The 10 Best Country-Western Dance Nights in Phoenix

The Valley has plenty of opportunities to tip your hat and dip your partner.
The Valley has plenty of opportunities to tip your hat and dip your partner.
Icarus Photography

A pastime as tried and true as the aged oak barrel whiskey that fuels it, country-western dancing is swinging with opportunities for Valley residents looking to visit a local honky-tonk and two-step the night away.

It doesn’t matter how much twang is in your vernacular, if you’re able to hold a dip of chewing tobacco in your lip for more than 20 seconds, or whether you drive a convertible or a pick-up truck — there is something for everyone. We scoured the city to bring you a list of the 10 best boot-scooting boogies (in no particular order) for anyone in the Valley to enjoy.

Still hesitant because you don’t know all the words to “Achy Breaky Heart,” or worried you will look like a fool trying to line dance in sync with everyone else? Well, we can’t help with your Billy Ray Cyrus shortcomings, but included in our list below are details for even novice country-western dancing enthusiasts to receive lessons at the local honky-tonks before showing off their chops on the main floor. So, without further ado, grab your boots, because we’re goin’ dancin’.

The 10 Best Country-Western Dance Nights in Phoenix
Phoenix New Times

10. Wednesday Nights at Handlebar-J in Scottsdale
Unlike most dancing fads specific to the youngsters of the current era, country-western dancing bridges the age gap between dance lovers of all generations. As unchanged as the rocky Arizona landscape, there are few better places to celebrate the timelessness of country-western dancing than at Handlebar-J’s, self-promoted as “Scottsdale’s last authentic Western style steak house and saloon.”

Featuring Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame inductees The Herndon Brothers Band as the house’s live entertainment, HBJ brings country music and dancing in spades to both locals and tourists. While HBJ offers live music every night, be sure to check out “Back to Mr. Lucky’s Night” on Wednesdays as the marquee centerpiece of the saloon operations. The night recreates the atmosphere of the now-extinct longtime Arizona country hot-spot, Mr. Lucky’s, by putting The Herndon Brother’s Band on stage alongside the HBJ Horns and local Valley country stalwart J. David Sloan. The music and the dancing kick off at 7:30 sharp. Feel free to prepare yourself for “Back to Mr. Lucky’s Night” by attending one of HBJ’s dance lesson nights: Free on Thursdays, and $5 per person on Tuesdays and Sundays for line dancing.

The 10 Best Country-Western Dance Nights in Phoenix
Benjamin Leatherman

9. Wednesday Nights at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row (Tempe)
Homegrown country music superstar Dierks Bentley’s name may be on the door, but the real mastermind behind the country dancing experience at Whiskey Row in Tempe is DJ Steel. Spinning country hits from opening bell to last call, Steel has made Wednesday nights, starting at 9 p.m., a way for Mill Avenue to host a country-western shindig for local college kids, and any other Valley residents, to conveniently enjoy.

Whiskey Row blurs the line between a country bar and a regular nightclub most days of the week. DJ Steel describes this by saying the bar is “more like an introduction to country music on the weekends. Any person can walk in and not feel alienated; it’s about building the culture and the crowd.”

All of those nights are building blocks toward Wednesday, when country lovers can strap on their shiniest belt buckles, and leave it all out on the dance floor.

“Wednesdays are a true country dance night,” Steel says. “We start out hardcore country dancing, and we end the night hardcore country dancing.”

With more than 25 years as a DJ in multiple genres, Steel says that people should experience country dance nights because “country music is a totally different group of people. They are positive, upbeat, and down to Earth. They are fun people to work for.”

The 10 Best Country-Western Dance Nights in Phoenix
Benjamin Leatherman

8. Friday Nights at Cowboys Saloon
One of the newly minted watering holes to grace the Valley is Cowboys Saloon in North Phoenix. By hosting some larger touring country musicians as headliners on their stage, Cowboys Saloon is already building a solid reputation in the local country scene. But in order to keep the house full in the interim, they have put together plenty of weekly parties where legions of country dancers can break in the soles on their new boots. Every Friday, starting at 10:00, Cowboys Saloon brings together a combination of live music and DJ spinning for a night of country fun and dancing dubbed “Daisy Dukes and Cowboy Boots.”
Bonus Night: For any parents raising an up-and-coming country-western dancer, head to Cowboys Saloon on Wednesday nights for “Family Night” where free line dancing lessons for kids are given from 7:00 to 7:30.

The 10 Best Country-Western Dance Nights in Phoenix
Caleb Haley

7. Wednesday Nights at Moonshine Whiskey Bar & Grill
Moonshine Whiskey Bar & Grill offers a buffed and polished dance floor, and brings a little bit of country livin’ to the bar club district on Mill Avenue in Tempe. Line dancing is the style of choice at Moonshine, and “Whiskey Wednesdays” is a perfect place to be immersed in the younger, energetic, college-aged crowd while still sowing your country dancing oats to the musical stylings of DJ Vela.

When considering what sets country dance nights apart from other dance clubs, DJ Vela explains that “people go out specifically just for country dancing. They want to go out and show off their new line dance moves, and two-stepping moves. We get a lot of regulars at country nights.”

A free, two-hour lesson provided by AZ Outlaws Dance begins at 8:30, and the line-dancing extravaganza stretches until last call. While there may not be any sawdust on the floor, or cigarette smoke hanging in the air, the ambiance at Moonshine still captures the essence of the West and brings on an enticing urge to grab your guy or gal and carelessly spin, dip, and twirl into the night.

The 10 Best Country-Western Dance Nights in Phoenix
Caleb Haley

6. Thursday Nights at Whiskey Rose
Nestled inside the Westgate Entertainment District of Glendale is a country loving honky-tonk known as Whiskey Rose. The Westgate area is primarily tailored to the modern professional sporting complexes in the vicinity, but Whiskey Rose is one of a couple country joints on site to inject some Old West culture into the crowd. On Thursdays, be sure to check out the dancing night that encourages all the cowboy and cowgirl customers on hand to embrace their inner Chiver and “Keep Calm and Line Dance On.” Lessons kick off at 8 p.m., which then turns into a line dancing free for all by the time 9 p.m. rolls around. The DJ is on hand playing all of the right music needed to get people out onto the dance floor, so that means it is up to you to stay in sync and up to speed with all of the heel stomps and turns that keep the place boogying right on up to last call.

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