Best Lesbian Bar 2016 | The Cash Nightclub & Lounge | Fiesta | Phoenix

 With a giant dance floor, full bar, plenty of space to mingle, and killer happy hour discounts, there's a reason the Cash Nightclub & Lounge is a favorite hangout spot for the local gay and lesbian community. The vibe is laid-back, the decor is cowboy-western, and the staff and customers are friendly and welcoming. On top of that, there's something fun to do there each night of the week. From free line-dancing classes, to karaoke, dance parties with local DJs, and even the occasional painting class (with drinks, of course), the Cash Nightclub & Lounge is the perfect place to go out dancing with a group of friends or to head out on a solo adventure to meet new people.

Lauren Cusimano

An Arizona drag icon, Barbra Seville has been around for a while — but we won't say how long. She's hosted a number of shows in town, mainly in The Rock's showroom in central Phoenix. The weekly Girlie Show — Fridays at 10 p.m. — is a treasure among them, as Seville will cap off your week with raucous lip-sync performances, fantastic comedic timing, and of course, some light-to-hysterical ribbing of the audience. She's got the range, and it goes from impersonating Sue Sylvester from Glee to Gwen Stefani to Julie Brown — singer of that dark 1980s jam, "Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun." Each Girlie Show features a few guests, including other Phoenix drag stars like Tyga Tonic and Kayla Krawford, and if you miss the Friday night show, Seville also hosts The Barbra Seville Show at The Rock on Saturdays at 10 p.m. Reservations for bachelorette parties, special events, and groups of five or more are recommended.

Part of the same empire that includes the storied Tempe Improv across town, Stand Up Live is located in the CityScape complex in downtown Phoenix, and the club brings in a roster cool enough to justify that whole drink-minimum thing. Featuring acts like Bill Bellamy, the Dan Band, JB Smoove, and podcasting titan (and Barack Obama interviewer) Marc Maron, Stand Up Live is comfortable hosting alternative comedy types and big names alike, and it's not all touring comics: Local up-and-comers also take the stage to work out new bits, refine their craft, and see what jokes fly and which ones sink. 

Part old-school lounge, part sports bar, part patio hangout, and part outdoor music venue, Shady Park has become a go-to spot for Tempe locals and those seeking some fun on Mill Avenue toward the end of the week. Shady Park's dog-friendly, tree-laden back patio includes a full bar, plenty of seating, a weatherproof sound system, and a small stage backed with a large projector screen. Scott Price, also the owner of C.A.S.A. SunBa a little farther north on Mill, and the Shady Park crew have hosted live bands, DJs, pizza parties, the monthly Shady AF Comedy Night, and, we're sure, more to come.

Lauren Cusimano

If you'd like to spend time soaking up Scottsdale's nightlife scene, but don't really go for the DJ-spun atmosphere of dance clubs or the intimidating check at the finish of a high-end meal, then Pattie's First Avenue Lounge is for you — you know, the place with all the dollar bills stuck to the wall. This establishment is a dive to some and a gem to others, but there's one thing everyone can agree on: It has a killer ping-pong table. Paddles and balls are provided, and the bartender is all of 10 feet away. The ping-pong table at Pattie's is set up in the covered patio area, so though you feel like you're indoors, smoking is allowed, and so are dogs. So light up, grab a sweaty cocktail, and get ready to serve.

Were one inspired, it would be perfectly easy to spend an entire evening just hanging around the Danelle Plaza on the corner of Southern and Mill avenues. Start off the night browsing records at the Double Nickels collective, grab a coffee at 51 West, take down a couple of craft whiskeys at Yucca Tap Room, and then cross the parking lot over to Q & Brew, the pool hall that has proudly stood for 27 years. There are snacks and pinball, but the main draw is the plentiful pool tables and a (usually packed) smoking table. You might see pool leagues competing or ASU students on a first date, all soundtracked by the familiar crack of the cue against balls and curses over missed shots.

You're out for karaoke, it's finally your turn, and you're not sure whether you should stay seated when handed the microphone or stand awkwardly next to your table and friends — you know, for your diaphragm's sake. Not the case at Monkey Pants Bar & Grill, found in the Huntington Square Shopping Center at Southern and Mill avenues in Tempe. They have a stage — complete with a cozy living room backdrop and two microphones with stands — and you're to get up there when your name is called. Feel the hot lights like a real star during karaoke on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 8 p.m. to close — which includes the infamous One O'Clock Shirtless Shot. And while you wait, there's booze, food, and plenty of regulars belting out everything from Cyndi Lauper to Notorious B.I.G. to Rocky Horror Picture Show classics and, of course, "Love Shack."

Jennifer Goldberg

We're sure you could find someone out there who might wish the Shady's staff would toss some hit makers into the mix — maybe that Timberlake song from Trolls, or something from twenty one pilots, or whatever. But here's the thing: You can hear those songs anywhere, from the grocery store to your local bar. The mix at Shady's, featuring weirdo blues, pub rock, two-tone ska, and off-kilter indie rock, is one-of-a-kind, a selection curated especially by the staff, and the CDs stocked there (that's right, it's a real jukebox, not one of those digital ones) reflects uniquely on the place. It's singular, and in a day and age where you're likely to hear the same songs overhead most everywhere (and for real, we like "One Dance" a lot, too!) the dedication represented by the Shady's jukebox is a thing of stubborn, loving glory.

Mike Madriaga

Next time you're at the Tempe location of Cornish Pasty on Hardy and University drives, look — or listen — for the glowing red room emitting sinister-sounding music, and sometimes, characters. That would be the Beast, and in there you'll find a full bar, pool tables, dartboards, band-sticker-laden booths and high tops, the occasional dance party, and one fantastic jukebox. Slide off your bar stool for a quick trip to that radiant piece of machinery over by the pool tables, and you'll find a contraption teeming with speed metal, thrash, some hardcore punk, and some dark classics. A taste of what you'll find in the Beast's jukebox? Dio, Megadeth, early Metallica, Venom, and more.  

What separates a good DJ from a great DJ? Possessing some actual talent helps, as does a tireless work ethic, single-minded focus, and the wherewithal to diligently pursue your goals; in short, the same personality traits that have helped Benjamin Cutswell succeed. Over the last 18 years, DJing has pretty much been his sole purpose in life. As a matter of fact, it's akin to an obsession. "My whole life is about DJing, everything I do," he says. "I'm completely consumed." Since getting his hands on some secondhand turntables at age 14, it's been a nonstop grind of constant practicing, finding music, creating mixes, networking, and, of course, performing. And there aren't many joints in the Valley where Cutswell, who spins an open format during his sets, hasn't gigged. All this dedication has paid off considerably, as he's in demand at hotspots like Cake in Scottsdale, as well as both locations of El Hefe. Red Bull also taps him to DJ their sporting events, while the jocks at Adidas fly him out to the NBA All-Star Game's host city each year to work after-parties. In the words of Drake, he started from the bottom, now he's here.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of