TT Roadhouse
Lauren Cusimano

Named for the Isle of Man motorcycle race, Roadhouse is a fitting title for this motorcycle and regular cycle neighborhood dive bar in south Scottsdale. There's a punk vibe inside the wood-paneled walls (one of them supporting a massive print of Brigitte Bardot) of the two-room hangout, and when owner Skoog and crew aren't hosting live shows or DJs, the jukebox is usually on full blast. Packed with punk, rock, punk rock, and lots of outlaw country, you'll typically hear jams from early AFI, NOFX, Hank III, The Pixies, Manic Hispanic, Agent Orange, Johnny Cash, and others. There are also quite a few punk and country compilations featuring everyone from Strung Out to Johnny Paycheck. You can also look forward to the high-end whiskey and craft beer at the bar, the custom-felt pool table, the shady smoking patio, and some of your new favorite bartenders and drinking buddies.

The Rock
Lauren Cusimano

Who puts the "eff you" in fun? The Rock. And we don't mean Dwayne Johnson. This Melrose Curve gay bar is a go-to for karaoke — and it's no slouch when it comes to drag shows and dance parties, either. On Monday nights, however, karaoke queens take over the small dive. You might not encounter would-be pro pop stars on the mic, and that's totally the point. Here, it's about enthusiasm, vodka cocktails, and not necessarily about showing off your wannabe Christina Aguilera pipes. Nobody's gonna be mad if you just so happen to belt out some flawless Whitney or Dolly. Same goes if you can't quite carry a Britney tune.

Ryan Rousseau is a man of few words and a whole lotta records. When the longtime rocker isn't fronting psych-punk outfit Destruction Unit (or one of his many other musical projects), chances are good you'll find him out and spinning select vinyl oddities at Valley Bar or The Womack under the moniker DJ Gila Man. Expect stoned psychedelic grooves, outer-space trips, and assorted far-out sounds when Rousseau mans the ones and twos. In other words? The Gila Man will serve up out-there shit that's probably playing nowhere else in town.

You might know Les Sias better as Les735 or simply DJ Les. Regardless, the Phoenix turntablist knows a thing or three about scratching. Sias showed off his mad spinning skills during the 2017 DMC Phoenix Regional DJ Battle at The Rebel Lounge. Let's just say he wowed the crowd while going head-to-head with the Southwest's most notable scratch kings, because Sias earned himself a spot at the DMC National DJ Battles, held in August at New York City's Highline Ballroom. Les took his tables on the road, and the trip marked the Valley DJ's second shot at competing at the national showdown, as he also competed back in 2013.

Valley Bar
Benjamin Leatherman

What is Elaine's fake phone number? Which Seinfeld episode title is the only one to not start with "The?" If you could possibly know the answer to these questions, your place is Seinfeld Trivia at Valley Bar. This free, basement-based competition is known as The Trivia Night About Absolutely Nothing, and they are right. What is Jerry's apartment number? You see? Team names are always fun, like "They're Real and They're Spectacular" and "Cherry Binaca," and prizes include everything from big stickers of Kramer and George to muffin tops and Junior Mints. Seinfeld Trivia is hosted by Emily The Lewis, and music is often provided by DJ Shane Kennedy. Craft cans are often a dollar off, and there is but one major rule: no phones.

Leave it to Anwar Newton and Dan Thomson to turn something called Literally the Worst Show Ever into literally one of the most talked-about events in downtown. The local comedians teamed up back in 2015 to launch the underground variety show, and they've been more or less selling out tickets ever since. Almost every month, Newton and Thomson take the stage with a live band and four comics of their choosing. What follows is two hours of well-planned unpredictability and entertainment. Get your tickets fast and grab a seat early, because Literally the Worst Show Ever is currently one of best ways to spend a Friday night.

Best Sports Bar
Courtesy photo

If sports bars are supposed to be large, dark rooms with wall-to-wall TV screens airing every game under the sun, and maybe a lengthy, Italian-themed menu of pizza, wings, subs, and beer, then Santisi Brothers in north central Phoenix knows how to satisfy. Set in the Bell Canyon Pavilions off Interstate 17, Santisi Brothers has more than 100 televisions and features the "Wide Wall of Sports" — meaning one wall alone has over 60 televisions (including 11 65-inch screens). This joint also runs every operation from fantasy football and paint nights to karaoke, poker, and a game room with pool tables and arcade cabinets. Of course, super-loud football games and fights are best paired with calzones, strombolis, and their famous garlic knots.

Hambone Sports Bar and Grill
Benjamin Leatherman

It's safe to say pool halls were once a hazy place where cigarette-smoking players were only cautious about not getting ash on the table's felt. That scene is part of a bygone era — in fact, if you ask us, there are far too few old-school pool halls in the Valley — except when it comes to the Hambone Sports Bar. This Mesa pool bar is technically a patio, so dress accordingly, and smoke 'em if you got 'em. Hambone doesn't have as many tables or rules as a full-on hall, but it makes up for it in character. Marked by the classic neon sign featuring a bow-tied laughing pig and promising dancing and cocktails (don't be fooled by the "grill" part of the sign, there isn't a menu), Hambone is said to date back to 1958. It currently holds five or more pool tables and features a jukebox, an X-rated claw machine, dancing, darts, arcade games, and of course, drinking and smoking.

Founded by local pool businessman Thomas Lopez, Slope Records has an old-school punk sensibility. You won't find modern indie rock or electronic pop — it's strictly raw, aggressive punk. Lopez grew up here, in west Phoenix, and his love of punk flourished here. The label is home to some modern bands, including scuzzy rockers Scorpion Vs. Tarantula, the garage gospel of The Christian Family, and the post-skate punk of The Father Figures, but it's big into the classic punk game, issuing records by Phoenix hardcore legend Exterminators, The Mighty Sphincter, and The Feederz, whose WWHD: What Would Hitler Do channels Trump-era paranoia via vintage punk rage.

The seminal shoegaze act Alison's Halo was founded in Tempe by couple Adam and Catharine Cooper and Lynn Anderson. (Alison was the name of the band's drum machine.) Though the group only released one 7-inch before moving on to other projects, a collection of Alison's Halo's recordings was released in 1998 and found tastemakers across the nation who've championed them as pioneers whom indie snobs oughta know. In 2017, Manufactured Recordings reissued that compilation, titled Eyedazzler, with a limited-edition CD, in digital form, and — for the first time ever — on vinyl. It's a spacey, noisy must-have, snob status notwithstanding.

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