Q & Brew

In local director Travis Mills' The Big Something, a slacker noir set in the Valley, pool hall Q& Brew plays a pivotal role. It makes sense. Nestled away in the same strip mall that houses the Yucca Tap Room and Sky High Smoke shop, the Brew has got a lo-fi kind of charm. It's resolutely hipster-proof, the kind of place you go for a real game of pool (a couple of local leagues meet there), not some sort of ironic Portlandia skit. Which isn't to say that the place is shady. The staff keeps things exactly as they should be, and the plush tucked leather bar is one of the smoothest and coolest in town.

El Santo Cantina y Mas

In Scottsdale, theme bars are king. The city's nightlife landscape overflows with rustic cowboy saloons, greasy rock joints, kitschy island bars, and even an effin' dance club inspired by a bank. So it's not surprising in the least that Spanish Fly, a Mexican beach bar with a pool on the premises, would be a hit. The concept proved so successful that its proprietors (who also own such theme eateries as Geisha A Go Go and Stingray Sushi) opened a similar swimming spot called El Santo in North Scottsdale. And it's just as groovy as its sister establishment, if not more so. Boasting a much larger and swankier spread than Spanish Fly, El Santo features a 2,800-square-foot pool, twice as many chic VIP cabanas, a bigger waterfall, two separate bars (including one resembling a gigantic grass hut), and waitresses sporting teeny-tiny bikinis. The kitchen serves delicious street-style tacos and other Baja cuisine offerings, but be sure to use a napkin when noshing, lest you stain your designer swimsuit with chipotle sauce.

Time Out Lounge
Lauren Cusimano

A good jukebox is key to a good time — even if you're watching the game. Hey, we're all about multi-tasking these days, even when we're out on the town. And the jukebox at Time Out Lounge typically pumps out good jams from the likes of Elvis Costello, The Buzzcocks, and The Stooges. It's usually pretty mellow in the Time Out, as the name suggests, but that's one of its main charms. Behind its wood-paneled walls (blocking the windows, natch), punks and scenesters shoot pool, drink cold beers, and, yes, watch football (or the game du jour). The Time Out is a no B.S. kind of place, and while you can find trendier and hipper bars around town, why would you want to?

Arcadia Tavern

Neighborhood sports bars don't get much more authentic than Arcadia Tavern, the kind of place where cheering on your team during the big game is just as enjoyable as hanging out during halftime. Plenty of plasma TVs in the bar, on the patio, and just about everywhere else you look guarantee there's not a bad seat in the house. And their 18-ounce draft beers, served in weighty glass goblets, make sure you'll get an arm workout while you watch. The food satisfies and the friendly staff will ensure you know about the ever-important game-day specials.

Legends Sports Bar & Restaurant

Not being able go to the game doesn't burn nearly as bad when you can watch it from Coach & Willie's. Since 2000, this downtown establishment has been winning customers over with its killer patio and stiff drinks. Located close enough to Chase Field that you can still hear the crack of the bats, Coach & Willie's makes it almost too easy to stumble in after a few too many brews at the game — at least they've got plenty of above-par bar food to soak up the extra beer. Win or lose, you usually can count on some post-game action at this local watering hole.

Teakwoods Tavern & Grill

We've all had it happen before. Just enough time on the clock for one last drive — and your team needs seven to clutch the win. The best way to release all that nervous tension? Smashing peanuts and throwing the waste all over the floor. Hungry or not, we always manage to make a serious dent in the bucket of peanuts found on every table at Teakwoods — and the food you actually pay for isn't bad, either. Mostly, we show up for the 360-degree views of flatscreen TVs and the affordable pitchers of beer. The mixture of lowbrow peanut-tossing and casual neighborhood hangout vibe makes Teakwoods a great place to drink away the blues we're bound to get for being Cardinals fans.

Zipps Sports Grill

The newest Zipps location keeps all the best parts of this Valley favorite sports bar chain. Exposed brick and too many TVs to count carry on a classic Zipps tradition, but the young feel of the surrounding neighborhood keeps things fun. We've been known to indulge in drunken shuffleboard, and the Golden Tee machine — a staple in any top-tier sports bar — constantly calls to us from across the room. A trip to Zipps wouldn't be complete without a basket of their "golden" wings, but by far our favorite part about this place has to be their Zipparita. One too many, and we're ordering a round for the whole place.

Stinger's Sports Bar
Benjamin Leatherman

There are more than enough sports bars in Stinger's neighborhood, and they all seem to embrace their rough-around-the-edges appearance. But no one likes to walk into a bar full of regulars and feel the burning stare of patrons and employees demanding, "Why are you here?" Though Stinger's is sure to be full of regulars on any given night, we like its sociable attitude and the bartenders' welcoming service. Whether you're in to watch the game or just grab a drink, there's going to be plenty to watch at this true sports bar. Considering the in-house pool league, off-track betting, dartboards and other games, Stinger's offers quite a showing — besides the action on the numerous TVs, of course.

Cactus Moon Sports Grill

There's no shortage of places to catch a game in the East Valley, but forget about finding a seat if you don't stake out a spot well before kickoff. That's when we head to Cactus Moon. Because whether we show up in the first half or the bottom of the ninth, there's always room for us and our beer. We'll admit we were skeptical of a sports bar in the Mesa Riverview shopping complex, but there's nothing corporate about this family-run operation. Even after the final whistle blows, we stick around for when they clear the floor for late-night fun. Our favorite is Thursday's country-Western theme.

Native New Yorker

Okay, so it's a chain. But being located within spitting distance of a college campus means this sports bar — excuse us, "sports-themed family restaurant" — gets real rowdy on game day. Our favorite nights of the week are easily Tuesday and Thursdays, when we can order a plateful of wings for just 45 cents apiece. This place bleeds college-casual atmosphere, and with its recent renovations, we're happy to stay for this game and the next. Bar food is bar food, but Native New Yorker's unique wing flavors such as Honey Hot, Parmesan Dusted, Strawberry Hot, and Spicy Honey Mustard mean your taste buds don't have to get bored or burned.

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