The Lost Leaf
The Lost Leaf

We didn't know what the hell Delirium Tremens was. Framboise Lambic? Sorry, we don't speak French. Or German. Especially not at the same time. Luckily, we stumbled into the Lost Leaf, where we took to the finer points of beer education. The coursework? One bottled beer at a time from the hundreds available: Dead Guy Ale, Ska Brewing, Nimbus Ale . . . Lost Leaf has them all. Want to make your beer blitz a social occasion? Hang out with friends any day of the week or during First Friday, when things go nuts with local music and an intimate dance space.

Mesa Amphitheatre

In Germany, it's October. In Arizona, it's March. Yes, we're referring to that magical time when every weekend seems to bring a new opportunity to engage in the drunken debauchery of a massive outdoor beer festival. Kicking things off on the last Saturday in February, the Arizona Strong Beer Festival in Mesa gets many of the same brewers as the other festivals, but its prime location (the intimate and lush Mesa Amphitheatre) and its great time slot (before there's any hint of heat to dampen the fun) make it special. Oh, yes, the beer . . . The Strong Beer fest gives brewers a chance to break out the high-octane stuff, meaning the lowest alcohol content you'll find is 8 percent. Yes, every beer you drink has about twice as much buzz as Bud Light. To mark the occasion, local brewers such as Four Peaks bring stuff you've probably never tried, and such regional brew powers as Dogfish Head are known to bust out a few barrels of limited-edition suds you'd pay a mint to sample otherwise.

Brigett's Last Laugh

Like karaoke and pool, Pabst Blue Ribbon is an American bar tradition, and Brigett's Last Laugh has all three. Sure, there are other places in town that serve PBR, but few serve it as cold or as cheap ($1.50 per can) as Brigett's. And because PBR has been associated with things like trailer parks, cheap drunks, and punk rock, many places that carry PBR don't advertise it. Not Brigett's. There's a big, shiny Pabst Blue Ribbon mirror hanging prominently in the bar, and the waitress will happily include it in her rundown of drink specials. So what if your friends roll their eyes when you order PBR and try to tell you to at least buy a Budweiser? At Brigett's, PBR's still king.

The Vig

We like to party and we're not ashamed to admit it. And since we've left college, our tastes have evolved beyond flip-flops and beer bongs. We crave an environment with a little more class, where we can relax and get faded while polishing off a few nice bottles of wine. Unfortunately, thanks to the crap state of our economy, we're still working with the same budget that we had in college. The folks at the Vig know that and have graciously offered up half-price bottles of wine all day on Sundays. With a spacious patio, upscale atmosphere, and tasty menu, we can't think of a better place to catch a buzz while maintaining our dignity and still have some scratch left over to pay the rent.

Wildfish Seafood Grille

Seventy-five-cent oysters? Five-dollar blood-orange margaritas? Five-dollar Bacardi mojitos? With prices this good, you could surely be forgiven for assuming that we were talking about some desperate hole in the hinterlands, offering incredible deals in hopes of luring someone — anyone — to spend happy hour at their place. But no. Unbelievably, all this is going on in one of the swankest dining rooms in the Scottsdale Fashion Square area — the lovely, stylin', and downright tasty Wildfish. During the summer, incredibly, these deals last all night long in the bar area, along with $5 off on an array of appetizers, including Wildfish's awesome salt-and-pepper gulf shrimp and the crab cake that New Times previously named the best in Phoenix. Not surprisingly, the place draws quite a crowd, but the bar area is spacious enough that you still won't get jostled — perhaps the best happy hour promise of all.

Hurricane Bay

What woman doesn't fantasize about relaxing under a palm tree on a sandy beach, being tended to by sexy waiters bearing fruity cocktails with little umbrellas? Well, we can't promise the sand or the tree, but ladies can live out the rest of their fantasies at Hurricane Bay's Wednesday Luxe Ladies Night. The 10,000-square-foot space was renovated earlier this year with such femme-friendly additions as plush padded seats and a sleek new wooden bar inlaid with pretty seashells. Of course, there's no entrance fee for women on Wednesdays. But the best part of Ladies Night at Hurricane Bay is that the $5 dude-cover scares off enough gents to leave most of the dance floor for us gals. Sorry, boys, but the beats (and, okay, the $4 Flashy-tini specials) are why we're really there.

Rodney Dangerfield complained about receiving no respect, but we wonder how he would have done in a dress and high heels. Women in comedy nowadays don't have to play second banana to any dude, so Ronnie Deleski, Jacki Orr, and Amy Jean Page birthed Muff Mondays as a yonic-slanted comedy showcase. The monthly variety show is a mix of stand-up, sketches, music, and video that is smart and funny no matter what's between your legs. Do beware, though, boys — their humor does have teeth. Take, for example, the game show-style journey through ex-boyfriends called "Guess His Dick Size."

Dick's Cabaret

While there's a slew of bars around this 'burg — both gay and straight — offering "all-male revues" (read: hunky men stripping down to their unmentionables), only two clubs in the Valley dare go for the "Full Monty": Dick's Cabaret and its recently opened spin-off, II Dick's. Both flesh parlors serve up more lean meat than a butcher shop, featuring dozens of strapping male dancers getting as nude as the day they were born, each night of the week.

And it isn't just gay men stopping by for an eyeful, as an equal number of females turn out at either location to ogle boys and bros alike, gazing at six-pack abs, bulging muscles, and, uh, ample endowments that their boyfriends or husbands might not possess. Nightly deals are also offered (such as one admission price that gets you into both clubs, as well as $5 cover and dances on Wednesdays and Thursdays), so the lovely and licentious ladies of the Valley can transform into cat-calling looky-loos on the cheap. Where's the beef (or more specifically, "Where's the beefcake?")? It's down at Dick's Cabaret, yo.

The Sweet Spot (Formerly Babylon Showclub)

Babylon Show Club's design reflects its hedonistic sensibilities — a giant gargoyle greets patrons outside, while the interior is filled with red zebra-stripe carpet, red and black leather booths, five giant-screen TVs, and a "custom smoking section." There's a full kitchen, too, which serves up nachos and hamburgers, and an awesome sound system that pumps out 6,000 watts of power. The dancers are attractive and clean-looking. And they actually attempt routines that incorporate the onstage poles and other props instead of simply moving around and taking their clothes off with bored looks on their faces. The club also hosts its share of parties, including the first Arizona Porn Star Ball, in February, and regular get-togethers for the "adventurous couples" club at www.lifestylelounge.com.

Christie's Cabaret

Usually, people go to strip clubs to look at the strippers. But at Pink Cabaret, patrons are encouraged to check themselves out, too. The ground floor of the large cabaret is covered almost entirely with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, which means guys can check their hair (or bulge) on their way to the bar, bathroom, or stage. Meanwhile, the dancers can fixate on their own reflections while they gyrate and simultaneously keep an eye out for tipsy tippers staggering up to the stage behind them. The balcony contains a few large mirrors, too, but why walk up a flight of stairs for a bird's-eye view when there's a kaleidoscope of flesh below? Such a plethora of preening can also save you the humiliation of a friend telling you there's a booger hanging out of your nose. We'll throw a dollar down for that.

Best Of Phoenix®

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