This week's Waste Management Phoenix Open is unlike any other professional golf tournament in the world, to say the least. Whereas most other stops along the annual PGA Tour are button-down affairs filled with silent onlookers, polite applause, and stolid linksmen, the Phoenix Open is infamously more rowdy.
It's notorious in the golf world for its boisterous crowds and convivial atmosphere, where upwards of a half-million people gather inside party tents and skyboxes dotting the grounds of Tournament Players Club in Scottsdale or amassing alongside particular greens to cheer and boo competitors.
Kerry Phelps, owner of the Tilted Kilt in North Scottsdale (which has a party tent at the event each year) says most attendees at the event are more about making the party scene than watching golfers make par.
"Primarily the vast majority of people that go out there, they're out there to get drunk and party," he says. "It's funny I don't think I've ever seen more intoxicated people then I do at the Phoenix Open."
And if you're one of those party people, we've assembled a list of nine different places to grab a drink or get rowdy during the open, which runs through Sunday.
This Scottsdale Quarter champagne and tea lounge is holding its "Open Cork Week" from Friday until Monday, February 6, in honor of the Phoenix Open. Anyone with a ticket stub will receive a complimentary glass of champagne and access to Narcisse's private entrance and VIP lounge. A daily happy hour runs from 4 to 8 p.m. with $3 appetizers, $3 champagne by glass, and $5 wine by the glass. After-parties start at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with DJs and dancing. Cover charges vary.
8. The Compound Grill
This NoPho restaurant/bar/live music venue will be pour 10-cent pints of Coors Light during a foursome of Phoenix Open after-parties every evening from Thursday until Sunday night for those wielding ticket stubs. (Sadly, it's a one-per-person kinda deal.) Plenty of other brews are on tap at the bar and local rock and blues bands will perform throughout each evening. 9 p.m. Admission is $10 on Thursday and Friday nights, $7 on Saturday and Sunday.
7. American Junkie
Garish golfing outfits (read: loud slacks, argyle sweaters, and knit caps) are encouraged during American Junkie's Phoenix Open Bash after-party on Friday where those sporting the craziest getup have a shot at winning a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. A happy hour takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. featuring half-priced cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, $5 Skyy drink will be available all evening, and DJ Earth will perform.
6. The Firehouse
Party busses will shuttle revelers from the TPC to the Firehouse's Phoenix Open celebration on Friday, which will also offer $3 beers, $4 well drinks and you-call-it specials, and two-for-one selections after 1 a.m. DJs Sam-E and Sonny will also be in the mix. Doors open at 4 p.m.
5. Tilted Kilt Tent
Renting any of the open's 200-odd skybox will set you back a pretty penny, as rates start at $32,000. (It's probably why each of these elevated party pens are snatched up by big-name corporations each year). Ditto for any of the "Members Club" ticket packages, which promise VIP access but will run $150 per day. Such sky-high prices are exactly why the Celtic-themed breastaurant chain's Scottsdale location offers free admission to its party tent. "If the average Joe goes only has an ordinary ticket, he's kind locked out of a many places to celebrate," says Phelps. "We're open to anybody and everybody."
Anybody who wants to spy scantily clad waitresses, suck down import beers and cocktails, nosh on hamburgers and chicken sammies, or partake in booze-infused frozen treats called Ice Pops. "It's like drinking a cocktail in a popsicle. It's pretty cool and has an ounce-and-a-quarter of alcohol in it, so it gets you pretty loaded," Phelps says. The tent's open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free with Phoenix Open admission.
4. Albertson's Fan Zone
This "fan-friendly area" will feature golf simulators and other interactive gaming, giveaways of posh prizes like PING gear, a Berringer wine bar, and a variety of food booths from such restaurants as PF Chang's and Zinburger.
3. Arizona Rattlers Den
Golfing won't be the only sort of sporting action taking place at the TPC, as Phoenix's arena football squad will host a party tent near the ninth green. Visitors can scope out golfers walking past and preparing to sink their putts, as well as rub elbows with Rattlers players, coaches, and the team's Sidewinders Cheerleaders. Numerous hi-def TVs will be arranged around the tent and a concession stand, cash bar, and VIP section will also be on the premises. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free with Phoenix Open admission.
According to Phoenix Open spokesperson Rob Myers, it's occasionally been a major distraction for some of the many superstar golfers who have competed in the event over the years. "Some guys have fun with it and they throw hats and gifts to the crowd," he says. "Others get mad." Like Justin Leonard, who gave fans the bird after they booed him after he missed a put in 1997. Only 2,800 grandstand seats are available and they tend to fill quickly. Beer and concession stands are nearby should you need liquid refreshment.
2. The 16th Hole
Although each hole at TPC will be over-populated by revelers, the course's 16th hole is where the biggest celebration will occur. The entire fairway is ringed by a stadium-like setup of skyboxes for high-rollers and free grandstand seating for the general public, which typically results in a lot of noise, chants, cheering, and other raucousness.
1. Coors Light Bird's Nest
A virtual three-ring circus of revelry takes place underneath the gargantuan tent set up across the street from the TPC that resembles a swank Scottsdale nightspot writ large. The folks from Dos Gringos will setup a miniature version of their establishment, Tom's Tavern will serve up a variety of eats, and a cigar-rolling area is also planned. The VIP area will boast chef stations and its own bars. Major Label recording artists, DJs, and local bands are scheduled to perform each night and this year's headliners including the Goo Goo Dolls on Thursday and Will.i.am on Friday. Open daily, 3:30 to 10 p.m. General admission is $25-$30 and VIP access is $150.
The Waste Management takes place at the Tournament Players Club in Scottsdale daily through Sunday. Click here for tickets.