Myst
Perched high above Myst's dance floor in the utter opulence of the lavish nightclub's VIP skyboxes, one feels like Caligula as the hedonistic Roman ruler looked down upon the commoners. Gorgeously decorated, cloaked in darkness, and steeped in swank, these private pads of posh have set the standard for all other Scottsdale VIP rooms to aspire to, and have played host to the shenanigans of beautiful types, as well as the rich and famous — including Dennis Rodman, Jesse Metcalfe, and Amaré Stoudemire.

Available in a number of different sizes, the skyboxes are available only if you have some serious scrilla (with per-night charges starting at $500 for the smallest to $1,500 for the largest) and include plenty of perks like bottle service, a stocked private bar, and chocolate-covered strawberries. If you'd rather flaunt your party to the public, separate tables are available in the general VIP lounge for $350, and there's also a cushy catwalk over the dance floor that's available for $1,000. We heard that a few Diamondbacks players had a pretty hopped-up hootenanny in the latter area recently. Let's hope they made it to practice the next day.

Couture-clad female hotties flock to Dirty Pretty every Thursday, but it ain't to sip on overpriced martinis or ogle the hunky bartenders at the vintage-meets-swank rock nightclub. Nope, these slinky sirens wanna rock 'n' roll all night (and party every day) at the ultra-hot Scottsdale nightspot, and they do so with gusto.

Chic to the gills in their finest Mara Hoffman and Sky clubwear, or even sporting teased hair and ripped denim, the coifed and coutured ladies who frequent the weekly Foxy Bitch blowout are, indeed, both dirty and pretty as they scream along to the lyrics of classic anthems of AC/DC, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Roy Orbison, or whatever rock mash-ups are being spun from the decks of D-JR.

We've even seen a few hook 'em horns getting unleashed as these lovelies shake their booties on the dance floor. Watching these wanna-be Pam Andersons slumming it (and likely in search of their own personal Tommy Lee for the evening) reminds us of the similarly ironic Cake song "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle," where frontman John McCrea sang, "Well, your CD collection looks shiny and costly/How much did you pay for your bad Motto Guzi/And how much did you spend on your black leather jacket?/Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?"

BEST PLACE TO FEEL LIKE YOU'RE INSIDE A HIERONYMUS BOSCH PAINTING

Mondrian Scottsdale

Hotel Theodore (Formerly Mondrian Scottsdale)
The creed of the new Mondrian hotel in Scottsdale could easily be "decadence in excess."

Like the triptych painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by 15th- and 16th- century Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch, the aesthetic of the Mondrian is good and evil. The main hall of the hotel plays host to a "heaven" theme, with fluffy, white-cotton clouds suspended from the ceiling, 3-D white orbs running down the walls, and white leather furniture, while a separate bar area entertains the images of "hell," with red furniture, red glass centerpieces shaped like cherries on the tables, and murals on the walls depicting cherubs who've somehow fallen from grace.

But the statues in the hotel's posh Asia de Cuba restaurant most closely resemble Bosch's work — stone bowls with phallic-shaped piles of exotic fat fruits wrapped around each other in a citrus orgy. With so much hedonism decking the halls, we wouldn't be surprised to find the Tree of Knowledge growing somewhere on the premises.

BEST PLACE TO PRETEND YOU'RE A MEMBER OF THE RAT PACK

Hotel Valley Ho

Hotel Valley Ho
Rat Pack paradise must look something like this. The midcentury design that makes you think of The Sands (now defunct). The sweeping driveway with the backlit retro signage. The generous patio overlooking the pool, with open fires nearby on cool nights. All you'd need is Dean Martin with a cocktail in hand, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. clownin' at the bar, and maybe a young Shirley MacLaine high on champagne, and the picture would be complete: a Scottsdale Ocean's Eleven, like the original 1960 version, not those dumb Steven Soderbergh remakes. Peter Lawford'd be wooing some curvy dame in Trader Vic's next door, and Joey Bishop'd be holed up in the hotel restaurant Café ZuZu, with a plate of gourmet meatloaf and copy of Daily Variety.

Bishop and MacLaine are still kickin', natch, but just go with the concept, okay? It ain't too far-fetched. Celebs like Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Robert Wagner all found reason to be here once upon a time. And now that this classy joint's reopened with its $80 million renovation, it's drawing a new round of Tinseltown types, like Jamie Foxx, and others. And perhaps even the ghosts of a few erstwhile Rat Packers on holiday from heaven.

Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar
Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar
When we're torn between the world of drinking wine in pajamas and watching Netflix versus getting gussied up for a night at a shiny club, there's one place where we can feel the thrill of grabbing a drink with the protective armor of anonymity. Kazimierz World Wine Bar offers a cozy cover of darkness with a burgundy interior prickled by candlelight. The stone walls and wooden wine casks make us feel like we're in a 19th-century port town cellar pub. The soft audio of jazz, Latin, and world beat serves an ambiance of private conversation as you sit on the squishy sofas and chairs. Sneak a meeting with a friend or love interest without the risk of being recognized or bombarded with social obligation. No need for the hat-and-glasses bit because even the entrance at the rear of the building is undercover.

BEST PLACE TO GET THE STIFFEST DRINKS IN TOWN

The Black and Tan

The Black and Tan has been the subject of much secrecy and speculation over the past couple of years. The joint is an underground speakeasy of sorts, which is a nice way of saying it's not an official venue and that it doesn't have a liquor license (and, rumor has it, it's perpetually closing). Since we've already been falsely accused of "outing" the place in a recent Best of Phoenix issue (note: we have never disclosed anything about the club's location or who runs it, and in fact, we don't know the latter), we're not going to get into details. Let's just say you have to be "in the know" to go. But if and when you do go, drop some cash on the bar, because it'll be the best bang for your booze buck in the city. If you order a Vodka/Red Bull at the B&T, you get a plastic cup that's about 90 percent vodka and a couple drops of Red Bull — a swine steal at $3. A straight-up Red Bull costs only a buck. Anything with alcohol is going to be made to lay you out here, and considering that we often have to order doubles at legit establishments just to get a buzz going, we'd be boozing at the B&T every night if we could.
La Grande Orange Grocery
Courtesy of La Grande Orange
If you like your sangria white and crisp, we cannot possibly recommend a better cup of quaff than at this popular Arcadia pizzeria. The fruit has been soaking just long enough to make it intoxicating without crossing the line to overwhelming — and the drink itself is so light, it'll leave you floating.

Only problem: Everyone else in town loves this place, too, so you may need to add one of the to-die-for pizzas to your order to get a table. Life is so hard.

Durant's
No point in serving us a dainty dash of vodka with a silly lemon twist. When we want a martini, we want it old-school: gin, olives, the tiniest touch of vermouth, and a giant icy glass.

Durant's delivers on every level. Even better, the drinks aren't poured by some silly college girl who thinks cleavage compensates for bad service. In the dark, clubby bar of this Phoenix institution, you'll get a crash course in what the good old days had to offer: All the classics, done simply and perfectly.

ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
Heather Hoch
When we're drinking a cosmo, we want to feel girly, giddy, and a little retro. The bar at Café ZuZu, the bright restaurant at the Hotel Valley Ho that specializes in stylin' '50s-era comfort food, has just the right vibe. And the bartenders, thank God, know how to do this pink lady to perfection. Tart and sweet at the same time, it's the perfect drink for spring evenings by the pool, fall nights by the fireside, and just about every time in between.
The Roosevelt Tavern
Thank you, Matt Pool, for establishing yet another kickass downtown hang. The owner/chef of Matt's Big Breakfast opened the smashing Roosevelt Tavern in late December 2006 to better serve the downtown eatin' and drinkin' crowd. Among the 20 selections of wines and 45 beer choices is the Roosevelt House Beer, a perfect concoction exclusively created for the tavern by Tempe's famed Four Peaks Brewery.

The irresistible pale ale contains delicate fruit flavors such as grapefruit and an über-light aftertaste that appeals to both recreational boozers and more sophisticated social drinkers. Don't be surprised to gulp down some ice bits along with the liquid goodness served in a tall, Arctic-cold pint glass (ooh, so good) because each draft beer is chilled with a glycol cooling system and poured directly from the glass-encased keg room. You can also enjoy a menu of comfort food like Campfire Beans and Franks and hot, doughy pretzels, all while bathed in the intimate atmosphere of the red-brick 1900 Farish House.

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