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.

Martini Ranch

Martini Ranch's upstairs Shaker Room is aptly named, considering the vast amount of hip-shimmying and rump-bumping that gets unleashed between its walls on weekends. The most eye-catching booty shakers in the place, however, typically are the go-go girls prancing on the bar, steel boxes, or any of five different stripper poles. The leggy, scantily clad dancers and their sexy moves are often the center of attention (and the stars of hastily shot cell phone videos) during the four nights they perform. At the all-ages dance party, for instance, the girls of Platinum Entertainment sport LED-laden brassieres and spangly belts and boots that glimmer in the colored lights at the off-the-chain all-ages dance party put on by DJ Slippe. During Retox Sundays, however, it's like go-go's gone wild as they'll squat down to drizzle booze into mouths or allow dudes to get in a free spank or two while friends record the scene. Hope your girlfriend doesn't see it all on YouTube.

Candy Store Show Lounge

The sweet strip club thrills doled out at The Candy Store pack much more of a kick than your average sugar buzz — and it's almost as inexpensive. The North Phoenix topless showclub charges only $5 to get in after 6 p.m. nightly (with no cover on Sundays), various drink deals are offered throughout the week, and there's a coupon for a $2 beer or well cocktail on its website. It's one of the reasons we keep coming back, since it allows us much more green to devote to all of the club's choice selection of eye candy, which is one of its other pluses. Though stacked and silicone-enhanced dancers are among its roster, most of the girls here are of the naturally endowed variety, including a couple pulling off sultry femme fatale or Suicide Girls looks with numerous tats or Bettie Page bangs. It adds to the throwback vibe of the Candy Store (which opened in 1988 and is one of the oldest clubs in town), as does all its copious neon lights and spotlessly clean but enjoyably divey charm. Its VIP areas are quite swanky-looking; however, you'll have to pay a little extra for that particular privilege.

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.

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