Best Sports Bar, Scottsdale 2011 | Majerle's Sports Grill | Arts & Entertainment | Phoenix
The fourth location in the sports bar empire owned by Phoenix Suns legend and assistant coach Dan Majerle, Majerle's Old Town may be "Thunder" Dan's best yet. The upscale décor of the place sets a new standard, and the glowing purple and orange accents that dot the bar make it clear that this is Suns territory. Jerseys and dozens of flat-screens hang on the walls, and if you're lucky, you may even spot Majerle himself hanging out. He makes plenty of stops at the place, and there's no doubting why — sports fan or not, the clean lines, classy drinks, and decent pub grub make Majerle's a prime spot to watch the game.
With 15 flat-screen televisions dominating the walls, and smaller flat-screens at each booth, you won't miss a minute of the fight at Gametime. Owners order all the UFC fights and most boxing matches, in addition to NFL Sunday Ticket, the NBA League Pass, and college football's Big Ten Package. This family-friendly restaurant by day starts hopping at night, when music pumps energy into the air and the drink specials come out to play. And you more than make up for the $5 cover on game nights (no drink minimums) with the bevy of specials, including all-day happy hour on Monday and 25-cent drinks on Thursday nights with the purchase of a $5 wristband.
You have to hand it to the Q & Brew. In all its years (the hall opened in 1968 before moving to its current location in 1987), the joint has never catered to anyone other than pool-shooting folks, resisting the urge to get gentrified by hipsters or hepcats looking for the next "authentic" place to hang out. "The Q," as it's lovingly called around town, hosts league nights and $3 all-you-can-play tables starting at noon. It also features a killer smoking patio, where you can practice your best Paul Newman (in The Hustler) impression. Best of all, it features one of the coolest pinball machines in town, an original Williams Deluxe Baseball unit from 1957, for those times you feel like giving the cues a rest.
Juggernauts of trivial knowledge team up every Tuesday night to test their might against some of the most hardcore trivia teams in the Valley. The teams are big, the happy hour specials are plentiful, and the beer selection is phenomenal — but the tables are sparse. Rally your team and get there well before the 6:30 p.m. start time to secure a table at this biker-friendly, rock-climber-loving, kayak-sporting sports bar. And don't forget to keep those pesky cell phones in your pocket or purse. Otherwise, your team will be disqualified and you will get a severe boo-ing from the rest of the room.
Meagan Simmons
You know the feeling. Everything's hazy. Your balance is shot. Standing up becomes an accomplishment. And yet something delicious and cold keeps passing over your lips and down your throat. You realize that it's beer. Your 12th beer, to be exact, but you can't concern yourself with that right now because a towering column of blocks threatens to topple at any moment. Think about it: You're tipsy and so is Jenga. If there is a better game to play with a dozen or so whooping drunkies, it probably involves a Nintendo Wii. Papago Brewing doesn't have a Wii, but it does have Jenga, several very high tables on which to play Jenga, and a mouth-watering selection of beer on tap and in frosty-cold bottles.

Best Place to See an Authentic Pachinko Machine

Geisha A Go Go

Josh Chesler
Walking into Scottsdale's Geisha A Go Go, one is overwhelmed with sights and smells. Sashimi-grade tuna puts salivary glands to work at first sight. Flavored sake in massive taps ensures that a night of drunken karaoke is not far off. But the first real sign one sees of the Land of the Rising Sun is a trio of actual pachinko machines waiting for you inside the front door. Pachinko is a Japanese cross between pinball and slot machines, usually with blinding lights and video screens playing Japanese animation to distract less-experienced players. Our favorite at Geisha A Go Go is the Hokuto No Ken (or Fist of the North Star) machine, complete with images of hulking Japanese comic characters in a Road Warrior-esque setting. Luckily, the machines are just for show. Pachinko looks fun, but watching your money dissolve thanks to a few misplaced ball bearings is anything but.
Lauren Cusimano
With that funky geometric sign and off-kilter building structure, you won't expect anything at Rips Ales and Cocktails to be run of the mill. The bar's Sunday-night karaoke is no exception, with hipsters, barflies, and wanna-be pop queens all taking to the mic to belt out renditions of their favorite tunes. The diversity of the singers is matched by the diversity of the tunes, and you're just as likely to hear a soul ballad as a rocker. There's no shortage of places to go to find great karaoke nights in Phoenix, but few that match the unpredictable style of Rips.
Lauren Cusimano
The Zen Lunatics have hosted rockaroke (karaoke with a live rock band, get it?) at Tempe spots like the Yucca Tap Room and The Sail Inn in the past, but the stage at Tempe Tavern may just be the perfect fit for the band. You'd be hardpressed to find a cover band with the chops these guys have, able to back you up on just about any rock 'n' roll standard you can think of, and more than willing to dig into some greasy funk like selections from Ike and Tina Turner or soul balladry from the likes of Stevie Wonder. Potential frontmen or ladies are in good hands with The Zen Lunatics, who are as happy to rock your wedding, corporate party, or youth rally as they are the stage at Tempe Tavern.
Alcohol has a tendency to stir up emotions, annihilate shyness, and encourage certain risky behavior. Inhibitions start to evaporate while inebriated, leading some folks to consider daring activities they might not otherwise engage in. For example, many a tattoo has been acquired after staggering to a nearby body art parlor after a few (okay, more than a few) snifters of firewater. At Jake's-O-Mine, however, you can forgo the stumble, because they host an actual in-house tattoo artist. Ink-slinger Dan Tapley practices his trade at a tiny studio located inside this Apache Junction dive bar five days a week, from Monday to Friday. Typically, the artist spends most of the time creating skulls, snakes, and American flags on the skin of the place's biker clientele, but he also can whip up some original designs if needed. Despite the joint's grimy décor and badass reputation, Tapley keeps his work area spotless and hygienic and won't needle anyone who seems completely soused. After all, who needs the hassle of being confronted by a patron who suddenly regrets their newly inked tramp stamp?
Lauren Cusimano
Like most good dive barflies, we're not exactly stoked to share our favorite hideout with the masses. But what the heck — we love this place! It's dark, it's grimy (though the ladies room is so clean, it won a Best Of), and it has an atrium. It's the Swizzle Inn. Lurking behind the Starbucks on the southeast corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road sits a little piece of dive bar heaven, where the drinks are always strong and the Christmas light are on 365 days a year. Whether you're in flip-flops, heels, or even your pajamas, everyone's welcome at the Swizzle for cheap drinks and a game of pool. And don't worry if you're short in the, um, friends department — there are plenty of colorful locals to keep you entertained.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of