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Top 10 Hard Rock Venues in Phoenix

The Sword performing at Club Red in Tempe.
The Sword performing at Club Red in Tempe.
Jim Louvau

We're lucky in the Valley of the Sun. There are plenty of hole-in-the-wall venues, which, in most enthusiasts' opinion, are the best places to see a great show. Especially when it comes to hard rock and metal. We're not talking Slayer gigs with $45,000 worth of pyrotechnics, or the kind of places that host Buckcherry (whose tattoo bills are probably in the same price range); we're talking localized joints that play host to a bevy of heavy national and local bands. When you're really in the mood to rock out hard, you can't go wrong with our list of the Valley's 10 best hard rock venues.

See also:

-Our 10 Favorite Metro Phoenix Music Venues -Five Favorite Live Hip-Hop Venues in Metro Phoenix

Rocky Point Cantina
Rocky Point Cantina
voiceplaces.com

10. Rocky Point Cantina Located five minutes from the ASU campus (right by the train tracks), this indoor/outdoor venue and bar always allows for people to spread out during live shows. The vibe is great, particularly because many bands come to hang out in the crowd before and after their sets. They serve food too -- mostly Mexican fare, which pairs well with the host of hardcore, death metal, and punk bands that hit the spot. 1001 E. 8th St., Tempe, 480-968-7879

The Sword performing at Club Red in Tempe.
The Sword performing at Club Red in Tempe.
Jim Louvau

9. Club Red Club Red alternates mostly between hip-hop and hard rock (with occasional forays into extreme metal). The bartenders are friendly, and so is security, even though they usually will give you a pat down before letting you in. The venue coordinates dual stages with the neighboring Red Owl, and both are large and provide great sound and lighting effects. There's a ton of seating and a big dance floor in front of the stage; expect to see moshing more often than not. Hungry after the budget friendly drinks and live show? Head to the Waffle House next door, or the liquor store, where you can grab a bottle and some chips before heading home. 2155 E. University Dr., #112, Tempe, 480-258-2733

Goat Head Saloon
Goat Head Saloon
voiceplaces.com

8. Goat Head Saloon Don't let the strip mall location and morbid name deter you. Yes, it may be a no BS bar, but the stiff drinks, jukebox, and interior character alone make it worthwhile. There's a wide selection of beers, wine and bar food. The stage setup and sound system is a favorite of local bands -- but beware: it gets loud as hell. The bar area is separate from the music, but there is nothing obstructing the views. 1423 S. Country Club Dr., Mesa, 480-464-8030

 

Big Fish Pub
Big Fish Pub
voiceplaces.com

7. Big Fish Pub The Big Fish Pub has a long history as a launch pad for big names in rock music. While the venue has seen more than a couple of owners, the concept has remained the same: great stage lighting, sound system, and drink specials. Monday offers karaoke, Wednesday is an open-mic night, and live music dominates the rest of the week. The bartenders, cute and scantily clad, are attentive and always eager to share the drink specials with patrons. An adjoining section, with pool tables and video games, offers distractions if you're not into the band. 1954 E. University Dr., Tempe, 4809-449-3474

Liturgy performing at Rogue Bar.
Liturgy performing at Rogue Bar.
Jason P. Woodbury

6. Rogue Bar At this dingy-yet-dope dive, expect indie types and rockers pounding PBRs, local rock bands on stage, an infamous graffiti-covered bathroom, and torn, yet comfy, vinyl booths. The bartenders are attentive, and the stage is intimately small, but attendees are able to have a decent view from anywhere within the bar. Tip: Don't park in front of the convenience store next door; the owner loves to have rides towed. 423 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-947-3580

Metalhead performing at Martini Ranch.
Metalhead performing at Martini Ranch.
Ryan Wolf

5. Martini Ranch All right. So this venue/bar/dance club is located in the heart of Scottsdale, also known by many metalheads as the ultimate place to run into Jersey Shore-style douchebags, but since 1994 Martini Ranch has provided hard rock bands an audio, video, and entertainment system on par with big-city nightclubs. The reason it rocks so hard is because it offers the viewpoints of a much smaller venue: After watching the band from the wide interior with bars reaching almost every corner, head to the outside courtyard, then upstairs to the dance club, a separate lounge connected via staircase. Wanna check it out, but not sure if you'll like the act? There are two weekly events you can't go wrong with: Rock Lobster on Saturday, and the infamous Metalhead on Sunday. 7295 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, 480-970-0500

 

The Blooze Bar
The Blooze Bar
voiceplaces.com

4. The Blooze Bar On any given night, drinking at the bar may feel like you've stepped back in time into the movie Grease. Rockabilly greasers, psychobilly rockers, and beefy bikers seem to claim this watering hole, but hard rock acts love to take the stage. The sound is surprisingly good for such an intimate venue, and high-topped tables surround a small dance floor in front of the stage. Hell, you may even like it so much you get married there -- the non-denominational "Reverend Tumbleweed" will hitch you up, with a special set of "rock and roll vows." 12014 N. 32nd St., 602-788-4574

H20 performing at Nile Theater.
H20 performing at Nile Theater.
Melissa Fossum

3. Nile Theater In 1924, the Nile Theater opened as the Valley's first, and largest, movie house. After almost 30 years, it closed and has since been a nightclub, dinner theater, clothing boutique, church, and more. Nowadays, it houses three different rooms: The Nile Theater, Lo-Fi Coffee, and Underground, all unique in their own right, hosting live music shows. The Underground, located in the (shocker!) basement, hosts the most hard rock acts, and can get so humid with the pulse of dueling guitars and growls, it's a wonder the graffiti scrawled across the concrete walls hasn't melted off by now. 105 W. Main St., Mesa, 480-559-5859

Orgy at Joe's Grotto.
Orgy at Joe's Grotto.
Lauren Wise

2. Joe's Grotto As a past winner of New Times' Best Rock Club category, Joe's Grotto has just an interesting backstory as it does crowd: In 1994, the venue was established by musician Joe Grotto, after he won $75,000 in Las Vegas and invested it into the club. Along with the help of some friends, he has made it a favorite for even big-name hard rock bands to play when they come through town. Regardless of the hardcore metal bands that grace this stage, a strict "no moshing rule" applies. Music plays six nights a week, alongside several drink specials -- and the bartenders never skimp on the shot pours. 13825 N. 32nd St., 602-992-1007

 

Brujeria performing at 910 Live.
Brujeria performing at 910 Live.
Jim Louvau

1. 910 Live If you weren't looking for this venue specifically, you wouldn't even know it was here. It's located in an industrial area in between Tempe and Scottsdale, but it's worth finding. This huge venue gives the best of both worlds; it provides an extensive outdoor area with multiple bars and levels and tables, as well as an indoor area with televisions often programmed to music videos or sports, dark corners with booths, and stripper poles. A lot of times during live shows, bands switch off between the two different stages to nix the lag between sets. A Grateful Dead cover band plays here every Thursday night -- but don't worry, plenty of heavy bands manage to coexist with the "Truckin'" vibes. 910 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe, 480-966-0707

See also:

-Our 10 Favorite Metro Phoenix Music Venues -Five Favorite Live Hip-Hop Venues in Metro Phoenix -Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Jukeboxes -Top 10 "Harlem Shake" Videos From Phoenix (Plus One New Times Made)


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Related Locations

miles
Rocky Point Cantina - Closed

1001 E. 8th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-968-7879

miles
Club Red

1308 W. University Drive
Mesa, AZ 85201

480-258-2733

www.clubredrocks.com

miles
Goat Head Saloon - Closed

1423 S. Country Club Drive
Mesa, AZ 85210

480-464-8030

www.goatheadsaloon.com

miles
Big Fish Pub - Closed

1954 E. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-449-3474

www.azbigfish.com

miles
Rogue Bar

423 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257

480-947-3580

www.theroguebar.com

miles
Martini Ranch - Closed

7295 E. Stetson Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480-970-0500

www.martiniranchaz.net

miles
Blooze Bar

12014 N. 32nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85028

602-788-4574

www.thebloozebar.com

miles
Joe's Grotto

13825 N. 32nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85032

602-992-1007

www.joesgrotto.com


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