Country-western dancing is swinging with opportunities for Valley residents looking to visit a local honky-tonk and two-step the night away. We scoured the city to bring you a list of metro Phoenix's 10 best boot-scooting boogies (in no particular order). Included in our list below are details for novice country-western dancing enthusiasts to receive lessons at the local honky-tonks before showing off on the main floor. So grab your boots, because we’re goin’ dancing.
Arizona Room Patio Grill
524 North 92nd Street, Scottsdale
Inside Casino Arizona, the Arizona Room Patio Grill features Laina Lee and her free dance lessons from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday nights. “You get to meet new people all the time,” Lee says, “You don’t have to have a partner. You can be single ladies and single men. We match you up, and rotate partners throughout lessons, so everybody gets a chance to dance with everybody.” The Arizona Room Patio Grill isn't adorned with the typical saloon decor you'd expect from a country bar, but like David Lee Murphy taught us about dusty bottles: Don’t let it fool ya ’bout what’s inside. Live country music from either Chad Freeman and Redline or The Marble Heart Band follows at 8 p.m. Which means you can immediately put those lessons to the test.
Buffalo Chip Saloon
6823 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
Don’t feel bad if you don’t immediately know where to go when visiting Cave Creek’s Buffalo Chip Saloon. It’s an almost estate-style, five-acre restaurant, venue, rodeo arena, and western dance hall with multiple bars, indoor and outdoor seating, and, yes, a big dance floor. The Chip also hosts free dance lessons every Thursday and Sunday night starting at 7 p.m. The place has been around since 1951, and was rebuilt after a fire struck the main building in 2015, so you know they know what they’re doing. Buffalo Chip is also an all ages venue, meaning those younger than 21 can attend dance lessons with a parent or guardian in tow.
Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
640 South Mill Avenue, #120, Tempe
One of multiple locations, Whiskey Row in Tempe blurs the line between country bar and nightclub. Mark your calendar for Dance On Wednesday, when country lovers can strap on their shiniest belt buckles, and leave it all out on the dance floor. Homegrown country music superstar Dierks Bentley’s name is on the door, but the real mastermind behind the vibe at Whiskey Row in Tempe is DJ Vince Ramirez. With high-energy country hits starting at 9 p.m., Wednesday nights are a must-attend country-western shindig for local college kids, and any other Valley residents.
11 West Boston Street, Chandler
Need a regular country-western dance outing? Look into the East Valley Kickers. Founded in 2009, the EVK has grown to include thousands of members, and is built around the idea of providing like-minded country-dance lovers with endless opportunities to learn an array of techniques like country waltz, two-step, west coast swing, and line dancing. Bourbon Jack’s in Chandler plays host to the local troupe by offering up its dance floor during “Two Step Tuesday” – when EVK members and non-members alike can cut loose. “EVK is a really friendly group,” says founding member and event organizer Laina Lee, who has been country dancing for 25 years, and instructing for eight. “And it’s all ages. I have 20-year-olds dancing with 50- and 60-year-olds.” The activities get underway with free lessons at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights.
Harold’s Cave Creek Corral
6895 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
To really dive into the Old West ambiance, visit the rustic town of Cave Creek – where horseback riders aren’t out of place and boots and cowboy hats are the norm. The must-visit country dancing hot spot for Cave Creek is Harold’s Corral every Friday night. After wrapping up the weekly fish fry, tables are cleared from the dance floor, and free lessons begin at 8 p.m. Live entertainment follows from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and patrons are encouraged to grab a partner and cut loose in the western dancing environment. An elevated stage typically hosts local country musicians, though touring acts come through occasionally.
116 East Becker Lane, Scottsdale
As unchanged as the rocky Arizona landscape, there are few better places to celebrate the timelessness of country-western dancing than Handlebar J. Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame inductees The Herndon Brothers act as the live entertainment, bringing country music and dancing in spades to locals and tourists. While HBJ offers live music every night, be sure to check out “Back to Mr. Lucky’s Night” on Wednesdays. It's the marquee centerpiece of saloon operations. The night recreates the atmosphere of the now-extinct, longtime Arizona country hot-spot, Mr. Lucky’s, by putting The Herndon Brothers Band on stage alongside the HBJ Horns and local Valley country stalwart J. David Sloan. Music and dancing kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Rusty Spur Saloon
7245 East Main Street, Scottsdale
The Rusty Spur Saloon has been a go-to spot for authentic country-western atmosphere and live music for more than 60 years. Located in the middle of Old Town Scottsdale, the building was once the Farmers’ Bank of Scottsdale, and now it's a registered historic landmark. Live music is offered nightly, but we recommend going on Saturdays. Country dancing fans should stop in when the night is in full swing, and cut a rug to live music from the Psychobilly Rodeo Band. They've been performing together for more than 17 years, and three nights a week, the band's country crooning chops are on full display. Rusty Spur does not advertise a specific dance night. Instead, they rely on their long-standing reputation, along with the age-old tradition of foot traffic and word-of-mouth, to get people on the dance floor.
Stinger’s Saloon & Sports Bar
10040 North 43rd Avenue, Glendale
Stinger’s is best known as a massive pool hall, but those looking for a quick game on a Tuesday or Sunday night might be surprised to find a gathering of cowboy-clothed dancers trying the Arizona two-step. Stinger’s hosts free lessons on a huge dance floor starting twice a week at 7 p.m., and dances range from the inline-slot dance to the progressive waltz and the Cowboy Cha Cha. There’s no need to bar hop after your lesson, as live music from the Silver Sage Band begins at 8 p.m. Stinger’s also has food, drink specials, karaoke, games like darts, shuffle board, and poker, and is found in the Great Skate Plaza.
Denim & Diamonds
7336 East Main Street, Mesa
When making rounds in Mesa, be sure to check out the honky-tonk staple Denim & Diamonds and the large floor that plays host to a bevy of country dancing hotshots. Saturday night brings a knock-out playlist of today’s top country music hits tailored to the lively dancing and smooth flowing libations. Brush up on an array of moves, from two-stepping to swing dancing, by arriving at 6:30 p.m. for an hour of free dance lessons before the night gets underway. Bonus Night: Wednesday night is Ladies Night at Denim & Diamonds. Free dance lessons are offered from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
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The Cash Nightclub & Lounge
2140 East McDowell Road
It’s always ladies’ night at the Cash Nightclub & Lounge – formerly known as Cash Inn Country. Which means this lesbian-centric country bar comes alive each night with drink specials, darts and poker, and on Tuesday nights, line dancing and two-stepping. Dance lessons with Chandelle happen every Tuesday night, beginning with the two-step at 7:30, followed by line dancing at 8:30 p.m. What follows is a free-for-all night of drink specials with DJ Molly at the helm.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in May 2016. Lauren Cusimano and Caleb Haley contributed to this article.