Partying Hard on Mill Avenue

It’s Friday, and you need to put the week (and especially the memory of that lousy Psych 101 exam score) behind you. Mill Avenue beckons.

Will you start on the patio at The Handlebar? You will, because you’re trying to be pandemic-conscious but also because you like to start slow, with a couple of cold brews, and the Handlebar beer menu is impressive. The sausage sandwich at the next table looks tasty, but it’s too early in the evening for food. Maybe at the next stop.

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It never fails. Every weekend night, a crush of clubgoers invade Scottsdale's bar-heavy entertainment district by the thousands to drink, dance, and debauch. Typically, the destination for this roving horde of 21-to-35 party monsters is the intersection of Saddlebag Trail and Indian Plaza. This T-shaped crossroads is a nightlife epicenter of the Valley: There are a dozen hotspots within stumbling distance of each other, each with its own vibe, DJ selection, and amenities. Along Indian Plaza, there's a posh nightclub (Pretty Please) next to a beer garden (Bottled Blonde) next to a tequila-and-tacos joint (Casa Amigos) topped with a boutique bowling alley (Skylanes) across from a pool party haven (Maya). Over on Saddlebag Trail, hip-hop hub INTL, country bar Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, and open-air dance club Hi-Fi compete for attention spans. The scene is chaotic, bordering on shitshow territory, and Scottsdale Police usually block off both streets to traffic, so forget about rolling up in your ride. Stick with those speedy golf carts instead to get you to and from the madness.

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