Elite Cabaret Gentleman's Club at 910 Live
Jessica Obert

You'd be hard-pressed to find a single strip club in the Valley that doesn't feature rock 'n' roll blaring as exotic dancers bump and grind away. Elite Cabaret at 910 Live is no exception, as its music mix is heavy on classic jams from the likes of Gary Glitter, Cheap Trick, and The Doors. Thing is, this Tempe strip club will do you one better: There's an open-air concert space in the back hosting live rock gigs. Earlier this year, the proprietors of 910 Live transformed the interior of the nightclub and venue, which once served as infamous rock bar Boston's, into a ritzy topless club drenched in pink and purple hues and boasting multiple stages and swank furnishings. The live music moved outdoors, where cabanas and seating ring a 40-square-foot stage. Since the changeover, it's featured appearances from rock icons like George Lynch of Dokken, who performed in April, and former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock and Blondie drummer Clem Burke's The International Swingers in May. Best of all, concert admission gets you into the cabaret, where you can have your own personal after-party.

Charlie's
New Times Archives

DJ Tsunami has a secret for getting things moving at places like Charlie's: "In an LGBT club," he tells us, "you target the males." And when largely young and decidedly fashionable gay guys mosey into the notorious cowboy-themed establishment during his late-night sets on Tuesdays and Saturdays, he rocks their bodies (and, thus, the party) with rhythmic pop, urban dance, and high-energy EDM. And thus he also rocks the derrieres of lesbians, straights, drag queens, and gay vaqueros alongside them on the rustic dance floor and scattered throughout the sprawling estate, via the clubwide sound system. Mission accomplished. Tsunami isn't the only one keeping things energetic at Charlie's, as its colorfully diverse nightly offerings also include DJ Mode dropping Top 40 and Latin on Thursdays, go-go boys on Sundays, and various down-home dance lessons and country nights throughout the week. Best of all, the taquería next door also stays open until 3 a.m. on weeknights and 4:30 a.m. on weekends, should another trip to Jenny's down the road seem blasé.

Nu Towne Saloon
Benjamin Leatherman

Nu-Towne Saloon is sort of a scrappy place, and we're not saying that because of all the rough trade that stops by. This East Phoenix gay bar landmark and grand dame of the scene first opened near the equally historic Tovrea Castle in 1971 and has survived a lot of drama throughout its four-decade lifespan. We're talking recessions, the fickleness of LGBT crowds, and even a massive fire that completely wiped out its interior in 2010. Its proprietors reopened the place a year or so later after restoring the antique-heavy and memorabilia-laden décor of its signature kitschy digs to how things looked before, including the seven-foot plaster rooster statue (insert jokes here, if you must). And the crowd that considers the place its home away from home is still largely male, including bears of every size and their admirers, leather daddies visiting during the twice-weekly beer busts, and dudes looking for some, um, companionship and $1.50 shot specials during the long-running "Cruise Night" on Fridays. Hell, if nuclear war were ever to break out, we're sure Nu-Towne would somehow survive and continue to have the night, despite all the fallout.

Zoan

At Zoan, the drinks are strong, the social scene is busy, and the thrills come cheap. Rhonda Walden, longtime owner of this lesbian-oriented Melrose Curve mainstay, keeps her die-hards and girl groupies happy with daily drink specials and free entertainment four nights a week, including open mic on Mondays and karaoke on Wednesdays. Even livelier times, however, come on the weekends with drag kings, DJs spinning hip-hop and pop, or the notorious theme parties like the "White Trash Nation" or "Come Get Lei'd" affairs. Nobody sits alone for long during such revelry, and no one pays more than $5 to get in. Thing is, Zoan's varied clientele of glamazons, bois, and fembots always seem to do a pretty good job of entertaining themselves too, thank you very much, be it dancing and grinding in the colorful main room to beats or trading cheeky gossip in the posh smoking lounge, where they've spied Mercury star Brittney Griner around town.

Best Place to Find a One-Night Stand

The Mint

The Mint

Daft Punk's newest chart-scorcher, "Get Lucky," gets bumped almost hourly at The Mint, and it's a rather fitting anthem for this Old Town ultra-lounge's libertine vibe. Its busy social rites and the packed milieu of its weekend scene offer ample opportunities for those on the prowl, whether they're looking for some face time or something entirely more carnal. After all, hooking up essentially is a numbers game, right? The Mint's 12 signature cocktails, including the Gold Digger Bubbles and Life Savings Martini, make for some powerful social lubricants, and its crowded patio allows for many easy encounters. Or you could try climbing alongside one of the many ladies dancing on the furniture. Either way, should your pickup artist kung fu prove strong, a few darkened nooks and curtain-covered cabanas provide enough seclusion for private conversations or whatever happens next.

Royale Lounge
Benjamin Leatherman

If things look a little, ahem, cleaner than usual inside the Royale, it's because some changes have been taking place over the past year. Proprietor Mark Bolin, who also owns the equally iconic Do Drop Inn and Wanderin, sprung for new vinyl fixtures around the bar, ditched that old hot nuts dispenser (gasp), and had his staff remove the inch of dust covering all the liquor bottles. Feel free to relax, as everything else you love about the landmark 16th Street dive remains unchanged: the stained pressboard walls, ripped and tattered carpet (said to be as old as the bar itself), and the dented vending machines dispensing condoms with such brand names as "Temptation" or "Hugger" in the men's john. And just because Bolin spruced the place up and began serving cans of San Tan Brewery craft beer doesn't mean he's lost touch with his common man or their price bracket. Draft pints are still $2.50 apiece, Jell-O shots can be had for a buck, and microwaved bar snacks won't run you more than a fiver, allowing Royale's regulars to fill up on brews and belly-bomber eats without emptying their wallets.

Chopper John's
New Times Archives

Motorcycle aficionado John McCormick bought the former home of Warsaw Wally's and 26th Street Blues Bar in 2008 and quickly turned it into an amiable drinking hole. It's in the darkened black-and-red environs where urbane 20-somethings and downtown rocker types comfortably rub shoulders with hard-partying mustachioed bikers and neighborhood barflies. The diverse crowd is just one of many appealing elements of Chopper John's. There's also a great patio for al fresco imbibing, a couple of pool tables, free popcorn, and free live music many nights of the week and always on weekends by out-of-town bands such as Bob Log III and the Shakers and local favorites like Pat Roberts and the Heymakers, as well as various harder-rocking acts like Guns N' Roses tribute Recipe for Disaster. And during Arizona Bike Week, Chopper John's is home to one of the most colorful, booze-soaked scenes this side of Sturgis.

Seamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub & Restaurant
Jacob Tyler Dunn

The convivial vibe at this venerable downtown Irish pub is as intoxicating as the surfeit of firewater behind the antique wooden bar — and just as potent. Laughter and cheery banter spill from Seamus McCaffrey's pub's patio and perpetually open door onto Monroe Street on an almost nightly basis, getting louder as said spirits (including its wealth of imported U.K. brews, Irish whiskeys, and scotches) are quaffed. It's plenty lively, not to be missed, and is the sort of nightly craic that's been taking place at the pub since its beginnings two decades ago. We're fans of the $4 Imperial pints at happy hour, the traditional Irish offerings on the menu, and the social mix of post-work drinkers, ragamuffin artists, college preps, older professionals, younger punks, and other downtowners. The clientele is as colorful as those porcelain leprechaun statues along its walls.

Cactus Jack's
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Everything seems bigger at Cactus Jack's, which is one of its many charms. Well drinks come in pint glasses and aren't stingy on booze, daily happy hour food and alcohol deals offer big-time savings, and the $3.99 brats served on Saturdays are downright hefty. Plus, the digs at this Ahwatukee neighborhood bar not only are spacious but loaded with distractions aplenty, including felt-covered tables for Texas Hold'em sessions, basketball and bowling games, ping-pong, dart machines, and one of the longest shuffleboard tables we've ever seen. So roomy is that particular corner of the bar that it's usually where local bands and musicians perform during Friday night shows, including local blues guitarist Carvin Jones, who's been known to strut around venues while wailing away on his six-string. He'd better bring along one of his extra-long guitar cables.

An amiable neighborhood spot with the soul of a dive bar, Tony's offers its patrons the best of both worlds with heavyweight pours, sporty thrills, and an impressive (for a gin joint, that is) beer selection. And though the Glendale favorite features a spit-and-polish vibe, new-ish carpet, and faux brick from a remodel a few years back, its cocktail lounge roots are still evident via all the pressboard wood paneling peeking out, photos of regulars taped to cracked mirrors, and its $2.50 PBR tallboy cans. It ain't the only trendy brew getting snatched up for cheap by the younger-skewing crowd (which includes students from the Thunderbird School of Global Management across the street), as pints of Stella, Rolling Rock, and Goose Island IPA are $3 apiece, and Peroni and Guinness are among the bottled imports and domestics. Check the whiteboards for other specials (like $3.75 Seagrams Bombers) and apply any dollars saved toward a game of pool, which has a major following here, as evidenced by a wall heavy on league plaques. Should some shark run the table on you, there's an ATM over in one corner.

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