Once upon a time, Angelo's Lounge must have been quite a bar. All the signs of past success are there: the dusty disco lights, a waterless fountain, woodland scene wallpaper stained gray with smoke. Customers still shoot pool and play "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" on the jukebox, but the main draw to the place is the same as it has been for three decades: Mama Lita, Angelo's 69-year-old bartender. Mama, as she prefers to be called, holds court with regulars from behind the expansive bar, shuffling down to one end to check on the television, back to the other to refill drinks or swap out ashtrays. Mama's from Greece, she'll tell you. Her husband Angelo brought her here and they ran the place together from 1973 until Angelo's health interfered. Lita's attentive and friendly, and it's her robust sense of humor that makes Angelo's Lounge a place one wants to linger -- well, that and the stiff drinks she pours.

Poor hippies. Mill Avenue used to be a place where patchouli and sage were always in the air and the irie goodwill ran wild. Now, it would be a miracle to find so much as a drum circle that wasn't broken up by the cops in five minutes. Fortunately for the city's disgruntled Deadheads, dread heads, parrot heads and maybe even a few redheads, there's the Sail Inn. This place has taken its nautical theme and run with it. The main dining area has shiplike wood paneling and a Day-Glo aquarium mural decorating the wall behind the stage. There's Phish on the jukebox and $5 beer in generous-size pitchers. And the live music that ranges from bluegrass to reggae to Grateful Dead covers to a sorta Middle Eastern-influenced group called Maruma is perfect for dancing in long twirly skirts or shaking dreadlocks to the beat.

Irish pubs in the U.S. like to brag about their "authenticity" -- Guinness on tap and a bartender in a silly cap with a pompom. Luckily, the Valley's Irish pubs are a little more true to themselves than most. For atmosphere, we'll take Fibber Magee's. The wooden floor creaks like the ships used during the potato famine; stained-glass windows advertise the homeland's beers. Penciled renditions of James Joyce and an ancient Irish bicycle sit on the walls. On packed Friday and Saturday nights, the bar offers music, mostly from bands that play traditional Irish folk tunes, i.e., the most festive drinking music on Earth. The prevailing spirit unleashes what the Irish call craic, an insatiable desire to be merry, lit and carefree.

Of course, we mean "dive" in the most affectionate sense of the word. Chez Nous is a Phoenix institution because it's so darn welcoming -- as unpretentious as it gets, and that applies to the drink prices, too. Frankly, it's impossible to bar hop once you stop by here, because you'll find no reason to venture elsewhere. It could be high noon outside, but it's always a nighttime adventure inside the dimly lighted bar. As the house band plays favorite funk hits, the minuscule dance floor gets packed with the most diverse, jubilant crowd in town. Whether you're dressed up or down, nursing a martini or knocking back beers, you'll fit right in at Chez Nous.

Readers' Choice: Chez Nous

Girls have always been about having fun. The Biz is a cornerstone of the gay community that has been housing local lesbians since '93. Live bands play from time to time, but the real draw is the DJs, who play eclectic dance music from Top 40 hits to patron requests (yes, they actually will play the song that you ask for). There's also a karaoke night and weekly drink specials to pack the house. If you want to fit in, we suggest ordering a beer served in and drunk from a mini-pitcher. If you're looking for a certain style to your woman, the Biz will definitely have her there. Always pulling in the largest and most diverse crowd, the place is also receiving a much-needed face-lift, and more rest rooms are being added. So expect a bit of change to this classic bar.

Readers' Choice: Ain't Nobody's Bizness

One of the surprises of moving to Phoenix for the first time from some place like Los Angeles or New York is being able to have a pint of P-town's "home brew" -- Kiltlifter Scottish Ale -- on tap at a local saloon. Let's be honest, when you're a newbie transplant with some of that El Lay or Gotham 'tude, your first reaction to PHX -- not knowing the area -- might be, "Why, God, why?" But a draught of Kiltlifter, the flagship ale of the Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe, is enough to convince you that not only is there civilization in P-town, but it has produced a damn fine brew-ha-ha, one worthy of incessant quaffing. Kiltlifter is an award-winning, Scottish-style amber ale that uses peat-soaked malt (the same used in making Scotch) to give the beverage a smoky sweetness, accented with a touch of English hops. It's a sophisticated, refreshing drink, and Phoenicians should be as proud of it as they are of the Arizona flag.

To borrow a line from John Belushi in Animal House, now that Arizona has gotten off its keister and extended the drinking cutoff until 2 a.m., we advise you to start drinking heavily. And there's no better place to start drinking heavily than at McDuffy's Wide World of Entertainment in Peoria, which has 21 different beers on tap and at least the same number in bottles. This sleek, 13,000-square-foot sports bar is jam-packed with large-screen TVs tuned to all of your favorite athletic competitions, and then some. McDuffy's also offers off-track betting year-round, so you can lose your shirt (or win a bundle) while getting hammered. And the kitchen prepares some of the best bar food, bar none, everything from beer-battered fish and chips and roast beef sliders au jus to hand-crafted pizzas, made to your exacting specifications. Moreover, with its half-price happy hour -- and a reverse happy hour on Sundays that includes Sabbath tourneys of "beer pong" (Yahweh must love that one), McDuffy's has become a destination drinking, dining and fun zone for the entire west side. If only Belushi were still around, he'd love it. Readers' Choice: Four Peaks Brewing Company

Hey, Dancing Queen, if those shoes haven't scuffed a dance floor since disco, it's time to leave the house. Deciding where to bust your latest Beyonc moves isn't easy, but there are a few diva-worthy dance floors out there -- all of them inside the confines of The Buzz.

The Buzz is perfect for the schizophrenic dancer who's not really sure what groove to follow. The maze of bars and themed rooms surround a large dance floor lighted by hypnotic lasers and energized by scratch-happy DJs who spin everything from house to funk to hip-hop.

Save the last dance until you've perused the rest of the two-story fun bar. The Rat Pack Lounge offers a little Sinatra-inspired R&R -- perfect for rejuvenating yourself -- and the rooftop patio is essential for airing out those sweat-soaked digs of yours. Don't lounge around too long, however. The Buzz is best experienced by dancing yourself dizzy. Readers' Choice: Axis/Radius

This place would impress even the Queer Eye guys. From the opera bar to the leather couches to the jumbo shrimp appetizer, everything about Amsterdam is perfectly appointed, particularly the help -- and the clientele. You'll feel like you've died and gone to cable when you sink back with a martini (we recommend the French) and enjoy the, er, view, as well as the live piano music and frequent drag shows. For you fag hags (and boys who do the mani-pedi thing), we highly recommend "Martinis and Manicures" -- just $5 for a mani, $10 for a pedi, 7 p.m. to close, plus $5 martinis.

Don't bother asking for a "facial." It's not that kind of place. Readers' Choice: Amsterdam

Thankfully, you'll be hard-pressed to find a mullet here. E-Lounge draws patrons of all ages, but its largest draw is the twentysomething crowd. With ample, cushy couches, reasonably priced drinks, and hordes of hot women, E-Lounge is fast becoming the nightclub that local lesbians have wanted for years. The inside decor resembles a grotto inferno, with dark red brick walls, paintings of exotic, scantily clad women, and a spacious, sunken dance floor -- a perfect pit for exhibitionists, and a great eyeful opportunity for voyeurs. Add some of the Valley's hottest DJs (Domenica, Pete, and Laura B.) to the mix, and there's bound to be beautiful booty shakin' until last call -- and maybe more booty after that. Readers' Choice: Ain't Nobody's Bizness

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