Buffalo Wings & Rings
Yes, this place has wings (chicken) and rings (onion) but the beer is the real draw here. Unlike most Southeast Valley bars content to offer Miller, Coors, and Bud, BWR always brings in something we've never tried before — we could drop names, but they'd surely be obsolete well before this went to print. The bartenders are as knowledgeable and friendly as you'll find anywhere in town and really seem to want to pair you with a beer you'll love. On top of that, the atmosphere is wonderful, with a nice assortment of regulars and just enough TVs to offer a distraction if you want one, but not so many that you're overwhelmed if you're not. Trust us, that is a fine line to walk.
Boulders on Broadway
Tempe's Boulders on Broadway feels like a ski lodge in the summer: floored with brick, walled with wood, and packed with mountain bikes from neighborhood drinkers who've pedaled to the bar to enjoy the atmosphere. The hulking two-story structure has plenty of room for everyone, but most of the action happens in the small-ish bar area, which tends to fill up and feel intimate. The pub draws a diverse clientele — it seems like the sort of place students might run into their professors — and there's usually a game on, though the place doesn't feel like a sports bar. The drink selection is great, the service is stellar, and there always seems to be someone interesting to talk to if you're in the mood to mingle. If there's something else you're looking for in a great neighborhood bar, you're pickier than we are.
TT Roadhouse
Lauren Cusimano
TT Roadhouse likes to present itself as a quasi-biker bar, but it's far from it. Actually, despite the posturing (this is Scottsdale, after all), it has more the feel of a British pub than anything. Dimly lit, lined with heavy wood, and staffed by bartenders who are wary of folks they don't know, it's everything a neighborhood bar should be. TT has pool, darts, and a solid jukebox, but the conversation you'll find bellied up to the cramped but comfortable bar is the real draw. TT's been hipstering it up with DJs lately — and though we like whom they've got spinning, we still prefer it quiet and without a line for drinks.
Long Wong's at the Firehouse
The name Long Wong's is legendary, and the wings have little to do with why. The old location on Mill Avenue birthed some of the state's biggest and best bands, including the Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments. Okay, so the new Long Wong's at the Firehouse isn't on the old strip. And, sure, though the owners are the same, the people booking shows are different. There's still some magic in this venue, which claims a piece of the bulldozed bar's history and is committed to the credo that "Arizona still produces some of the best music in the entire US of A." We like some of the new traditions — like the "Fire Drill," during which any drink at the bar is $1 when a fire truck drives by with its lights on — and we're confident the joint will grow more homey as it ages.
The Nile Theater
In the mid- to late '90s, the Nile Theatre in Mesa was the shiznit. The indie concert venue on Main Street was one of the places for local music fans. The biggest names in rock, punk, hardcore, and hip-hop hit up the Nile, and locals bands aplenty performed in the basement. Unfortunately, the Nile was shut down in 2002 after issues with the city of Mesa. Then, in January, employees of indie concert promoter the Mantooth Group just happened to ride by the then-vacant building as the rental agent was putting a sign up. They spent the next month restoring the basement and re-opened it as theUnderground. In late July, the Nile Theatre followed. And all was right with the world.
Padre Murphy's
What would Jesus do at Padre's? Probably conjure up some cod for the all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry or transform the club soda into a crisp chardonnay. All blasphemy aside, we suspect J.C. could have an almighty good time at this neighborhood bar. After all, it's named after an Irish Catholic priest, and one of the Lord's quotes ("Go and sin no more") graces the menu. Then again, the Messiah might not cotton to all the sinful shenanigans available here, including six OTB windows and an abundance of cheap liquor. It's the sort of divine dilemma that's best discussed over a few beers.

Best Place to Reenact Saturday Night Fever

Disco

It wouldn't surprise us one bit if Saturday Night Fever's Tony Manero somehow strutted his way off the silver screen and into Disco, white suit and all. That's because the proprietors of this dapper danceteria dropped some major bank in re-creating their own version of the legendary illuminated dance floor that John Travolta ambled across with aplomb in the 1977 disco flick. Measuring 10 feet by 20 feet and powered by a rainbow of pressure-sensitive LEDs, it looks as if it were lifted directly from the Odyssey 2001 (the film's fictional NYC discotheque). It's also completely interactive, responding to dance steps with explosions of color. Plus, Disco's DJs are known to throw a few songs by The Bee Gees and The Trammps into the mix between Top 40 tracks. Hope you can remember how to do "The Hustle."
Lone Butte Casino
Got the pipes to be the next Kelly Clarkson or Lee DeWyze? Your vocal destiny awaits at Lone Butte Casino's Lucky Break singing competition, now in its fourth season. Savvy singers compete each week to advance to the grand finale, where one winner will receive $10,000 and a trip for two to Nashville or Las Vegas for a chance to audition for major record executives. Soloists who soar through the tryouts will find themselves in front of a panel of (thankfully) un-Simon-like judges for a show taping at the casino's Cascades Lounge, where their crooning conclusions are broadcast on KPHO every Saturday night.
This cheery CenPho sports bar is almost always packed with armchair athletes, people who want to watch the game on the place's 31 (count 'em!) TVs, eat a burger, and maybe play some trivia. But around 10 on Tuesday and Saturday nights, a different kind of group shows up en masse: the karaoke crowd. And hot damn! It's fun to watch. The singers are good but not too good, and (on Tuesdays at least) it's not hard to get a seat and a chance at the mic, should you be so inclined. Best of all: The peeps running this show are pros at subtly turning down the mic for singers who can't quite, um, sing. Hazelwoods is nice that way, both to the unfortunate warblers and our grateful ears.
Korean BBQ
What is box karaoke, you ask? Imagine you and your circle of friends had a private room for laying down some Journey or screaming out some Bowie. Now imagine a waitress on hand to bring you beer continuously. This, friends, is the box karaoke experience. Sure, you can go to those fancy karaoke boxes in Scottsdale, but the one at Korean BBQ in Mesa is far cheaper and available for reservations. Should you feel peckish between sets of Springsteen, step out of the box and grab a menu.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of