Quick PHX, our annual pocket guide to art, shopping, and partying in Phoenix, is on stands now -- just in time for Viva PHX on Friday, March 7, and Art Detour 26 on Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9. Illustrated by Sarah Hurwitz, the hand-held guide will keep you busy this weekend and beyond.
Here are our 23 favorite spots to party in Phoenix.
Play If your idea of going out centers around your competitive edge, there are plenty of spots downtown where you can get your game on. The new Vig Fillmore offers free bocce courts and plenty of craft cocktails (named after downtown neighborhoods) for a more upscale gaming experience. However, if you're looking to take out pent-up frustration, you can try your hand at boxing in the ring on Sunday mornings at The Duce. If that's too aggressive for your tastes, the bar offers friendlier free, nightly competition by way of ping-pong, corn hole, shuffleboard, and foosball. For a more classic bar gaming experience, head to Rose & Crown English Pub, where billiards is the name of the game. Though the pub no longer has a dartboard, you can flex your mental muscles during the team trivia on Wednesday nights beginning at 7 p.m.
Lustre Bar Located on the roof of Hotel Palomar right in the middle of downtown, Lustre Bar is everything Phoenix needs in a bar. Craft cocktails and a chic atmosphere make Lustre a fun stop if you're looking to impress, and in the summer months, you just can't beat a Lustre pool party. The events, featuring bikini-clad partiers and DJs, offer a hip way to cool off in the summer. Best of all, Lustre Bar also occasionally offers free yoga classes to help you recover from the fun you had there the previous night.
Lux Central Modern vintage cool meets impeccable coffees, cocktails, and a small, ever-changing menu of comfort food at this hotspot on Central Avenue popular with the see-and-be-seen crowd.
Watch If you think Phoenix has no culture, you haven't been to one of the small theaters around town. Some of the town's up-and-comers can be seen at the nonprofit Space 55, which hosts everything from underground plays to musical variety shows. The theater focuses on exposing new acts, while also making attending stage productions more affordable and accessible. If you're in it for the improv, though, Torch Theatre is the place for you. This community-centric theater specializes in all things off the cuff, giving a unique look into the creative process that other theater experiences just don't have. Finally, the historic Phoenix Theatre, located just east of the Phoenix Art Museum off McDowell Road and Central Avenue, is the perfect place to spot rising stars in the theater world on stage or behind the scenes. The theater just opened a state-of-the-art black box venue.
FilmBar You'd think after three years of FilmBar showing movies and slinging drinks, the novelty would have worn off. But you'd be wrong. With screenings of new indie movies, some classics, limited-release documentaries, locally produced flicks, sport screenings, and one-of-a-kind performances, FilmBar, on Second Street just south of Roosevelt, offers Phoenix's cinema geeks something made and otherwise unavailable at other theaters -- and we're not just talking about the beer. For higher-energy nights, FilmBar also hosts world music DJ sets from DJentrification and more.
Carly's Bistro At Carly's, having fun doesn't have to mean dressing in fancy duds and strutting around like you're on a catwalk. It could mean going to Nerd Nite, a compilation of seminars, discussions, presentations, and games focused on a certain topic like space or comic books that changes every time. The event, combined with Carly's killer Moscow Mules, is a great alternative for folks looking to meet like-minded geeks in a judgment-free environment.
Dance Phoenix's movers and shakers know where to get down in town, and downtown is where it's at for getting your groove on. Hidden House Cocktail Lounge is one such place, with a reputation for playing great hip-hop and serving cheap drinks. In North Phoenix, Apollo's Lounge is a must-stop for hipsters looking to shake a leg to their favorite indie jams. That's because Apollo's is home to Tongue Tied, which has played with themes such as an arcade-themed Arcade Fire dance party. If you're craving a darker dance experience, Monarch Theatre, located in the heart of downtown next door to fellow dance clubs Bar Smith and Sky Lounge, is the gothy, industrial place for you. Just be sure to wear your blackest blacks and tightest vinyl, otherwise you probably won't fit in with the cool kids jamming on EDM, live music, and the occasional fashion show.
Rips So you like New Order and Joy Division and you can't stand the thought of dancing to the Top 40 nonsense played at other clubs. Well, then, the delightfully divey Rips Bar on 16th Street north of Thomas Road is the place for you to party. Though you may feel out of place if you haven't gotten your rockabilly look on lock, you'll forget all about it after a few cheap beers. If you're at Rips on Tuesday night, you'll have the opportunity to sing your heart out on stage for the weekly karaoke night.
Jam If your idea of a good time centers on music, there are plenty of bars and venues for watching live music, discovering classics in a great old jukebox, or listening to a vinyl-spinning DJ. Char's Has the Blues is a good place to get soul in your life. While the dancing at Char's is just as good as any of the dance clubs mentioned, the music played, both live and recorded, makes it a prime destination for music nerds. If you're itching to catch a solid blues act or see up-and-coming acts before they blow up, Rhythm Room is the venue to check out. You also can take the stage yourself if you've got the pipes to match your courage by going to Kobalt for karaoke. While you're there, you can catch live drag shows and big-screen airings of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Crescent Ballroom Although Crescent Ballroom is an obvious choice for a great live concert, the two-year-old venue also serves up inventive DJ nights in a wide range of styles. Old-school hip-hop and R&B, funk and soul, and Sean Watson's Kismet have become staples for downtown dancers. However, occasional treats like the Prince vs. Michael Jackson DJ night and costume contest as well as the One More Time: Daft Punk Tribute nights have both sold out in the past, likely due to their uniqueness. Other dance options in the past at Crescent have included disco, rock classics, and world music.
Chill Maybe you've had a busy week. Maybe all you're looking to do is get a drink and relax. That's okay. In fact, neighborhood hangouts like The Main Ingredient Ale House cater to low-key folk like you who are still looking to get out of the house. With an impressive, ever-changing craft beer offering and a large patio with little fire pits, it's easy to lose track of time at Main Ingredient and end up there until it closes. The Lost Leaf, right off Roosevelt Row, is another great spot for craft beer lovers to unwind. Usually buzzing with regulars, the beer- and wine-only bar also features live music ranging from punk to jazz to indie favorite Wooden Indian every Thursday. If you want a good strong classic cocktail to accompany your calm, Hanny's combines casual with upscale, all in the trappings of an old department store. Best part, all of the upholstered benches in Hanny's are made to recline.
Lola Coffee Top-notch coffees, housemade pastries, and tasty breakfast and lunch dishes make Daniel Wayne's cozy Roosevelt Row java shop one of downtown's best.
The Refuge A coffee and tea shop, cafe, and wine bar with heart, this charitable spot donates a portion of its proceeds to other nonprofit services in the Valley.