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.

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra's lead singer, Camille Sledge, pulls off one helluva job. She's the vocalist and "leader of rituals" for the Valley band that's most likely to make you think — and make you shake it. No small feat, and one that's more awe-inducing still when a quick headcount reveals that the band she helms features a whopping 16 members. But commanding an audience's attention with her voice kinda runs in the fam. You might've heard of Sister Sledge? Yeah, that essential Philly soul trio comprised her mom, Debbie, and aunts.

Ali Tomineek has no apologies. He made that clear on his 2016 mixtape I Ain't Sorry. What the Arizona-born independent rapper does have? A cool 100,000 YouTube followers who keep tabs on the speed demon's latest flows. He first found an audience while attending Peoria High School, rapping curse-free verses during the school's video announcements. He's taken that vibe worldwide to a massive audience (Tomineek says one of his videos hit a million views before it was hacked) he's dubbed the 31 Squad. In May 2017, Tomineek released his debut full-length record, #FridayFlow, snagged a top spot on Billboard's Heatseekers Mountain chart, and made an appearance on local hip-hop radio haven The Beatlocker.

Let's get to the point, shall we? The Darts fucking rock — and deliver on the promise to "make your head slam and your feet shake." The garage-psych band of badass women have the albums to prove it. That's two EPs, to be exact, and one LP. Nicole Laurenne (formerly of Love Me Nots and Motobunny), Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon), Christina Nunez (Love Me Nots), and Rikki Styxx (Dollyrots) took the band's noisy, sexy songs on tour for the summer — and through Europe. But the girls are back in town, and recently dropped Me.Ow, a full-length debut that was recorded by Bob Hoag and pressed on pink vinyl.

The Trunk Space

Hometown folk-punk heroes AJJ have been at it for years now. To celebrate a decade of the band's seminal record, People Who Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World, founding members Ben Gallaty and Sean Bonnette played not one, but five sold-out concerts at downtown DIY venue The Trunk Space. Besides a sweaty good time, the duo formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad played the album front to back — and tossed in requests from the audience, who knew every single word. A testament to both the venue and hardworking rockers (who tour relentlessly and are now signed to Asian Man Records), the packed shows are proof that people in Phoenix love their local bands. The feeling's mutual.

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