Best Dive Bar Phoenix 2013 - Royale Lounge
If things look a little, ahem, cleaner than usual inside the Royale, it's because some changes have been taking place over the past year. Proprietor Mark Bolin, who also owns the equally iconic Do Drop Inn and Wanderin, sprung for new vinyl fixtures around the bar, ditched that old hot nuts dispenser (gasp), and had his staff remove the inch of dust covering all the liquor bottles. Feel free to relax, as everything else you love about the landmark 16th Street dive remains unchanged: the stained pressboard walls, ripped and tattered carpet (said to be as old as the bar itself), and the dented vending machines dispensing condoms with such brand names as "Temptation" or "Hugger" in the men's john. And just because Bolin spruced the place up and began serving cans of San Tan Brewery craft beer doesn't mean he's lost touch with his common man or their price bracket. Draft pints are still $2.50 apiece, Jell-O shots can be had for a buck, and microwaved bar snacks won't run you more than a fiver, allowing Royale's regulars to fill up on brews and belly-bomber eats without emptying their wallets.