Amsterdam

The décor in this chic lounge is striking — a beautiful, wood-paneled Art Deco bar; white Roman pillars; sparkling chandeliers; burgundy leather couches, and a black baby grand piano all add to the classy ambiance. The drink of choice is the martini, of which Amsterdam serves more than 100 different variations, each served with a huge chunk of fruit. The music is a mix of dance tunes, diva crooning, and avant jazz, but the place is so crowded with warm bodies and loud voices on weekends that you probably won't hear the music much anyway.

As for eye candy, Amsterdam's got something for everyone. Though it's one of the most celebrated "gay bars" in the city and draws the lion's share of young, hot gay men (and a good portion of lesbians, too), it's also become a magnet for stylish straight women and the hetero-metrosexual men who pursue them. Amsterdam's element of refinement is balanced with tongue-out flamboyance — the club offers everything from $5 Martinis & Manicures on Mondays to "live boys" from brokestraightboys.com dancing on the patio for special events.

The building that formerly housed the clubs Shepherd's and The Eagle is now Retrobar, a groovy, space age-themed club that combines vintage fashion with retro imagery. Guests are greeted by a cluster of mannequins, all dressed in Studio 54-style garb and huddled around tables. A gigantic flat-screen TV covers half the south wall of the bar and plays muted music videos while '70s disco favorites boom out of Retrobar's club speakers. The lava lamps behind the bar encompass every color of the rainbow, fitting for a neighborhood gay bar that has a black leather-paneled VIP cove. The vibe is low-key, with mostly 30-something males huddling around the bar to discuss politics and popular culture — or just to sip mixed drinks. Retrobar also has its own signature drink, a $1 Jell-O shot called an Alien Cocksucker. Beam us up, hotties!

Dilly Dally Lounge

Some things are just classic. Hard to top. If you have a fetish for dank smells, dirty fish tanks, and hot salty nuts, then there is no better dive for you than the Dilly Dally. If you're turned on by doing tequila shots with old men and staring at titty photo collages, then you won't be disappointed. We can't resist; we've gotta say it: Don't dillydally. Get over there.

Skeptical Chymist

Whoever invented the phrase "green around the gills" was Irish, probably from war-torn Belfast. How do we know? 'Cause we braved Skeptical Chymist's annual Guinness & Oyster Festival last St. Pat's and personally experienced the culinary terrorism — er, hallowed Irish tradition — of swallowing raw marine slime and then chugging a pint of thick, black beer. We revisit the experience in our nightmares. Often.

However, watching other people screw on that what-the-hell-have-I-just-done face makes for great spectator drama on St. Patrick's Day, and the Chymist is the only joint in town we've found that honors this (most questionable) custom. BYO barf bag.

There is so much eye candy on display at SkyBar, it's hard to figure out exactly where to rest your gaze. (Just make sure that when you go in for the kill, your target's legal — the place was busted on Valentine's Day with more than 20 underage drinkers inside.) But it's not quite your typical Scottsdale fake-tit fest; you're likely to see a model or two from The Agency, located downstairs at the Mondrian, gliding around the room as well. It's set up to feel kind of like you're lounging on a wealthy friend's outdoor patio, and the fireplace burning in the winter months is a nice touch. If you've got the cash, you can rent a bed (well, the bar calls them "veiled cabanas") and get a little cozier with your date. This is definitely a place to look sharp at — the ambiance is just swanky enough to let you know you're in Scottsdale, but not grossly over the top, like other Old Town bars we can think of.

Feeney's Restaurant & Bar
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Technically, this place is a restaurant, a solid, old-school prime rib joint that also does great seafood and still features a salad bar. (You know the type.) But the real secret here is the bar, which is dark and friendly and filled with the most interesting people. You never know if you're going to run into the criminal defense attorney who got off Bishop O'Brien after he hit a drunk Indian and just kept driving — or a Deep Throat-type who whispers that he's got the real goods on who ordered Don Bolles' death. It's not a Scottsdale crowd, that's for sure.

When it comes to hotel bars, we don't want one of those sealed-off, hipper-than-thou Ian Schrager nightclubs. We want a place to chill out, chat up the bartender, and watch the foot traffic. And, on every count, the piano bar tucked into the lobby of the Biltmore delivers. The look is pure Frank Lloyd Wright, but the vibe is casual: You can watch the Suns game and even play checkers. Don't miss the Tequila Sunrise — the classic drink was invented here, and the bartenders are happy to show off their skill.

Voce Ristorante & Lounge

Clubbing is fun, yes. But after a few nights of pulsating lights that keep your pupils in a constant state of dilation, bass beats that shake your arm hairs, and chemical poisoning from your spray tan, you're on the verge of a code 10 anxiety attack. It might be time to peel off your sparkly dress and kick off your eff-me pumps for something a little more relaxed. Head to Vocé Ristoranté and Lounge for a night out that won't wear you out. Revive your protein levels with fine Italian cuisine cooked up by chef/owner Michael Lepore and give your eardrums a rest by taking in the smooth sounds of live jazz musicians like Dennis Rowland, Khani Cole, and Rachel Eckroth. With a rotating list of national performers, Vocé draws a sophisticated crowd every evening. So instead of cramping your calves all night freaking with some duder on a dance floor, cozy up in a booth or at a table for some luscious lounge time.

Whether it's rock bands or baseball stadiums, re-creating the old charm just never quite seems to work. That's why we were skeptical when Chez Nous — the super-dark '60s cocktail lounge on Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road that was torn down and replaced by a British supermarket — announced that it was reopening the Nous at the old Fat Cat's bar on Grand Avenue. However, it's pretty insane how dead-on the new Chez Nous looks compared with the old one (that is, after your eyes adjust to the dungeon-like lighting). There's the same weird rock water shrine behind the bar, carbon-copy cushion-y booths, and identical vintage velour wallpaper. Plus, many of the resident jazz, blues, and soul bands still jam at the space, including Roscoe's Motown Mania on Friday nights. Something else that hasn't changed: They still accept cash only.

The club scene in Phoenix can be as fickle as a pickle. Some new nightspots throw open their doors and are the place to see and be seen, packing in the hotties by the hundreds. Meanwhile, other places can debut to much pomp and circumstance but remain emptier than a ghost town. Thanks to its swank environs, bangin' DJ lineup, and numerous off-the-chain elements, the brand-new PHX Nightclub has been chosen by fate to be the former. Every night it's been open there's been a line out the door, populated by hopeful honeys and homies waiting to gain access to the joint, which rocks an upscale urban vibe. On Fridays and Saturdays, hip-hop, R&B, and Top 40 jams get dropped by the DJ crew. Break out your best threads if you're thinking about dropping by, because the upscale club is strictly "dress to impress," yo.

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