Casey Moore's Oyster House
Tom Carlson

The afternoon temperature could be well beyond 100 degrees, but that won't deter many from posting up on the wraparound patio at Casey Moore's Oyster House. The Tempe bar and eatery, but mostly bar, is a go-to for many Tempeans — either for pregame, post-game, or the game. And for many, the open-air seating and back bar of Casey's is a haven for a couple of reasons. You can drink, order food, bring your dog till 5 p.m., and smoke 'em if you got 'em — even if you have to bum one (no judgment). And you can see the little illuminated cherries, especially at night, flying around as someone recounts a hopefully hilarious story after a couple of tall cold ones.

Palo Verde Lounge
Jacob Tyler Dunn

There are dive bars, and then there's the Palo Verde in Tempe. A place where obnoxious graffiti covers both restrooms, the default aroma is a hybrid of body odor and old cigarettes, and filth is caked on every surface like stucco on a tract home. Frankly, we wouldn't change a single thing about the Dirty Verde. It's a scrappy little shithole (and we say that with love) that's been a go-to spot for slumming for several decades now. The drinks are cheap and sometimes amusingly named (like the "Hammjob," for instance), hard-rock shows and fun DJ nights happen frequently, and its mix of neighborhood regulars and the young and hip equals nonstop people-watching. Plus, flushing the men's room toilet involves tugging on a Rube Goldberg-like setup consisting of pulleys, bandanas, and a dog leash. The PV might be skeevy, but she's always a good time.

Big Daddy's Sports Lounge

Big Daddy's was everything a sports bar should be: The beer was cold, the lighting dim, the TVs always on. There was vinyl upholstery on the booths, mismatched chairs at the tables, and karaoke every Saturday night. Then, it almost went away last summer after more than 30 years in north Phoenix. Dave "Big Daddy" Smith retired and sold his beloved Sunnyslope neighborhood joint. Apparently, the new owners tried to turn it into yet another barbecue eatery, eschewing the expansive menu of burgers, wings, pizzas, hot dogs, deep-fried everything, and, oh, those Wisconsin cheese curds that had made Big Daddy's the place to stuff your face during big games and horse racing (yes, it has off-track-betting windows, too). But never fear. Like the Cleveland Browns, whose diehard fans make their home there every Sunday, Big Daddy's is back. Smith came off the sidelines and regained control last January, restoring everything as it was, even re-hanging his collection of sports memorabilia that had been removed from the walls. Not that Big Daddy's is totally a creature of the 20th century. You can now order online for pickup or delivery. So if you don't like to watch the game outside the comfort of your man cave, you can have the Big Daddy's Special, a 26-inch pizza and 50 wings, brought to your front door.

It's hard to describe Phoenix's hottest tiki bar without sounding like Stefon from Saturday Night Live, but this place has everything: a random assortment of bird cages, giant tiki statues, and a long, wandering menu that tells the story of Captain John Mallory and his first mate, Robert Louis Henderson III. Rich Furnari and Jason Asher are back, and this time, they're nautical. Located in an old oil bay beneath Sip Coffee & Beer Garage, this 500-square-foot, reservations-recommended cocktail lounge features dozens of specialty drinks and the somewhat schizophrenic ambiance of being on the lower deck of a ship making its way through the jungle. The 34-seat underground bar occasionally erupts with the sounds of thunderclaps, as the lights mimic lightning and the screens inside the portholes along the walls flood with rain. Otherwise, the portholes mostly display passing islands, exchanges of cannon fire with enemy ships, and scenes of sunsets, while the music is mostly jungle noises peppered with jazz, although that may be something pirates do after last call to get people back above deck.

Just like Mario under the influence of a magic mushroom, the Valley's game-bar scene is undergoing a major growth spurt. In the months ahead, a number of geek-friendly watering holes equipped with a multitude of arcade, pinball, console, and board games will all debut. And each would be wise to take some tips and tricks from The Grid in Mesa, which does the game-bar concept right. Its two rooms are filled with glowing screens and feature gaming action of every sort, ranging from classic systems at each table to various joystick favorites like Bump 'n' Jump and Mortal Kombat 4. Even the stage, which hosts live music and DJs on weekends and a weekly Rock Band session every Monday night, is dotted with HDTVs broadcasting video game footage. Meanwhile, The Grid also has giant Jenga, foosball, an air hockey table, pinball machines, and tall bookshelves stacked with board games. Its lineup of several dozen brews available in bottles, cans, or on tap is just as staggering, and worth consulting if you need something to dull the pain of getting pwned at Fortnite.

Char's Has the Blues

A staple nightlife spot of the Melrose District, the roadhouse-style Char's Has the Blues is part bar and part wedding reception, as there's live music every night here. There's usually dancing and a steady flow of drinks, too. It's totally dark inside, with the dimmest hint of red light guiding you to the restroom, your seat, or back to the bar, which also makes it the perfect blues club. Char's self-describes as being Phoenix's Home of the Blues, with in-house performances by Sir Harrison and Friends, as well as recurring jam sessions and touring blues artists. Char's claims its musicians play the best blues, R&B, soul, and funk the Valley has to offer — and there's a reason blues is named first.

Buffalo Chip Saloon
Lauren Cusimano

Music seeps through the door. It opens, and the band blasts. You cut past the tables — past the folks munching loaded tater tots and Tex-Mex egg rolls, folks rocking Stetson hats and jeans and even spurs. Bud Lights. Whiskeys. Waters. You push through the crowd to the night outside: bonfires, people everywhere, servers wheeling through the crowd, a bull ring in the near distance. And once you get your first drink, the raucous crowd starts to absorb you. Maybe you dance on the second stage, the one outside. Maybe you're already onto a second drink. In the end, it all flows to that bull ring — surrounded by teetering bleachers — where amateurs board live, hulking, fantastically pissed off animals and see how long they can stay on. And you remember the sights, sounds, and animals days and weeks later, as you're going about your work or maybe walking an urban world of glass and concrete. Getting out to the Buffalo Chip is experiencing the wildness left in our part of the West.

The Nash

The folks who run The Nash apparently are none too happy with New Times, because we reported that the jazz venue likely will be leaving its home on Roosevelt Row soon. Well, excuse us for stating the obvious. The purple-and-tin building on the corner of Roosevelt and First streets was purchased for $2.1 million. The Nash's lease was up in August. A nonprofit that doesn't have food service isn't going to be able to afford the rent needed to make the building profitable. Management even said it was already scouting new locations. Therefore, we refuse to apologize. But wherever The Nash ends up, we will continue to applaud its effort to keep jazz alive and thriving in Phoenix. Named for local drummer Lewis Nash, the club has earned a reputation well beyond Arizona. The Chicago-based jazz magazine DownBeat has included The Nash in its international jazz venue guide every year since 2014. The Nash doesn't just present music; it provides a robust lineup of educational programs through Jazz in Arizona, which promotes jazz appreciation and performance. So let us be clear: We love The Nash. Stick that in your horn and blow it.

If the sum total of your metal knowledge is limited to that Ozzy comp you bought on a whim or a handful of Metalocalypse episodes, allow us to clue you in. The multifaceted world of metal is rich with a diverse array of subgenres, each offering its own take, style, and hellacious hallmarks. And every week, you can hear many of these subgenres blaring inside Club Red, ranging from the speed, death, and technical variations of metal to more esoteric offerings like symphonic and djent. Over the last five years, the Mesa music venue has become a haven for heshers, thanks to its great sound system and metal-friendly staff. Touring acts from across the world (including such heavy hitters as Týr, Decrepit Birth, Psycroptic, and Fleshgod Apocalypse) have played there on the regular, while local bands often host mini-festivals or album release shows at Club Red. Plus, they've got free parking and an enormous lot where you can stash your sticker-clad ride before heading inside to throw hook'em horns to your black heart's content. Rock on.

The building that now houses The Rebel Lounge has been a vital piece of Phoenix's punk and metal scene since 1979 — that's 40 years of building a community based on blunt-force, pissed-off music. Then known as the Mason Jar, this small club ushered in a wave of punk and metal bands that not only inspired a whole network of alternative subgenres, but helped forge an entire lifestyle. In 2015, the Mason Jar was taken over by Psyko Steve Presents and renamed The Rebel Lounge. Subsequently, this change in power has only enriched the venue's reputation of being a hub and inherent champion of a scene that reaches far beyond just heavy music. Remember: Punk is a lifestyle. There are few places in the Phoenix area that have established themselves as a heavy-music safe house the way The Rebel Lounge has — and even fewer with such an impressive monthly calendar.

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