Phoenix has a long tradition of punk bars that serve up cheap beer and fast, aggressive (sometimes sloppy) punk rock. Some great venues have closed over the past few years, and while we dearly miss Jugheads and Rogue West, punk bars continue to thrive in the Valley of the Sun. Most are situated in unassuming suburban strip malls, but these locations continue to host some of the best local and national acts the genre has to offer.
The origins of punk are up for debate, but unless you're a Ramones enthusiast (or you've seen SLC Punk a few too many times), the UK is the "official" the birthplace of punk. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned are among the forefathers of the genre, sardonically pleading "God Save the Queen." Punk is as much an English tradition as bangers and mash and good beer, so George and Dragon is a natural haven for the genre. Every year, Keith Jackson of Glass Heroes hosts a Joe Strummer memorial and benefit show chock-full of local bands performing The Clash and Mescaleros covers. 4240 N. Central Ave., 602-241-0018.
9. Tempe Tavern
First built as a dairy barn at the start of the 20th century, this Tempe college bar has a little bit of everything. The music selections are diverse, with reggae, rock, hip-hop, folk, and punk bands all sharing the same stage depending on the night. This cozy bar welcomes local punk bands like Via Vengeance, Plainfield Butchers, Inept Hero, Skull Drug, and more with open arms and is a great place to scope out up and coming local bands. 1810 E. Apache, Tempe, 480-794-1706.
Nuzzled in Central Phoenix, this mixed-use retro dive bar is perhaps known for monthly dance parties like Obscura and Shadowplay. In other words, if you have an aversion to '80s music and indie rock, check Saturday events ahead of time. The bar features a recently renovated stage and an anything-goes attitude, making it a haven for bands that encourage crowd participation. 3045 N. 16th St.,, 602-266-0015.
Boasting a distinct East Coast vibe, this working class bar is a haven for flannel-clad patrons craving a frosty pint after a long day's work. Overlooking the Arcadia Ice Arena, watching people feebly attempt to ice skate from the comfort of a steady chair is entertaining enough in its own right. This friendly neighborhood bar regularly hosts local punk bands like Father Figures, French Girls, JJCnV, and more, and the jukebox is exclusively filled with albums from local bands. 3855 E. Thomas Road, 602-244-1179.
The wooden walls and dim lighting of this Tempe dive bar feel like a Midwestern basement. Tucked away in a shopping center, this bar could be overlooked by casual observers but that doesn't mean the bar lacks an illustrious history. The Yucca has been home to a bevy of punk bands that have been active in the music industry for decades, including No Use for a Name, Pulley, Toys That Kill, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and BroLoaf's regular shenanigans, making it a staple in the local music scene. Better yet, the venue rarely charges a cover and the drinks are cheap. 29 W. Southern Ave. Tempe, 480-967-4777.
5. TT Roadhouse
This punk/biker-friendly bar is home to one of the best jukeboxes in the Valley. Selections from punk favorites like Dead Kennedys, The Clash, Dead Boys, X, Descendents, The Misfits and more are likely to be heard within an hour or so of sitting in this cozy neighborhood bar. TT's is one of the few places in town where patrons will gladly discuss the merits of GG Allin's "Bite It You Scum." 2915 N. 68th St. Scottsdale, 480-947-8723.
4. Pub Rock
Formerly known as Chasers, this Scottsdale bar has hosted live music for over 20 years. Before the name change and facelift, Chasers was hosted acts like The Lawrence Arms, Cobra Skulls, and Steve Ignorant of Crass. As Pub Rock, this Scottdale bar continues to host a good share of the touring punk bands that come to Phoenix, including Polar Bear Club, Nerf Herder, and Jello Biafra, formerly of Dead Kennedys. The bar also doubles as a broadcasting studio, where KUKQ is headquartered for SkaPunk Thursdays for a weekly live broadcast and a series of live shows. 8005 E. Roosevelt St. Scottsdale, 480-945-4985.
3. Rogue Bar
Scottsdale is essentially the antithesis of punk, yet it hosts one of the Valley's best punk bars. Upon walking into this dark and dingy dive, it's clear that it's a punk-friendly establishment. Pabst Blue Ribbon paraphernalia is everywhere and a large mural featuring the likes of Lou Reed, Sid Vicious, Debbie Harry, and cats perched on pillars is pretty welcoming. The bar may be small, but it is just the right size to host a circle pit. 423 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-947-3580.
This Tempe bar, nicknamed the "Dirty Verde," is everything a punk bar should be. It is small and dirty, and if the right band is performing, it's a center of chaos. Fans continually pack in to this legendary venue, which lacks a stage, yet has hosted hundreds of local and touring punk bands in the corner by the jukebox. 1015 W. Broadway Road, Tempe, 480-968-9221.
Decked out in vintage movie posters, this Mesa bar has been a haven to East Valley punk for nearly 25 years. The grimy atmosphere boasts an unpretentious vibe thanks to the regulars who gladly reminisce about the bar's glory days, when it was the stop of choice for touring garage-punk acts. Hollywood Alley continues its punk rock traditions by being a home away from home for local bands, as well as hosting acts like Naked Aggression, Rocket From the Crypt, and Angry Samoans. 2610 W. Baseline Road, Mesa, 480-820-7117.
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