It's not much of a mystery which particular team Friday's Front Row rallies behind, considering it's heavy on Sedona Red décor, teeming with Arizona Diamondbacks ephemera, and, uh, located inside Chase Field. The latter fact facilitates its most obvious amenity (and biggest draw): giving folks opportunities to catch the D-backs in action during their 81 home games each year. Setting aside that, and the fact it's part of the Friday's chain, it offers more than just epic views from its left-field location of either the cavernous stadium or the boys of summer playing with their balls. Eye-catching shadowbox displays detail the intricate manufacturing process of baseball mitts, signed sports memorabilia dots the walls, and there are 50 high-def televisions about.

The sizable bar has more than a dozen different tap handles (including Camelback IPA from the Phoenix Ale Brewery) and a decent pour for a chain establishment. And if you're sitting in the booths, tables, and patios set aside for game-day viewing (which require a ticket purchase, whereas other seating is free), there's a chance you'll catch more than just a buzz if a game's going. According to servers, well-hit Rawlings sometimes grace the place, like when a Mark McGwire homer slammed into the exterior sign in 1999. "You gotta keep your head on a swivel sometimes," one jokes. Consider hitting up the team shop for a helmet before your visit, just in case.

Red Embers Bar & Grill at Uptown Alley
Jessica Obert

If the yardstick of any sports bar ultimately is the size, quality, and visibility of its screens, then Red Embers is the heavyweight champion of the West Valley. Most everyone else? Mere 90-pound weaklings when compared to this upscale bar and grill inside Surprise's labyrinthine Uptown Alley entertainment complex (read: bowling alley on steroids). Though not a sports bar in the strictest sense, it rivals any jock joint with its fantastic wings, brew selection, and vast selection of screens, including the monstrous 20-by-15-foot projection HDTV. There aren't many craned necks or bad seats in the house as the titanic screen is the centerpiece of the Sports Theatre attached to Red Embers and is visible from practically anywhere in the place, as well as most of Uptown Alley (and maybe from Wickenburg). Perched in front are eight overstuffed chairs and a row of benches for up-close viewing. And mere steps away are a huge arcade, a circular lounge with pool and darts, and (of course) 40 bowling lanes. Kinda puts your neighborhood game-day hangout to shame, bro.

CK's Tavern & Grill

On game day in Ahwatukee, you'll find the serious sports fan at this friendly neighboorhood hub. It's easy to see why: about three-dozen flat-screen high-def TVs, subscriptions to all the major sports packages, a congenial atmosphere, a major-league selection of beers, and respectable bar-food options. In business for a nearly a decade, the family-run CK's also offers daily drink and food specials and live music on the weekends. If you can't actually attend the big game, then you'll discover CK's is the next best option.

Connolly's Sports Grill

Like North Phoenix itself, Connolly's Sports Grill might leave you with the subconscious urge to stretch out a little. It's not that it's big, just more open than you might be used to — an airy outparcel made artificially sports-bar-dark with blackout curtains. Well-spaced tables are all that stand between the entrance on one side and a well-stocked bar on the other; mounted on all four walls are big, clear TVs, seemingly one to a table. There might not be a lot of history or character in a North Phoenix outparcel, but that also means there's no history or character getting between you, your meal, and your favorite team.

Goldie's Sports Cafe

The best sports bar in Scottsdale doesn't look very much like a sports bar at all, which seems appropriate — from the outside, Goldies could easily be a trendy breakfast place or the kind of dentist's office that makes you worry about how much your filling is going to cost. Inside, things are a little more conventional, which is good — TVs everywhere (including a few comically large screens for special occasions), darts, pool, shuffleboard, and other ways of avoiding too much eye contact at halftime. It's all topped off with food you'll actually want to eat — they'll give you extremely hot Buffalo wings and nachos if that's what you're looking for, but their sandwiches and Huge Burgers (that's a name, not a judgment) lack the greasy, predigested feel you might be conditioned to reach for in the middle of a Suns game.

Lucky Break

The sports bar industry continues to attempt to redefine itself with establishments striving to offer more than cheap domestic beer in pitchers, pathetic frozen pizzas and wings, aging TVs, and boorish dudes in football jerseys. It's all about upscale these days. You know, a nice place, where you can feel comfortable watching the game in mixed company because some loudmouth isn't offending everyone in the joint with his drunken color-commentating. At Lucky Break, the food is certainly a step up from most sports bar, the beer selection (lots of local and national craft brews) is exceptional, the room clean and tastefully appointed, and the giant flat-screen TVs plentiful. In fact, there isn't a bad seat in the house if you absolutely, positively can't miss one second of action in the game.

The Stadium Club

The jock and nerd crowds supposedly don't mix well, right? Maybe only in hackneyed movies, bro, because things are a bit different at the Stadium Club. The brainiac brigade and sports nuts seem to get along like peas and carrots whenever the twice-weekly Team Trivia competitions on Wednesdays and Fridays coincide with some can't-miss game airing on the two-dozen high-end televisions. (And nary a swirly takes place.) Plus, there always seems to be a slew of karaoke dorks in attendance ready to make like Kid Rock or Rhianna. The sing-along sessions, taking place six times a week, seemingly are the preferred sport at the Chandler joint (despite its status as both a Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills bar), given the number of people who turn out and cheer along for those who stay on key or get completely wild wielding the microphone, like one dude's over-the-top mimicry of Maroon 5. He didn't have any moves like Jagger, but he was still entertaining to watch.

Mill Cue Club

Bull Shooters comes by its Best Pool Hall crown in one obvious way — it boasts 44 tables, and they're all better maintained than the sad one that sits moldering all alone in the average bar. But tables aside, this place'll keep you around between games with its grasp of all the other ways people who would go someplace with 44 pool tables might want to entertain themselves. That means copious amounts of darts, TVs, the occasional poker game, and — if you're not afraid of affecting your trick shots — lots of cheap beer. If you're an expert, Bull Shooters is big enough and serious enough that you'll always be able to find a table. If you're a terrified newbie, Bull Shooters is big enough that you'll probably be able to find a table far enough out of sight that nobody can see the way you're holding the cue.

Taking a drag at Hazelwood's isn't much of a drag, since the 2,000-square-foot smoking patio's a fairly pleasant place. A gigantic metal awning cloisters things from harsh sunlight, while the shoulder-high cement fence dampens the traffic noise from Indian School Road. Several ceiling fans keep the fresh air circulating, and strategically placed air conditioners and heat lamps make temperatures tolerable, depending on the season. A ring of six HD screens hangs from the ceiling, typically tuned to whatever big game is happening at that particular moment, while local folk and acoustic troubadours visit the corner stage Sunday and Wednesday nights. And there's always free poker every Sunday and Monday evening.

BS West
Benjamin Leatherman

There's nary a trace of body fat to be seen gracing the chiseled shapes of BS West's hunky crew of go-go boys. It's to be expected, considering that these musclebound specimens of hunkitude not only practically live at the gym but get in upwards of four hours of hardcore cardio shaking their nearly naked moneymakers during twice-weekly appearances at the Scottsdale gay bar. And believe us, the four to five body-painted dancers who appear on Wednesday and Saturday nights do indeed make mad bank, as evidenced by the wads of dollars stuffed into their revealing low-rise briefs by the extremely appreciative gay men and straight women eager for a big slice of beefcake. The go-go boys reward such generosity with a few suggestive pelvic thrusts in the patron's direction while perched atop their platform, each timed perfectly with the high-energy beats laid down by DJs. It's one of several moves in their respective repertoires — along with hip-shaking, strutting, and fist-pumping — and often results in wide eyes and big smiles because of the size of their, um . . . Let's say that rock-hard abs and bulging biceps aren't their only endowments and just leave it at that.

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