Best Sports Bar, West Valley 2011 | The Moon Saloon | Arts & Entertainment | Phoenix
Peoria can sometimes be a land of chain restaurants, where the closest you'll get to a sports bar is a Hooters. But look carefully at the corner of 83rd Avenue and Bell, because right behind that Hooters (we wish we were joking) is The Moon Saloon. The homey joint, with red vinyl booths and wood-paneled walls, is frequented by plenty of regulars — the place gets packed when the Suns and Cardinals play — and after a couple of games, you'll be calling yourself a regular, too. The TVs are plentiful, the beer flows freely, and the saloon snack Pick-a-Platter lets you mix and match among bar bites, because variety is the spice of life.
Courtesy of Zipps
If you root for the home team, you'll fit in nicely at Zipps in Chandler. Here, fans turn out in numbers and are very vocal in their support, from ASU football to big-deal NFL playoff games. There are tons of TVs positioned at all angles, so there's not a bad seat in the house. Though there's plenty on draft or behind the bar to quench your thirst, we recommend the frozen Zipparita, which gives Z'Tejas a run for its tequila-laced money. Anchor your booze with a platter of the honey hot "golden wings" (Go maroon and gold!) or an ice cream-topped cookie skillet. With generous happy hour specials and rotating daily deals on food and drink from 8 to close, it's easy to see why this sports bar fills up fast on game day.
"Sports bar" can be a generic term, but at Boulders on Broadway, the designation truly fits. The bar is stuffed with bikers — not the leather-sporting, tattooed, and bearded types, but the toned and slim bicyclist variety, along with all sorts of sporty, fit athletes-cum-hipsters. It's easy to see the appeal. The multi-floor bar and eatery boasts a massive beer selection (25 on tap and 75 additional brews available in bottles), as well as a menu of pizzas and sandwiches. It's generally hearty fare, but when everyone is jogging, hiking, biking, or roller-blading to the bar, you get the sense that any unnecessary calories are burned off in no time.
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.

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