Club Show

    Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta at Sail Inn - CLOSED

    The large outdoor stage at the new and improved Sail Inn in Tempe was perfect for Tucson's Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta — not just because a big crowd turned up for his Saturday show in March, but because a large stage is needed to contain the classic Latin big band. Leader Mendoza, his right-hand man, Salvador Duran, and the… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Show

    Titus Andronicus at Chyro Arts - CLOSED

    Why do we miss Chyro Arts? One, the proximity of a music venue to Scottsdale's wonderful British Open Pub. Two, those comfy couches lining the walls. Three, shows like Titus Andronicus' appearance in March. Fresh off stellar reviews from Pitchfork and other taste-making blogs, the hotly tipped New Jersey lo-fi folk-punk act came in for a Monday-night show, playing most… More >>
  • Best Place to Catch a House Show

    Ye Olde Bike Saviours - CLOSED

    YOBS, as the cool kids call it, hosts anything that's way-off-the-radar underground. We're talking riot grrrl from Austin, acoustic acts from the Bay Area, and an earplug-worthy, dark-metal ensemble called Stress Ape. The home's residents, including local drummer/record store employee/music snob John Ryan Nelson, book shows for out-of-towners, and the bills usually include locals such as H.O.A., Ovariesy (pronounced "over-easy"),… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Up Close and Personal with the Band

    Palo Verde Lounge

    The beloved PV has long been known by punkers and other scuzz-rock fans as one of the best rocker-friendly drinking dives in the Valley. And when no-BS owner Chuck unplugs the jukebox, pushes the pool table to the back of the tiny bar, sets up a cheap PA, and starts slinging $2 PBRs, the "Dirty Verde" becomes the next best… More >>
  • Best Place to Find an Underground Hardcore Show

    The Slurp - CLOSED

    The Slurp, located in a hush-hush warehouse around McClintock and University drives, is a beautiful wreck: pieces of debris all over the concrete floor, a pile of music gear and random junk in one corner, and, leaning against one wall, 10-foot-high pieces of particle board painted with, well, let's just say interesting designs. Combine that with out-of-town bands playing hardcore,… More >>
  • Best Underground Dance Night

    602'sdays at Bikini Lounge

    Six years ago, longtime downtowners Bradford and Andy McPants started a weekly underground DJ night at Bikini Lounge. They had no way of knowing the beast they were creating. After various incarnations and resident DJs, today's artsy dance party is 602'sdays, and you're not going to find anything else like it in the Valley. Folks like Djentrification, Meaty Ogre, and… More >>
  • Best Dance Night

    Ransom: Fridays at Philthy Phil's - CLOSED

    Some clubs have bikini-clad girls dancing on pedestals. Others book touring DJs who are "big in London." And most are decked out with mirrored walls and flashing lights. But none of that guarantees a great dance night. That's why we love Ransom, on Fridays at Philthy Phil's. You won't see any of those cheap tricks at this authentic dive bar.… More >>
  • Best To-Go Beer

    The Lost Leaf

    Name a crappier feeling than this: The bar's closing and you're 12 fluid ounces away from being slightly more than "just buzzed." One solution is to spend a night drinking brewskis at The Lost Leaf. Then, when you're about to get booted after last call, order a bottle/multiple receptacles of beer, keep it capped, get home safely, and enjoy the… More >>
  • Best After-Hours

    The Quincy - CLOSED

    Word from the wise: It'd be a shrewd move to become a fan of The Quincy on Facebook or to start following the underground venue's tweets. That's the only way to find when the next over-the-top after-hours affair is happening at The "Q." Hidden in a ramshackle strip mall down the street from Rainbow Donuts, it functions as the studio… More >>
  • Best Hangover Breakfast

    Harlow's Café

    Our qualifications for "Best Hangover Breakfast" have more to do with the comfort of our surroundings than the actual food on the plate. Let's face it: Those first few bites aren't going to be pretty, no matter what you're eating. The food just needs to be greasy. And the lighting had better be dim, the booth high-backed, and the waitress… More >>
  • Best Rehab

    The Meadows of Wickenburg

    Rough night? We've got the cure. The Meadows got a lot of press this year when Tiger Woods booked a suite there in an effort to kick his lady lust — or, at least, execute a hollow gesture to please his sponsors and avoid a $100 million divorce settlement. No word on whether the program worked for Tiger (the nearest… More >>
  • Best Liquid Courage

    Three Wise Men shot at Rips

    Though James Bond would hate the Three Wise Men shot at Rips, the drink might be as close as you get to having the balls of the original international man of mystery. The girl behind the bar at Rips will pour hefty amounts of Crown Royal, Jose Cuervo, and Jack Daniel's — the three international wise men — into a… More >>
  • Best Hideout

    Kat's

    The electricity bill at Kat's probably doesn't tax the wallets of its proprietors too terribly, as the lighting is low inside this dive bar located near Indian School Road and 24th Street. The inky interior is punctuated only by the faint glow of a few neon beer signs and a pinball machine, providing a shadowy sanctuary in which to escape… More >>
  • Best Nightclub Costumed Crusaders

    Rock&RollDancePatrol

    As frenetically fun and fashionable as indie dance nights like Electrostatic are to attend, the haute hipster hangouts can seem a bit blasé and predictable after a while. (If you've seen one 20-something dressed in American Apparel dropping Laidback Luke and La Roux remixes, you've seen 'em all.) Thank God, then, that our city has the Rock&RollDancePatrol around to liven… More >>
  • Best Costume Parties

    Afterlife - CLOSED

    Like many a swanky Scottsdale danceteria, Afterlife usually has a line out the door on the weekend's wee hours. The only difference being that it's happening long after every other disco has slammed its doors shut. Last call is a forbidden concept to this after-hours party pen, which features plenty of all-night adult fun (albeit of a non-alcoholic nature) for… More >>
  • Best Juggalo

    DieNasty of Dark Side Immortals

    Phoenix's Juggalo scene has evolved in an interesting way over the past two years. Once upon a time, back when The Monstar Shop was the home base for the "family" of Insane Clown Posse fans — certainly a sub-genre of mutant superheroes, at least in our twisted mind — the Headhurtz Records crew was reppin' the clowns wherever they could.… More >>
  • Shaun Moss

    Hero Worship

    Shaun Moss

    See: a video interview with Shaun Moss. Shaun Moss is broke, owns a piece-of-shit car, and has no career prospects — hardly anyone's definition of a hero. Except mine. Because Shaun Moss loves punk. Because Shaun Moss is punk. He's the guy all the girls in high school said they hated but secretly wanted to hang out with. He's the persona of everything… More >>
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