Best Place to Fill a Growler 2012 | Flanny's Bar & Grill | Shopping & Services | Phoenix

Beer geeks, craft brew nerds, and classy alcoholics rejoiced this year when the Arizona Liquor Board changed its rules and began allowing bars and restaurants with certain liquor licenses to fill 64-ounce glass jugs — a.k.a. growlers — with draft beer from their favorite breweries. And when we feel the need to get our trusty growlers filled to go, we head over to South Tempe's Flanny's Bar & Grill. Not only will they fill any clean growler for $12 (and up, depending on the beer), but they have one of the best rotations of draft selections in town. Mark your calendars for the third Thursday of each month, when Flanny's hosts a different brewery for their monthly tap takeovers. We can't promise everything will be available for your growler, but there's a 100 percent chance you'll be able to fill up with something awesome.

The choice of beer at most grocery stores comes down to color — would you like the boring, mass-produced lager that comes in a blue box or the boring, mass-produced lager that comes in a silver box? Not so at this Whole Foods location, where scores of bottles from Belgium, Germany, Canada, and every state in the union stand in refrigerated, fluorescent-lit glory. Beer nerd James Swann not only keeps the shelves stocked with some of the best craft brews around, but also holds weekly classes at the Watering Hole — the in-store beer bar — to educate and inebriate the masses.

Where else in the East Valley can you grab a bottle of Arizona Stronghold's Mandala Red, a six-pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, and a bottle of Crystal Head vodka, all without leaving the comfort of your vehicle? Sun Devil Liquors has one of the biggest selections of craft beer and an extensive selection of locally made wines and unique spirits. The staff knows more about booze than anyone we've ever meet and has awesome suggestions if you're into trying new things. The drive-thru is great for those lazy beer runs, but we find it hard to resist getting out of the car to peruse the packed shelves inside.

Getting out of the car to pick up a 12-pack of Coors sucks. You have to turn the car off and then walk into the store and, well, it's just a big pain in the behind (that we'd rather be sitting on while drinking). Luckily, someone had the genius idea to sell booze from the window of his store. Family-owned and -operated Henry's Liquor has been around for more than a decade, selling spirits, beer, and wine for much cheaper prices than their drive-thru competitors. The store itself is a little rough around the edges, but the staff is extremely friendly. If you choose to get out of your car, you'll find the the store's interior to be kempt and organized. Henry's has a decent selection of wine, but you're better off sticking to booze.

Ted Roundy

Much like the wide-eyed crew of kiddos who won golden tickets into Willy Wonka's colorful world, shoppers' jaws drop (and there might be some incidental drool) when they walk into Smeeks. And that's for good reason. To the very likely chagrin of Valley dentists, the small Medlock Plaza candy shop offers crave-worthy goodies including lollipops nearly the size of dinner plates, vegan chocolate bars, and such handmade treats as campfire marshmallows and salted caramels. Those really looking to recapture their childhood also can indulge in the novelty toy selection of yo-yos, Shrinky Dinks, and bouncy balls. Document your sugar rush with the old-fashioned photo booth in the shop's back corner — it's owner Georganne Bryant's favorite part of the store.

Magnum's may not be in the classiest part of town, but what the Valley's premier cigar lounge lacks in location, it makes up for in selection. The upscale shop carries more than 1,000 different varieties of imported cigars in its 450-square-foot walk-in humidor. Don't know anything about cigars? That's okay. Magnum's has cigar aficionados on staff who will walk you through the mind-numbingly huge menu to help you choose the perfect stogie. And Magnum's doesn't stop at cigars — the lounge stocks 350 different kinds of single malt scotch, hundreds of different beers, an extensive selection of wine by the bottle and by the glass, and even has a mixologist on hand creating classic and unique cocktails. The atmosphere is modeled after speakeasies of the 1930s, with a true lounge ambiance and relaxed vibe. Suit and tie are optional, but try not to look like you just came from the Goodwill next door.

When The Headquarters first expanded into the longtime location of neighboring Eastside Records, we instantly had pangs of nostalgia for the independent music store. But the expansion has only made the head shop bigger and better for locals looking to light up their lives. And now that the "records" portion of the sign that read "smokeshop records" is removed, that yearning for the past is cleared too quickly. That's because the store's selection of glass gear and rolling papers will satisfy serious and silly smokers alike — with well-versed staffers all too eager to assist them in their inhaling endeavors.

Best Hydroponic Growing Supplies Store


With all this talk of medical-marijuana, new grow shops have sprung up in the Valley like seedlings. weGrow's a California transplant, having started with a store in Sacramento before spreading to Phoenix. In January, the franchise opened another location in Washington, D.C. The Phoenix store is huge, inhabiting a former warehouse. The grow lights, bottles of fertilizers and nutrients, and hydroponics trays don't take up the whole space; the store has a large variety of products. Pot patients will appreciate the running marijuana theme at weGrow, from the video games on a TV surrounded by couches to the posters with growing tips, including how drying pot increases its psychoactive compounds. A doctor who writes medical-marijuana recommendations is located in the same building, and farmers markets — which sometimes feature patients exchanging pot with other patients — take place periodically in the parking lot. After the dispensaries open, forcing patients and caregivers to give up their home-grows, many of the Valley's hydro shops will wither and disappear. weGrow seems to be dug in for the long haul.

Somehow, this incredible nursery in West Valley has stayed under the radar for the past 11 years. If you're looking for hearty plants for a front or backyard makeover, the handsome nursery stocks everything you need to spruce up your land, from citrus trees to hip succulents to high-quality fertilizers and seeds. Jackrabbit will even deliver your new green babies and plant them for you if you're afraid (or too lazy) to do it yourself. The family-owned business has more than 30 years' experience working with and caring for Southwest plants. Ask them anything regarding plant care, and they'll know the answer. And if they don't, they'll look it up for you.

Best Antique Shop for Gardening Supplies


We didn't know we needed a vintage hand rake until we saw a nicely weathered green one hanging on the wall at Qcumberz, a longtime favorite of local antique fans. We bought it and, as we were leaving, the nice guy behind the counter mentioned that he had several similar rakes and hoes and gardening tools, as well — and suddenly, a new collection was born.

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