Summer Guide: Phoenix Pool Parties

You might have noticed that the shabby-chic masses have disappeared from the Bikini Lounge over the past few weekends. Ditto for the coifed scenesters of Homme and the indie kids at Modified Arts. Don't fear, the hipster rapture hasn't taken place. It's just a sign that the swanked-out summertime pool parties have made a return.

The "in" crowd will be out in force for the myriad swimming soirees, most of which run every weekend through Labor Day at several of the Valley's high-end and boutique hotels. While they're taking a dip or mingling in the shallow end, a variety of beat-juggling DJs and mic-wielding musicians offer poolside performances. Despite the PHX's reputation of being a cultural wasteland from June until September, these Busby Berkeley-like bacchanals have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with more parties splashing down every summer.

Here's our rundown of the biggest bikini bashes:


Sundays, 1 to 10 p.m.
Wyndham Phoenix
(50 E. Adams St., 602-333-0000)

Dance-music mavens Jared Alan and William Fucking Reed witnessed some insane action during Adult Swim's debut run last summer at the Hotel San Carlos. "It got wild," Alan says. "We kept things under control for the most part. Security had to tell some girls to put their clothes back on." One thing they couldn't control was the amount of fans who packed the hotel's rooftop pool beyond capacity every weekend. It forced Phoenix's fire marshal to ax the event (as well as the rock-oriented Star Swim), necessitating a move to the larger Wyndham Hotel. But though the location has changed, the pair will continue spinning cutting-edge electro and dance jams with new resident Sean Watson. A lineup of guest DJs will also be featured, ranging from locals like Brazilia to such out-of-towners as the U.K.'s Adam Freeland. The cover charge is $5 (with room rates starting at $69).

Saturdays, 5 to 10 p.m.
Wyndham Phoenix (50 E. Adams St.,

If Adult Swim is akin to an off-the-hook danceteria, then Star Swim is more like an indie-rock show (minus the ear plugs). As such, co-promoters Psyko Steve Chilton (also a New Times contributor) and Jen Deveroux feel their crowd is of the funky, tattooed-and-pierced sort you'd usually find at a Trunk Space gig. "It's a more relaxed vibe," he says. "Every other pool party is very DJ-driven, whereas we're more about live bands." Numerous favorites from the local scene will be featured each weekend, including Mondegreen, Miniature Tigers, and What Laura Says. If you get hungry after nodding along to the music, a full barbecue menu is available, as well as vodka snowcones, popsicles, and ice cream. Admission is $6 (with room rates starting at $69).

Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m.
Locations vary

Nightlife impresario Steve LeVine is organizing this series of 12 pool parties, which will take place every weekend starting June 13 at the Valley's various Mark-Taylor luxury apartment communities. Power 98.3's DJ Tyger will serve a mix of Top 40 hits at each wingding, and free food and drink will be provided by Budweiser, Dos Gringos, and the Gelato Spot. Be warned, however, that the events are essentially a promotional tool for the company to hawk their posh crash pads, so suck down as many complimentary tacos and cerveza as possible before anyone corners you with a sales pitch. Admission is free, but be sure to RSVP. Call 480-284-6033.

One Saturday a month,
noon to sunset
Mondrian Scottsdale
(7353 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, 480-308-1100)
Scottsdale scenesters can get in on the poolside party action, thanks to DJ Tranzit's summer-long H2O series. spinsters like Senbad and Rani "g" will also be on the wheels of steel. The cover is $15 for ladies, $20 for guys. Visit The Mondrian will also open their swank swimming hole to the public every Friday and Saturday afternoon. Admission is free.

Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Sundays, 10 a.m. to dusk
W Scottsdale (7277 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale, 480-970-2100)
There are two ways of getting into the celebrations at this Scottsdale hotspot's pool deck. Either cough up enough greenbacks to get a room/poolside cabana or dress stylishly enough to woo your way past the velvet ropes. If you gain entrance, you'll be treated to two swanky affairs each weekend, both featuring the Phunk Junkeez's Soulman and other DJs on the ones and twos and performances by big-name guests (Chris Clouse and Shwayze have previously stopped by the W). Room rates vary.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.