Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

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JUNE 1, 2023

Looking for a masterfully mixed cocktail? How about an ice-cold beer? Well, cheers, we've got 'em both. Welcome to the 2023 list of the Top 100 Bars in metro Phoenix.

Watering holes are sprinkled throughout this desert city, from corners of strip malls to underground hideouts, rooftop bars, and downtown destinations. We've got beer bars, wine bars and dive bars galore. We've got mixologists making waves in national circles, bringing the Phoenix cocktail scene to new heights, alongside bartenders who specialize in remembering their regulars' names.

All of these fine establishments have something to offer and are an integral part of life in this dusty sprawl. From all of your options out there, these are our top 100 favorite spots to belly up to the bar and order a cold one. Bottoms up!

Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

Coach House

Coach House
Jennifer Goldberg
Coach House is a bit of homespun charm with heavy pours, two bars, an enormous patio with views of Camelback Mountain and the open sky, and a fun staff. It also looks like something straight off of a dude ranch, with its rustic, wood-heavy décor, but steers clear of country shtick beyond its name. Owned since its first pour in 1959 by the Brower family (who tout is as “Scottsdale’s oldest dive”), it's packed to the low-slung rafters most nights (even more so on the weekends) with crowds three-deep angling for space inside its the tiny main bar. It serves up plenty of great barfly standards like boilermakers and screwdrivers starting at 6 a.m. sharp, 365 days a year. It’s also a must-see every holiday season – when every centimeter is draped with lights, wrapping paper, tinsel, bows, ribbons, and ornaments – and a place to tip one back during the rest of the year.
7011 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, 85251

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UnderTow

UnderTow
Tirion Boan
At its core, UnderTow is a tiki bar, with a rum-forward menu and Polynesian-inspired decor. But simply calling it a tiki bar doesn’t do the concept justice. UnderTow is an experience — one that fully immerses you in the nautical world of a fictional spice trader. Located inside Century Grand, the bar’s interior trades grass huts for the belly of a clipper ship, complete with portholes that play video footage of adventurous voyages. The menu features a hefty collection of rums from around the world, plus a rotating selection of beer and wine. Expect to find a mix of tried-and-true classic tiki cocktails alongside original creations. One of our favorites is Bonaparte’s Loss, a balanced drink made with Hardy Legend 1863 cognac and Appleton Estate 12-year-old Jamaican rum and finished with a fragrant cinnamon fog.
3626 E. Indian School Rd. #100, Phoenix, 85018

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Spirit House

Spirit House
Lauren Cusimano
When you walk into Spirit House, remember that it was once the neighboring SanTan Brewing Company’s junk drawer. Not a drawer, exactly — more like a side room, where the SanTan folks stored random items like old kegs, glassware, and kitchen stuff. They’ve since converted it into a 49-seat cocktail lounge that’s proven popular among the crowds of downtown Chandler. As a seven-foot fan whirs above, bartenders create masterful cocktails using botanical spirits, adding aromatic textures to signature but simple drinks like the Ramble on Rose (Citrus Rose Gin, Tonic, Hibiscus Bitters) and the Cucumber Mule (Limeleaf Vodka, Cucumber, Mint, Ginger Beer).
8 S. San Marcos Pl., Suite 106, Chandler, 85225

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The Little Woody

The Little Woody
Luigi Richie
The Little Woody is a nesting ground for Arcadians or anyone else beckoned by the glowing owl-shaped neon sign outside. It also attracts with a wealth of upscale bar bites (the savory Grandma Woody’s Meatballs are a favorite), and an array of alcohol choices ranging from stylish (the Gun Shy Sour made with Larceny bourbon, lemon, and locally sourced honey) to slummy (check out The Codger, a can of Old Style chased with Old Granddad). Its wood-heavy and red-drenched interior is a mix of ski lodge, dive bar, and a family rec room that’s filled with eclectic touches (dozens of tiny, ornamental owls are hidden throughout the bar) and also offers a pool table, dance floor, and a game room where Skee-Ball, shuffleboard, board games, and Foosball await. It’s a hoot, just like the rest of the Little Woody.
4228 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 85018

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BS West

BS West
Benjamin Leatherman
BS West is a rarity among Scottsdale bars. It’s the only LGBT spot in the city, a distinction it's enjoyed for over 30 years. In that time, the two-story bar, dance joint, and drag club just off Craftsman Court has established a loyal following that’s spanned generations. (Historically, its been more of a gay male crowd, but everyone’s invited, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.) BS West’s appeal lies in its electric atmosphere and a combo of live entertainment (drag shows, go-go boys, rowdy karaoke sessions), music selection (ranging from club hits to Latin), sex appeal (the male bartenders go shirtless), and nightly drink deals. Plus, you gotta love a place where the staff occasionally answers the phone with “This is BS.”
7125 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, 85251

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The Dirty Drummer

The Dirty Drummer
Lauren Cusimano
The wood-paneled walls, the open grill behind the bar, the jukebox packed with Merle, Willie, Waylon, and the Hanks: There’s much to love about The Dirty Drummer. Maybe its most lovable quality, though, is its origin story. The first location of this sports bar, honky-tonk, and music venue at 44th and Oak streets was opened in 1975 by Frank “Drummer” Armstrong and his partner, “Dirty Dave” Werner. Armstrong died in 2012, and the original Drummer closed in 2018. But the following year, the former owner’s daughter, Dana Armstrong, along with business partners Andrew Smith and Tom Bernard, reopened the spot with a strong nod to the Drummer of yesteryear. Armstrong is the creator of Valley Fever, a DJ night of Arizona country that started in 2005 at Yucca Tap Room. She’s brought much of that outlaw ambiance to The Drummer. Here, patrons are encouraged to play some George Jones, order a Drummer Burger, and tip back a house beer — Miller Lite.
2303 N. 44th St., Phoenix, 85008

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Pour Bastards

Pour Bastards
Tirion Boan
There are plenty of places to grab a drink along Roosevelt Row, but few rival the mad-science mixology happening at Pour Bastards. The cocktail, natural wine and self-described “shitty beer” bar is from the same team that runs Killer Whale Sex Club, FYPM and Disco Dragon. The muted interiors at Pour Bastards are relatively monochromatic, with a simple black and white color palette and low lighting. But the cocktails turn the volume up. The menu descriptions are simple: cantaloupe, strawberry, hot cocktail. Pour Bastards employs the clarifying process to create crisp, clear cocktails — a paradox to the bold, punchy flavor packed in each sip.
504 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 85004

Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

Hundred Mile Brewing Co.

Hundred Mile Brewing Co.
Hundred Mile Brewing Co.
Although it’s a bit off the beaten path, tucked in near a Holiday Inn Express along the north bank of Tempe Town Lake, Hundred Mile Brewing Co. is worth seeking out for its indoor/outdoor vibe that’s big enough for groups yet appropriate for date night. The operation, which opened in December 2022, is housed in a 10,000-square-foot white brick former print shop. A large patio with an awning in front includes a dog-friendly turf area and games such as cornhole and giant Connect Four. Owner Sue Rigler and her team churn out quality brews that include IPAs, a hoppy pilsner, smooth amber ale, pale ale and more. The kitchen offers ramped-up bar food for almost any taste, including chimichurri nachos, a sesame-crusted ahi salad, vegan burger and coffee-rubbed short ribs. There’s also a full bar with an impressive cocktail selection and a wine list that hits all the right notes.
690 N. Scottsdale Rd., Tempe, 85281

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Upstairs at Flint

Upstairs at Flint
Tirion Boan
A sophisticated vibe welcomes guests at Upstairs at Flint. Upon entry, your eyes will gravitate toward the desert landscape just beyond the glass-edged patio until the giant chandelier catches your attention. People-watching is at its finest here, with couples sipping on cocktails, groups of friends jamming to the music and everyone enjoying the rooftop bar. The booze-forward sips boast fun names such as Frontier Psychiatrist, The Adults are Talking and The Girl from Ipanema and are softened with flavors of vanilla, apricot, honey, elderflower, pamplemousse and tamarind. But you won’t feel left out if you simply want to relax with a beer. And if you get hungry, small bites and dinner are available, as well. Some menu highlights are the spicy lamb meatballs, Moroccan fried chicken, wood-grilled kebabs and chilled shrimp.
2425 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85016

Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

Floor 13 Rooftop Bar

Floor 13 Rooftop Bar
Tirion Boan
For a big-city feel and views filled with towering skyscrapers, head to the top of the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Phoenix hotel. Here, a small indoor bar opens onto a spacious alfresco sundeck. Warning, this spot isn’t for those with acrophobia. You’re up high and surrounded by dizzying drop-off views. It also can be gusty at the top, so if there’s any hint of chill in the air, bring a sweater. The 10-drink cocktail menu leans into the theme. Try the Into Thin Air, made with citrus vodka, honeydew, kiwi, lime and sparkling wine. Wines served by the glass and are mostly from California, with a few international options in the mix, and beers range from local brews to national names. If all that height makes you hungry, munch on some fried green tomatoes, ahi tacos or charcuterie while you soar above the city.
15 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, 85004

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Shady's

Shady's
Jennifer Goldberg
From the outside, Shady’s may look like one of the old residences located along Indian School Road in east Phoenix, but inside, it’s a small pub and lounge with British flair. Its intimate, living room-like interior is full of stylish touches: black leather booths and chairs, a fireplace stocked with candles and caricatures of Ernest Hemingway and other old-school legends. The pool table is almost always busy, classic movies are usually on the TVs, and an actual jukebox (a rarity these days) is stocked with CDs of the third-wave ska, Britpop, funk, and soul variety. The libations are a combo of traditional cocktails, locally produced spirits, and craft and import beers (Guinness, Schöfferhofer, Oak Creek Brewing) while the crowd is young, hip, and arty mixed in with well-to-do Arcadia residents. Visit during happy hour or on weekends and you’ll get to know your fellow patrons fast, thanks to the cozy digs and packed house.
2701 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 85016

Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Heather Hoch
A self-described “cocktailian,” Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted is known for his tome-like illustrated menus that offer studied riffs on legions of classics, resulting in libations that are proudly “whimsical as fuck.” Among those is the coldest old-school martini in town, which can be sipped in expansive booths upholstered in red leather under sky-high ceilings. Whether you're in downtown Phoenix for a show, or you make a special trip, be sure to stop in at Bitter & Twisted. Pro tip: Join the wait list online to secure an earlier spot in the queue.
1 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 85003

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The Ostrich

The Ostrich
Lauren Cusimano
The Ostrich is located behind a wooden door at the bottom of a stairwell around the corner from Crust Chandler. The name of this basement bar could suggest an ostrich burying its head in the ground, but actually, this was the room where ostrich feathers were stored by city founder Dr. AJ Chandler himself. A little more history about this bar: It’s housed in the historic tunnels that connected the golf course clubhouse of the Crowne Plaza San Marcos to the nearby railroad station. Today, the antique mugshots, decorative barrels, vintage books, and life-sized ostrich all pay tribute to this early Chandler era. The dark drinking lounge, opened in 2015, serves classic and complicated craft cocktails. We recommend the Vieux Carre, a New Orleans classic made with whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters .
10 N. San Marcos Pl., #B1, Chandler, 85225

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BullShooters

BullShooters
Bull Shooters
Bull Shooters in north Phoenix has a bevy of pool tables – 44 of ‘em, to be exact – on which you can put your skills to the test. The high-quality 7 and 9-foot tables inside this spacious pool hall and sports bar take center stage for northsiders in search of stick ’n’ sip action. Owners Mike and Julie Bates have kept things largely the same since opening in 2007, including offering poker, dart games (both electronic and otherwise), karaoke, and various distractions in an adjacent game room. They also offer 34 drinks on tap, ranging from beer to cider, and daily specials. Just keep your drink far away from the pristine felt (or use a coaster, dammit!), since you’ll get hard looks or harsh words from the staff. And that ain’t no bull.
3337 W. Peoria Ave., Phoenix, 85029

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The Wayward Taphouse

The Wayward Taphouse
Lauren Cusimano
The Wayward Taphouse arrived during the COVID era, a time when Phoenix was in great need of patios. The outdoor seating here seems to have been arranged with care. There’s good sun and shade options, it’s outside food- and dog-friendly, and it’s surrounded by the casitas (which many know were once prisoner-of-war houses) that are home to Novel Ice Cream and other small businesses in the Grand Avenue Arts District. The Wayward was opened by Tyler Goolie and Hilda Cardenas, who both spent about five years at the also-beloved Wren House Brewing Co. The menu here offers mostly Arizona beer and wine from state favorites like The Shop, Arizona Wilderness, Huss, Caduceus Cellars, Cider Corps, and Bad Booch. But be advised: There’s also a beer fridge with more well-known stuff like Coors Banquet and Modelo and a well-poured Guiness on tap. Order inside the funky space, or from the ordering window, which is easily accessible from the patio.
1028 Grand Ave., Phoenix, 85007

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Highball

Highball
Lauren Cusimano
Highball opened at the tail end of October 2020 in the former SideBar space. The concept is overseen by Libby Lingua and Mitch Lyons, formerly of Barter and Shake Hospitality, but the new, sleek establishment is gimmick-free. Expect an elegant copper bar, black leather couches, and exposed brick walls at the top of those stairs. Highball offers an eclectic craft cocktail menu which the extremely helpful staff will happily help navigate. The menus change with the seasons, but the drinks are gorgeous, ready for their photo close-up and highly effective, hint hint. A small selection of bar snacks are also available to help take the edge off before you wobble back downstairs.
1514 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 85007

Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden
Nikki Charnstrom
The Rose Garden, housed in the U.S. Bank Center building in downtown Phoenix, is an elevated cocktail bar with a whimsical air. The space is decorated with vintage artwork, jewel-toned wallpaper and furnishings, flowers, a peacock (yes, a peacock) and cocktails served on makeshift toadstools. Edible flowers and over-the-top garnishes add color, making every drink worthy of social media. Popular choices include the La Puesta del Sol, a concoction of Fresno chile, hibiscus-infused sotol, rum, vermouth, lime, tamarind agave, mole bitters, chamoy and chile powder; and the Harvest Essence, a blend of El Güel mezcal, Ramazzotti, velvet falernum, lime, turmeric, grapefruit and sage. The drinks are complemented by small bites such as pork belly sliders and prosciutto-wrapped dates.
101 N. First Ave., Phoenix, 85003

Your complete guide to the 100 best bars in metro Phoenix

Charlie's Phoenix

Charlie's Phoenix
Matt Hennie
Charlie’s is a slice of Phoenix gay bar history that has huddled along Camelback Road just west of Seventh Avenue since its debut in 1984. In those days, the “lil bitty ol’ pissant country place” and dance hall opened by John King (co-founder of the International Gay Rodeo Association) was aimed at gay urban cowboys and country music fans. As times and interests changed (and competition increased) so did Charlie’s. Today, the place boasts a larger dance floor, an even bigger parking lot, a taco truck out front, an outdoor patio with two bars and bleacher seating in the back, and a wide cross-section of the entire LGBT community. Charlie’s events calendar is just as diverse. Drag performances, bingo games, Latin and country dance nights, and karaoke are some of its most popular activities. It's also famous for its after-hours weekend dance parties.
727 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85013

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Bar Bianco

Bar Bianco
Sara Crocker
Bar Bianco may be the most and least Phoenix bar. It reaches peak-Phoenix because, if you’re there, you’re likely killing time while waiting to enjoy the pizza that in many ways put the Valley’s culinary scene, and its connection to incredible local ingredients, on the map. At the bar, you can enjoy curated wines, local craft beers and a handful of classic cocktails while you wait, or you can satiate your hunger with fresh, slightly charred bread and olive oil or a plate of soppressata with dried cranberries. So, what makes Bar Bianco feel so not Phoenix? Its location next to the flagship Pizzeria Bianco in Heritage Square in a home that – gasp – predates air conditioning is surrounded by mature trees and in a rare area reserved for pedestrians, not cars. As such, the bar is transportive and invites you to linger and maybe, just maybe, forget about that wait.
609 E. Adams St., Phoenix, 85004

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Kitsune Brewing Co.

Kitsune Brewing Co.
Sara Crocker
Kitsune Brewing Co. has been open for less than a year, but it’s quickly cemented itself as a neighborhood staple and a draw for craft beer fans. Owner Tyler Smith and his brew team have stretched their offerings beyond the beers that they opened with — including Forager Hazy IPA and Fox Diver Brown — to include a regularly rotating sour program that leans into nostalgic flavors — both real and imagined — such as orange creamsicle and Bantha Milk, the creamy blue milk from the yak-like creatures in “Star Wars.” You’ll often hear Smith before you see him. His infectious laugh bounces across the space as he chats with guests. While we’re still anxiously awaiting Kitsune’s upcoming and adjoining ramen bar, a rotation of on-site food trucks sates your hunger as you order another round.
3321 E. Bell Road, Suite B-5, Phoenix, 85032

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Boycott Bar

Boycott Bar
Benjamin Leatherman
This lesbian-leaning Melrose District spot has cold beers, well-mixed cocktails, dancing, drag shows, and good people. Boycott also maintains a varied and thoughtful event calendar: patrons can expect everything from Pride-related events to Latin and country dance nights. It’s a solid stop while bar-hopping along the Melrose curve — but a sturdy local watering hole as well. Look for the pink light.
4301 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 85013

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Garden Bar PHX

Garden Bar PHX
Tirion Boan
There is a special charm to Garden Bar in downtown Phoenix. Step inside the converted 1914 bungalow and history washes over you. Sure, the decor has been updated beautifully, but the many memories that this house holds still shine through. Owner Kim Haasarud invites guests to roam from room to room in the dim but cozy space in order to find the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail. The intimacy of the experience is intentional as is Haasarud’s desire to serve garden-to-table cocktails. Some highlights include the Queen Bee, complete with a freshly cut chunk of honeycomb, and the Pistachio Daiquiri, made with coconut rum, vanilla and crushed pistachios. The cocktail menu rotates throughout the year since the drinks include seasonal fruits, herbs and vegetables. And various grazing boards, including a selection of breads, as well as cheeses and curated meats, hold your attention. The space is popular, so if you have a specific seat in mind, make sure to make a reservation.
822 N. Sixth Ave., Phoenix, 85003

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Gypsy's Roadhouse

Gypsy's Roadhouse
Lauren Cusimano
This kinda-biker bar, kinda-sports bar in the shadow of Papago Park has gone by many names over the years: Baja Red’s Cantina, Daisy Duke’s, The Lark. In 2014, Bill Voss, a Harley Davidson enthusiast with a wife named Gypsy, took over. Gypsy's namesake roadhouse is a reliable pit stop for cold beer, burgers, and perhaps a Steelers game. There's a sturdy crowd of day-drinking retirees at Gypsy’s, too. Stop in for a stiff drink, a plate of wings, and find out if its toga night or a pirate party, anything's possible at Gypsy's.
5122 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 85008

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Casey Moore's Oyster House

Casey Moore's Oyster House
Jennifer Goldberg
Casey Moore's Oyster House is a Tempe mainstay, known for its sprawling patio surrounding the former home of William A. and Mary Moeur, built circa 1910. The bar itself is named after an Irish woman who was born even earlier, in 1886, and who was known for singing, playing the piano, and hosting frequent gatherings. (She is said to still haunt the place.) The home was rehabilitated in 1973, and a few bars came and went in the space until 1986, when it became Casey’s. The bar attracts students from nearby ASU, as well as neighborhood regulars, cyclists, tourists, and service industry types. Indoors, you’ll find neon décor, some seating, and a cozy bar; on the patio, you may smoke, bring your dog till 5 p.m., or bend elbows at the always-packed outdoor bar. The beer selection features a mix of local, domestic, and imported brews, and the pub fare is above average. Go with the oysters or the neighborhood favorite, French onion soup.
850 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, 85281

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Stardust Pinbar

Stardust Pinbar
Benjamin Leatherman
Stardust Pinbar co-owner Ariel Bracamonte had one goal for the David Bowie-inspired pinball lounge he opened in 2019 next to the The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix: He wanted it to be big on fun. (Or, to paraphrase the late pop/rock icon as Ziggy Stardust, he promised it wouldn’t be boring.) Mixing Bowie-esque glam with geek chic, the lounge is lined with pinball machines, has an illuminated disco dance floor, a fuzzy DJ booth, and gig posters of Bowie as Aladdin Sane. A speakeasy-like secret entrance is rigged up like a walk-up freezer in the pizza parlor next door, which went viral on TikTok after Bracamonte uploaded a video of it in 2020. There are also 8,000 pinballs encased in the glass bar top, cocktails inspired by songs and stools covered in glittering vinyl. Somewhere, Ziggy Stardust is watching on and smiling.
401 W. Van Buren St., Suite C, Phoenix, 85003

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George & Dragon: An English Pub

George & Dragon: An English Pub
Benjamin Leatherman
Phoenix’s first English pub lives up to its pedigree: Portraits of Queen Elizabeth, photos of Buckingham Palace, and other UK-related ephemera adorn every nook and cranny. Footy matches air on TVs above the bar surrounded by jerseys and flags of beloved teams. And traditional selections like bangers and mash, pasties, and fish and chips are cranked out by the kitchen. (Come on Sundays for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.) Moving beyond the British Isles, G&D’s bar has an impresive selection of imported beer on tap, going beyond Guiness to include the likes of Smithwick's and Boddingtons. There’s also trivia on Thursdays hosted by owner (and native Englishman) David Wimberley, who got yelled at by Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer on a 2016 episode of the show. Catch Wimberley haunting the front patio and he’ll tell you the tale himself, likely peppered with enough vulgarities to make the royals blush.
4240 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85012

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Club DWNTWN

Club DWNTWN
Benjamin Leatherman
DWNTWN has been a reliable drinking and dancing spot for the local Latinx crowd for going on 20 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Situated along the same Central Avenue strip of bars housing The Grand, it consists of multiple rooms, bars, and amenities. Pay $10 and head left for access to the main room and its sizable dance floor and serpentine-shaped bar furnished with a towering supply of cerveza, many kinds of tequila (from well brands to high-end options), and other intoxicants. Pay $20 and head right for the VIP area with plush couches and bottle service. Elsewhere, there’s a michelada and taco bar. DWNTWN’s resident DJs spin a mix of Top 40, hip-hop, and Latin dance genres — including reggaeton, cumbia, salsa, bachata, and Norteña — as its patrons dance and party into the wee hours (the place stays open until 3 a.m. or later).
702 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85004

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Ice House Tavern

Ice House Tavern
Lauren Cusimano
Obvious, but: the Ice House Tavern is cold. Multiple layers of glass separate the bar from AZ Ice Arcadia, the hockey and ice-skating rink it shares space with, but the chilly air finds a way through. During Phoenix summers, of course, it’s a godsend. You can enjoy a domestic or craft beer and fried pickles while gazing out on the ice. What’s out there depends on the time of day. It could be a free skate, with new couples flirting and adorable toddlers teetering. Or it might be an adults' league hockey match. Or maybe the Zamboni’s just giving the old girl a shine. The bar itself has gone through many iterations over the years; it used to be called Fireside Chalet, and in the 2000s it was a haven for punk bands and comedians. These days, it has a hockey theme and serves cold beers and bar food. Cold is a hot commodity in Phoenix, and if that’s what you seek, this place is tough to beat.
3855 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 85018

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The Brickyard Downtown

The Brickyard Downtown
Tirion Boan
When visiting downtown Chandler, a stop at The Brickyard is a must. This cocktail bar and restaurant is located inside the former home of the Chandler Arizonan, a newspaper that dates back to 1912. But you’ll find more than just history here. Start with the cocktail menu, which is located inside the plastic DVD case dropped off at your table. The video game-themed booklet outlines your drink options by such creative categories as Arcade, Console, Disc and Multiplayer. From the Next Gen section, we love The Animist, which is made with rum, mixed berry syrup and pineapple and topped with a swirling cinnamon cloud. While the cocktail menu shines, don’t forget about the food. The lamb chimichangas and pork belly skewers are winners.
85 W. Boston St., Chandler, 85225

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The Duce

The Duce
The Duce
Don't judge a book by its cover. The understated exterior hardly does justice to everything that goes on inside, including swing dancing, boxing, and shopping. As far as the drinking goes, The Duce has an impressive selection of old school cocktails as well as few specialties you won't find anywhere else. The vintage trailer serves up some great comfort foods, including pot pies and sliders. The Duce offers ping-pong, shuffleboard, corn hole, and foosball, so it's practically like you can get a work out while you drink. After all, it is part-gym.
525 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85004

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Sauvage Wine Bar & Shop

Sauvage Wine Bar & Shop
Geri Koeppel
In March, Sauvage Wine Bar & Shop evolved from a downtown Phoenix bottle shop in The Churchill into a full-blown bar and store located in the historic Helen Anderson House along McDowell Road. The charming, cozy decor pays homage to the cute cottage, with various seating areas featuring nailhead sofas, upholstered wooden chairs, rugs and potted plants. It sells and pours only natural wine, many from lesser-known regions, along with a few spirits such as vermouth and amaro. Small-plate provisions include cheese and charcuterie plates, tinned fish, delightful specials such as crudo and burrata, and desserts. Owner Chris Lingua became smitten with natural wines in Europe and aims to raise their profile here, happily engaging customers in conversation about production methods and helping them find what they like. Natural wines tend to be quite different from most mainstream ones, so those who aren’t already fans should keep an open mind and let Lingua take them on a ride.
149 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 85003

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Cobra Arcade Bar

Cobra Arcade Bar
Lauren Cusimano
Cobra Arcade Bar is pure nerdy fun with an arty bent. Vintage games operated by Cobra-stamped tokens line the interior and take up much of the space. Murals by local artists cover the walls. Valley DJs drop mixes every weekend and keep the energy level as frenetic as a Red Bull-fueled deathmatch while bartenders serve geeky signature cocktails like the Garbage Pail Kid and the Punch Out. When Cobra gets as crowded as a comicon (which is often), head a few doors down to Hi-Score Club, its anime-themed lounge. Hang out with the other gaijin, play Japanese import games, or quaff cocktails from mugs shaped like fugu. Kanpai!
801 N. 2nd St., #100, Phoenix, 85004

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Don Woods’ Say When

Don Woods’ Say When
Studio Alcott
The retro vibe of Rise Uptown Hotel is infused in every element of its rooftop bar, from its decor to its menu. Finding your way to the late-1960s and early ’70s-inspired bar can be a little tricky. Don’t head toward the street, where you can see the rooftop; instead, take the elevator or stairs in the middle of the hotel up to the top. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with warm breezes and a breathtaking view that includes downtown Phoenix and Camelback Mountain. The cocktail menu leans head-first into the era, with highballs and classics, as well as playful remixes and a spritz menu that goes beyond the basics of Aperol. Notable sips include the Whiskey Tart, which updates a whiskey sour with the addition of blood orange curd, and the Lime Leaf, a play on a gin and tonic that is super citrusy thanks to lime leaf-infused Fords Gin, lime cordial and lime juice.
400 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85013

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Nu Towne Saloon

Nu Towne Saloon
Benjamin Leatherman
Open since 1971, Nu Towne Saloon has earned landmark status as the Valley’s oldest gay bar still in operation. Located in east Phoenix across Van Buren Street from the equally historic Tovrea Castle, it's survived a lot over five decades: recessions, the fickleness of LGBT crowds, and a massive fire in 2010 that completely gutted its interior. After the rebuild, the owners haven't changed much, keeping the narrow, rectangular building kitschy (there’s a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower on the roof) and its interior teeming with a seven-foot plaster rooster statue (insert jokes here, if you must) and antiques and memorabilia straight outta grandma’s attic. The decor extends out to the back patio, which was upgraded during the pandemic with a canvas roof and other amenities to handle Nu Towne’s crowds during its popular weekly beer deal on Sunday (where 16-ounce cups of Budweiser or Bud Lite are $2). Regulars visit for a drink or two at the lengthy indoor bar, a game of pool on either of its two tables, or to drop quarters into the Merlin fortune-telling machine. You don’t need to be psychic to know this is a fun place, though.
5002 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, 85008

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The Lost Leaf

The Lost Leaf
The Lost Leaf
The Lost Leaf is part beer and wine joint, part arts-scene culture hub. Occupying a historic Fifth Street bungalow mere steps from Roosevelt Row, the walls, rafters, and bathrooms are adorned with works by local creatives. A nook beside the bar and a backyard stage hosts musicians and DJs across every genre. And it's a popular pit stop on First Fridays, Third Fridays, and most other nights of the month. The curated beer and wine selection is vast, boasting ales, lagers, stouts, and other intoxicating brews in bottles and cans, as well as vino, meads, and even sake. Lost Leaf has been arty, cultural, and cool since it was established in 2006 and opened full time in 2007, back when it was one of the few RoRo spots where you could buy a round. After a shaky period during the pandemic, the Lost Leaf changed hands, but is back on track with plenty of live music and cold brews.
914 N. 5th St., Phoenix, 85004

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Goldwater Brewing Co.

Goldwater Brewing Co.
Chris Malloy
What do you get when two brothers team up with their dad to brew some beer? Add a close family friend to the mix, and you get one of the Valley’s top local breweries. Now, a few years after opening their brewery and taproom in Scottsdale, Goldwater has expanded to include bars in east Mesa and south Tempe. All offer a selection of excellent beers, including the pink-hued prickly pear-infused Desert Rose kölsch and the Machine Gun Teddy American brown ale. Saddle up to the bar in the original Old Town spot for a cool reprieve from the crowds of visitors outside.
3608 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 85251

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Trevor's Liquor

Trevor's Liquor
Sara Crocker
Is Trevor’s a liquor store with a bar, or a bar with a liquor store? The answer to that semantic question is a “yes” to both. The luxe Scottsdale liquor shop continues to offer tastes and activities that invite guests to swing by for an evening, not just for an errand. Its sister location, which opened in north Phoenix this year, sports a golf simulator, pizzeria and cigar lounge in addition to a long bar that invites conversation with strangers and knowledgeable staff. Trevor’s expansive cocktail list ranges from refreshing spritzes that are best enjoyed on its large patio to sturdy stirred drinks. Try Fresh AF, an herbaceous take on a gin and tonic with Roku Japanese Gin, or Whisky Apples, which plays with the classic flavor combination, bringing together Suntory Toki whisky, apple brandy, sherry and cinnamon.
7340 E. McDowell Rd., Scottsdale, 85257

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Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar

Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar
Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar
Kaz Bar was vino-only from its founding in 2001 until original owner Peter Kasperski closed it 17 years later. Enter restaurateur Tommy Plato of Second Story Liquor Bar fame, who reopened the posh lounge in 2019, adding a focus on rare and distinctive whiskeys and a bespoke supper club atmosphere big on leather and wood. Connoisseurs can indulge in any of its curated selection of Scotch, whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes of the high-end, imported, and single-barrel ilk. There are such small-batch favorites and rarities mixed in the selection of over 40 options. Wine lovers needn’t worry, though, as Kaz Bar still has a surfeit of red, white, and sparkling wines, uncorking bliss to pair perfectly with a food menu of snacks and bites with Italian and Asian influences such as a Korean pork belly served in a lobster roll and cacio pepe.
7137 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, 85251

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Duke's Sports Bar & Grill

Duke's Sports Bar & Grill
Lauren Cusimano
If you enjoy watching frolf, there’s not a bad seat on the sprawling patio at Duke's Sports Bar & Grill, which backs right up to the Vista del Camino Disc Golf Course along the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt in south Scottsdale. And if you enjoy playing frolf, Duke’s is ideal for a pre- or post-game beer (or during — you could easily sneak over in the middle of your round). Inside, you’ll find pool tables, a variety of arcade and shuffleboard units, and a few dozen TVs — even in the bathrooms — all tuned to various sports packages. They’ve got import and domestic beers on tap, strong mixed drinks, and a menu replete with fried food (say hello to the mozzarella sticks for us) and burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Duke’s was started by a father-daughter team, Al and Jackie McCarthy, in 1998. More than two decades later, it's still in the family and going strong.
7607 E. McDowell Rd., Scottsdale, 85257

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Bar 1

Bar 1
Matt Hennie
Far from the leather bars, rainbow-flagged saunas, and diva-filled discotheques elsewhere, Bar 1 is casual gay nightlife that still knows how to have fun. Established in 2008, its easygoing, candlelit atmosphere allows patrons to talk in their (gasp!) indoor voices whether relaxing in the lounge seating, playing pinball, or unwinding on the outdoor patio. Daily specials rotate throughout the week, including beer busts on Monday, Long Island Wednesdays, 2-4-1 Thursdays, and multiple happy hours. Menu options include a long list of craft cocktails to pair with bar snacks and specialty shots.
3702 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 85016

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Garage-East

Garage-East
Patricia Escarcega
Garage East isn’t a bar in the traditional sense, but it is the perfect spot to sip away the afternoon. Located in the Barnone collection of shops at Agritopia, this wood-paneled bar serves wines by the glass to enjoy inside or on the Italy-meets-Gilbert-farm-style patio. And you won’t find these wines at any other bar. Garage East works with Arizona growers to make its own blends and bottles. Unique offerings include the Garage East Breakfast Wine made with white wine and fruit juice and the Sonoran Spritz, a bright orange, herbal, bitter and refreshing drink that helps combat the desert heat. On Sundays, this spot serves brunch, and at other times, food offerings include a cheese and meat board, soft pretzel and hot pressed sandwiches.
3000 E. Ray Rd. #7, Gilbert, 85926

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Kobalt

Kobalt
Lauren Cusimano
The current Kobalt is the second location of this Park Central gay bar. In the former spot, about 100 yards north in the same plaza, patrons spent years singing show tunes and ‘80s hits during its many karaoke nights, howling at the big screen during a watch party of RuPaul’s Drag Race, prepping their singles for the next drag show number, or happily ordering another drink. The new location offers all this with a bigger stage, i.e. more opportunities for performers and customers, or both, to ham it up during a wild night at Kobalt. This socially responsible watering hole also hosts national debate viewing parties and fundraisers, and staff members can often be seen around town at protests.
3110 N. Central Ave., #175, Phoenix, 85012

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Gracie's Tax Bar

Gracie's Tax Bar
Charles Barth
Gracie’s Tax Bar gets half its name from Grace Perry, the founder of the bar (and the former singer of the local metal group Landmine Marathon). The other half comes from Harold and Morda Abbey, the original owners of Abbey Tax Services, which once occupied the downtown Phoenix building where Gracie’s has been serving drinks since 2017. Inside, the lighting is kept low and so are the prices. Snag a seat in one of the well-worn booths or at the lengthy wooden bar. Pop a credit on the jukebox, grab a community board game, or put in an order of the beloved fried pickles, tots, or cheese curds made on the exposed flat grill right behind the bar. Most likely, though, you’ll take your beer to the patio, where you may find a DJ and dance party, a movie screening, and often friendly dogs and/or neighborhood cats. Need more information? Just visit Gracie’s nasty and nostalgic dot com-era website at graciesphx.com.
711 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 85007

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Night Owl

Night Owl
Tirion Boan
Who doesn’t love pizza and beer? The classic combination is the starting point and calling card for Night Owl, a new bar and restaurant in south Scottsdale. This is the sort of spot you wish would open in your neighborhood, and those who live nearby are lucky ducks. There’s a large, twinkle light-strung patio, a welcoming bar, plenty of booths to slide into and even some vintage pinball games to keep you occupied. This bar comes from the industry pros behind Little Woody and Ziggy’s Magic Pizza Shop, and the influences from both are obvious. Owls of all sizes and shapes decorate the space, including one big bird that rotates at the center of the bar. The grandpa’s basement vibe meets garage-chic with skateboards tacked to the walls. Beer may be the obvious choice here, but the cocktails are well balanced and worth a spin. Try the Skate Betty, made with Beefeater strawberry gin, Aperol, guava and lemon, or the Darkslide with Tincup rye, blackberry, maple syrup, lemon and basil.
1645 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale, 85257

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Platform 18 at Century Grand

Platform 18 at Century Grand
Barter & Shake Cocktail Entertainment
Modeled after a Presidential Pullman train car, Platform 18 at Century Grand transports you to the glamorous world of the early 20th century. The wood-paneled walls and digital window screens that display stunning natural landscapes make it easy to forget you never actually left Phoenix. Recently named one of North America’s 50 best bars, Platform 18 offers a menu that showcases twists on classic Prohibition-era drinks and original cocktails inspired by the South. Your journey begins with a complimentary glass of champagne; then try Cue The Orchestra, a refreshing drink made with gin, vodka, marionberry, vanilla and lemon juice. Much like with a real train, you’ll want to book a ticket (aka a reservation) in advance.
3626 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 85018

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Chopper John's

Chopper John's
New Times Archives
Chopper John’s is primarily known as a biker bar, owing to owner John McCormack’s taste for steel steeds and the open road. It’s also one of central Phoenix’s best small venues, a rip-roaring dive, neighborhood hang, and low-key sports bar. Music fans have known about the place for years, as the former residence was home to a string of blues bars from the ’70s onward, including Louie’s, VJ’s, McGuires, Warsaw Wally’s, and Bogie’s. Once McCormack took over in 2008, the multi-room establishment became a rock haven with framed t-shirts from local bands covering the walls, rowdy shows, cheap drinks, and cheap thrills. Punks, tattoo artists, and other rock ‘n’ roll types hangout here even when there isn’t a show and the turnout is big on Sundays when Chopper John’s whips up loaded Bloody Marys topped with impossible amounts of skewered food items (we’re talking full-sized cheeseburgers and and Sonoran hot dogs loaded with fixings). At only $5 a pop, they’re a steal, and tend to go quickly. Rock on.
2547 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 85016

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Bikini Lounge

Bikini Lounge
Benjamin Leatherman
In a town as young as Phoenix, a bar that’s been around since 1947 certainly counts as a grande dame of the local drinking scene. Long before Interstate 10 connected us to California, The Bikini Lounge welcomed visitors from the west into town as they exited the U.S. 60. Today, there are divier dive bars and tiki-er tiki bars, but there’s no other establishment in the Valley with The Bikini’s exact flavor of lowbrow kitsch. The bar has no windows, so the place is always as dark as a confessional, conferring intimacy on the most casual of interactions. Thatched coverings, vintage paintings, and tiki masks watch over the patrons, who are a mix of grizzled regulars and hipsters dropping in after First Fridays or a show at The Van Buren. Drinks aren’t fancy, but they’re strong and cheap — just how we like them (make sure you bring cash, though). Over the decades, The Bikini has seen plenty of growth around its Grand Avenue location, but we love it best because, despite the passing of the years, it never seems to change.
1502 Grand Ave., Phoenix, 85007

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Greenwood Brewing

Greenwood Brewing
Natasha Yee
Greenwood Brewing, with its cheery, modern interior and cozy patios, has been a staple of Roosevelt Row since its opening in July 2020. Featuring globe pendant lights, brass and marble accents, vases of flowers and an airy feel, it’s the antithesis of the dark, brooding, bro-centric brewery — with good reason: It’s woman-owned. Megan Greenwood, a home brewer who started with a 5-gallon kit in her kitchen, developed the brand to entice more women to enjoy craft beer. The flagship brew, a pale ale, is called Herstory, and Greenwood also makes Rosemary IPA, among other core and rotating experimental brews. In addition to its inviting indoor space, the brewery offers two outdoor courtyards with misters in the summer and heaters in the winter, and you can conveniently order food from nearby establishments via a QR code on the tables. Greenwood Brewing also hosts events such as Sunday Funday with $10 flights and live music, and trivia on Tuesdays.
922 N. 5th St., Phoenix, 85004

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Barcoa Agaveria

Barcoa Agaveria
Tirion Boan
Food festival producer David Tyda says he never set out to be a bar owner. But when he opened Barcoa with Ryan Oberholtzer in 2020, the space quickly became a haven for agave spirit enthusiasts. And, you can choose just how far down the rabbit hole you’d like to go, as Barcoa houses not one bar but two. The cantina on the main level is energetic and connected to Latino and indigenous arts organization Xico. Browse artists’ work on First Fridays and sip on a Mezcalrita on the patio. There’s also a solid rotation of food trucks thanks to Tyda’s food festival connections. For a more intimate evening, make reservations for the basement bar. Choose from a wide selection of agave spirits, or have one of the bartenders make you a craft cocktail, such as the Leche de Pistachio, made with mezcal, pistachio milk and lime.
829 N. First Ave., Phoenix, 85003

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The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit
Tirion Boan
Look for the red light on a side street in downtown Gilbert to find this stylish underground speakeasy in the historic Heritage Court Building. Sign up on the website to get the monthly password, and descend the staircase to start The White Rabbit adventure. A narrow hallway flanked with apothecary-inspired decor seems to dead end at a bookcase that’s actually the door leading to a dark, well-appointed lounge with sumptuous leather seating, Victorian-era details and locked cabinets holding prized spirits, including bottles of The White Rabbit’s private label made by Old Forester and Woodford Reserve. Here, it’s all about the cocktails, which are listed in ascending order of sweetness. At the top of the menu sits the Half-Way Crooked, made with Old Forester bourbon, maple, chocolate and apricot; at the bottom, customers will find the Scarlet Sundown, made with Kasama rum, spiced rum, pomegranate, passionfruit, watermelon and citrus. The bar is housed in former office suites, and the restrooms reflect these origins with frosted glass on the doors, which adds to the vintage cool factor.
207 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, 85234

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Seamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub & Restaurant

Seamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub & Restaurant
Jacob Tyler Dunn
A downtown staple for 30 years, Seamus McCaffrey’s attracts a crowd that reflects the changing neighborhood it inhabits: city and county employees, upwardly mobile loft-dwellers, and service-industry workers (Seamus is your favorite downtown bartender’s favorite bar). It also has a tough-to-beat selection of Scotch and Irish whiskey, traditional Irish fare like Shepherd’s Pie and fish chips, and live music on the weekends (when it can get crowded in here). And don’t miss the bar’s flagship festivity: its raucous annual St. Patrick’s Day street party, when they close off Monroe and the sweet smell of Guinness wafts for blocks.
18 W. Monroe St., Phoenix, 85003

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The Liar's Club

The Liar's Club
Tirion Boan
After navigating through a bumpy path to opening, Liar’s Club welcomed its first customers into its funky digs in downtown Phoenix in late 2022. The long, narrow space features a bar on one wall and high tables and booth seating on the other. Dim, warm lights illuminate the tables, highlighting the artful drinks and drool-worthy pizza that everyone orders. The food and drinks don’t quite match — Detroit-style squares of nostalgic cheesy goodness, wings and fries paired with high-level mixology — but it works. The contradiction fits the name and the space, which is perfect for a chill date night or a quick bite before heading to a concert downtown. And, a giant plastic alligator perches on one wall, because, well, why not?
130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85004

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Linger Longer Lounge

Linger Longer Lounge
Lauren Cusimano
Many bars are trying to take us back in time. Some do a painfully obvious song and dance; others do it so well it feels like the cigarette machine’s been in that spot for decades. Linger Longer Lounge is in the latter camp, pairing modern amenities with comforts from decades past. Admire the vintage neon Silver Bullet Coors Light sign while ordering a White Claw. Flip through a jukebox of Queen and Willie Nelson (and Tenacious D) as you wait for a dog from Der Wurst Hot Dogs. Tack on a seasonal brunch offering, raucous dance nights, a soft-lit breezeway for smokers, and a whole room dedicated to pool, and we hope Linger Longer lingers on for decades to come.
6522 N. 16th St., #6, Phoenix, 85016

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Handlebar-J

Handlebar-J
Courtesy of Handlebar-J
Folks have ambled into this honky-tonk hideout since the ’60s, back when Waylon Jennings was a regular, patrons hitched their horses outside, and the place was called Wild Bill’s. Its corner of North Scottsdale has become a bit more ostentatious in the ensuing years (they didn’t have beauty bars or tanning salons back in Waylon’s day), but Handlebar J’s has stayed true to its old-school country pedigree. Inside, hundreds of cowboy hats hang from the rafters, Wild West ephemera is everywhere, and a full selection of brews and booze are available at its sprawling bar. There are wings, burgers, and racks of ribs on the menu and both country and western coming from the sound system or stage. The historic bar is owned by members of the Herndon family, who have kept Handlebar J’s spirit going for decades now, and celebrity crooners like Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson, and Vince Gill have all drank and sang here.
7116 E. Becker Lane, Scottsdale, 85254

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Buffalo Chip Saloon

Buffalo Chip Saloon
Lauren Cusimano
This good-times country bar and grill brims with Stetson hats, neon beer signs, and caddies full of barbecue sauce. It’s an ideal spot for watching a Packers game, taking free dancing lessons on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, and catching some live country music and cover rock. It is also huge: 6,000 square feet, with multiple bars and a small rodeo arena out back. The amateur bull riders are in the bullpen on Wednesday and Friday nights. The food menu includes Texas barbecue and burgers to complete the Wild Western experience.
6823 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, 85331

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Carly's Bistro

Carly's Bistro
Lauren Cusimano
For 15 years, diners have been lining up to order salads and sandwiches at Carla Wade Logan’s café on Roosevelt Street. But the cocktails here are first-rate, too. The Prickly Pear Margarita is hot pink and ice-cold, a must-try for visitors to the desert or those just bar-hopping on a hot day. The Whiskey Sangria is sought after by many a happy hour patron. Don’t sleep on the classics, either: We’re big fans of the mojito and the bloody mary here. Carly’s was an early RoRo spot, and it’s still one of the best in the neighborhood.
128 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 85004

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Pat O's Bunkhouse Saloon

Pat O's Bunkhouse Saloon
Lauren Cusimano
Pat O’s puts the “G” in the Melrose District’s LGBTQ scene — its clientele is largely gay men, many of whom are unabashedly members or fans of the bear or leathermen subcultures. Former owner and namesake Pat Olivo (a fixture in the local gay scene for decades) died in March 2022, but his bar continues his legacy. Here, you might stumble into discussions of Phoenix’s LGBTQ history or trans rights, games of bingo or poker, or parties out on the ample, fenced-in outdoor patio to go along with Sunday darts tournaments and daily drinks specials. Within its roomy interior (it’s a former home converted decades ago), a large bar, various tables and countertops, relics from now-defunct local gay bars, and plenty of playful banter and flickering laughter are waiting. Pat O’s is a local institution.
4428 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 85013

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Valley Bar

Valley Bar
Benjamin Leatherman
Indicated by nothing more than a glowing red sign above a back-alley door, and possibly a line, Valley Bar is an underground lounge and music venue run by the same team behind Crescent Ballroom. It sits in the basement of a building constructed in 1949 that was formerly home to Phoenix-famous businesses like The Hub art galleries, Bickoff’s Deli, Theater Triad, and Sub Cultural Arts Center. The latter hosted up-and-coming bands of yesteryear, like Green Day, Sound Garden, and Bad Brains. Valley Bar does the same today; its calendar includes local DJ nights, trivia nights, and local and national touring acts. In addition to the stage and the main bar, there’s also the dimly lit Rose Room, a lounge area adorned with campy artwork where the bartenders serve up a sweet selection of draft beer, wine, and specialty cocktails named after local politicians (The Original Sinema, The McCain, Ground Control to Captain Kelly). This subterranean lair includes darts, billiards tables, and Skee-Ball, as well.
130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85003

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SK Lounge

SK Lounge
Tirion Boan
Set among the suburban chain restaurant sprawl that fills much of Surprise and the West Valley is a swanky local cocktail bar that, while seemingly out of place, fills a need for area residents who otherwise would have to drive quite a distance to find something similar. SK Lounge is a neighbor and sister concept to Saigon Kitchen Vietnamese restaurant, but the bar takes a decidedly more loungey approach. Plush jewel-toned sofas surround low tables that are illuminated by overhead chandeliers, and on weekends, the space features live piano music. Martinis are made with lychee and passionfruit, while lowball cocktails feature ingredients such as Shibui rice whisky and maple syrup.
14071 W. Bell Rd., Surprise, 85374

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Central Records

Central Records
Tirion Boan
On a quiet stretch of Central Avenue, close to the bustling district of Roosevelt Row, Central Records has put down roots. This new space is a wine bar, record store, coffee shop and cafe all in one. Stop by for a coffee, and then work on your laptop until it’s time to order a bottle of wine to split with friends. In the evenings, DJs spin vinyl records while a giant disco ball casts sparkles across the warmly lit room. Sit near the window, at a table with raw wood banquette seating, or at the low bar if you want to chat to the barista-cum-bartender about the latest offerings.
824 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85004

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Rusty Spur Saloon

Rusty Spur Saloon
Rusty Spur Saloon
A genuine historic landmark, the Rusty Spur fits Old Town Scottsdale’s penchant for Western kitsch like a tasseled glove. The compact building started life as a circa-1920s savings and loan (the city’s first), later becoming a saloon in 1958 where liquor was stored in the vault and cowboys and cowgirls slaked their thirsts. These days, Rusty Spur still serves the Wrangler-wearing crowd, as well as tourists, locals, and the occasional celebrity (Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, and Post Malone have all been sighted here). It packs as much rustic charm and kitsch as ever, from the wagon-wheel chandelier overhead and cheeky bar stools shaped like the legs and posteriors of can-can girls to the license plate collection, mounted deer heads, dollar bills, and antiques decorating every inch of space. Local country, Americana, and rockabilly artists rip it up on a tiny corner stage daily and nightly, creating a party atmosphere where patrons dance if they can find room. Yee-haw.
7245 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 85251

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Melinda's Alley

Melinda's Alley
Lauren Cusimano
Yes, Melinda’s Alley is hard to find, and it’s only open two nights a week, but this hidden spot is worth seeking out. Enter on the side of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel under the colorful mural, and head downstairs into a red-hued space. Seriously, it’s super red as the lights make any other color disappear. This spot is moody, intriguing, and a feast for the senses. Check the chalk board for a rotating list of cocktail specials served in coupes, crystal-cut rocks glasses and other glamorous vessels. After securing your drink at the bar, wander around and explore the different seating arrangements, most of which comprise low coffee tables surrounded by vintage velvet- and fabric-upholstered chairs and settees.
50 E. Adams St., (Basement), Phoenix, 85004

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Ghost Donkey

Ghost Donkey
Ghost Donkey
Mezcal and tequila fans, Ghost Donkey is your utopia. Boasting a lengthy menu of both agave-based spirits, this Mexico-inspired bar balances a darkly lit space with a canopy of string lights overhead, making for a kiss-of-disco party feel. Grab a bar seat or sit back and chill at any of the cozy booths on the perimeter. The food menu is succinct and made with snacking in mind — think nachos, tacos, queso fundido, and chips and salsa. But, it’s really all about the 10 or so featured cocktails, all focused on tequila or mezcal, of course. Unlike its Vegas counterpart that, in true speakeasy style, requires a little search to find, this location has an entrance on a busy stretch of Second Street and is sandwiched between its showier sister restaurants Cham Pang Lanes and Palma. Just look for the humble door with the donkey on it, walk on in, raise a glass and say “Salud!”
903 N. Second St., Phoenix, 85004

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Lylo Swim Club

Lylo Swim Club
Chris Malloy
Rattan open-weave pendant light shades sway gently in the wind above the bar; behind them, bold wallpaper features a tropical palm leaf print. At Lylo, a pool bar on Camelback Road, it’s easy to imagine you’ve left Phoenix behind for some island oasis. Guests of Rise Uptown Hotel or those with day passes are allowed to sip cocktails in the pool, while the bar and lounge area, stocked with stools and comfy, colorful outdoor couches, is open to the public. Settle in for an evening of elevated fruit-filled classics, such as Lazy Daze, which bursts with mezcal and mango; Solero, a creamy concoction with passionfruit; or the Seasonal Sorbet Belini, which mixes drinks with dessert for the best of both worlds. The food menu offers small plates, tacos and other Mexican- and Southwest-inspired dishes.
400 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85013

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Gabby's

Gabby's
Lauren Cusimano
Gabby’s Bar & Grill has been around since 1983 along the Old 87, making it one of the closest bars to the grave of legendary Phoenix drinker-musician Waylon Jennings. In those days, the Mesa watering hole was owned by legendary Valley bar runner Sunstrom and the late Phoenix artist Greg Sheldon. Sheldon’s cartoons no longer adorn the walls (not in plain sight, anyway), but Gabby’s has stuck to its roadhouse-style roots. Expect karaoke nights, a lively patio, TVs, and a menu of fried bar food. If you’re looking for a full meal, go with the gigantic, excessively juicy burgers made on the open grill; for a snack, we like the mozzarella sticks. There are also two pool tables. Gabby's recently got a face lift, but despite the renovation, that great, old bar vibe remains.
635 N. Country Club Dr., Mesa, 85201

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Wren House Brewing Co.

Wren House Brewing Co.
Lauren Cusimano
Drew Pool and Preston Thoeny opened Wren House Brewing Co. in 2016 in a historic 1930s home in the Green Gables neighborhood. Inside the taproom (which still very much looks like a house), it’s easy to make friends at the large wooden community table after ordering off the chalkboard menu, which changes daily. You can also expect to see takeout brought in from nearby restaurants along with a host of food trucks that pull up out front. Grab a beer from the bar and get a good look at the trinkets and plastic dinosaurs along the ledge before heading outside to a patio table. The beer hall is known for its award-winning Spellbinder hazy IPA, fruit-filled Las Frescas series and staple Valley Beer lager. Wren House is expanding, with a production facility up and running in Prescott and two new taprooms coming soon. But we're partial to the original, albeit tiny, digs.
2125 N. 24th St., Phoenix, 85008

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First Draft Book Bar

First Draft Book Bar
Allison Young
Walk into First Draft Book Bar, and you’ll immediately know that you’re in a different kind of bar. Located inside Changing Hands Bookstore, it’s a place where you can grab a magazine before you slide up to the counter with your laptop and order wine or a craft beer. The vibe is chill but cerebral. Serious and fun conversations happen at the bar, where servers handle drink and food orders with ease. Find a seat at one of the high-top tables, wander the aisles and peruse books, or catch a talk by a visiting author in the open room behind the stacks. A chalkboard menu showcases a variety of Arizona wines and locally brewed beers. Alcohol flights are available, as are small bites such as hummus, pretzels with cheese dip, artichoke dip and cookies. First Draft Book Bar is the perfect place for chilling with friends, engaging in animated discussions or reading quietly with a glass of wine in hand.
300 W. Camelback Road #1, Phoenix, 85013

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Bar 1912

Bar 1912
Georgann Yara
Hidden behind the restaurant on Seventh Avenue, Valentine’s love letter to Arizona cuisine continues in drink form. The entry of Bar 1912 is marked only by a neon sign that reads “Cocktails.” Inside, Mission revival-style niches behind the bar framing bottles, but the space’s feeling, down to its staff-curated vinyl, is a nod to Japanese listening rooms. Bar 1912’s menu takes cues from Arizona, including a quintet of cocktails inspired by the state’s five Cs. Try Cotton or Cattle. Cotton packs a playful pistachio flavor that conjures thoughts of pistachio cotton candy, while Cattle riffs on a classic Manhattan, infusing rye whiskey and añejo tequila with bone marrow. The fat-washing results in a velvety spirit-forward drink without the bite. Chef Donald Hawk and his team crank out elevated bites inspired by classic bar snacks, such as foie gras-stuffed olives and whipped pimento-raclette cheese. This all makes Bar 1912 a solid standalone spot or a perfect part of a splurge-worthy night that includes dinner at Valentine.
4130 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 85013

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The Dubliner Irish Pub & Restaurant

The Dubliner Irish Pub & Restaurant
Lauren Cusimano
Despite the name, this north-central Phoenix pub isn’t for Joyce scholars. Here, you’re far more likely to encounter UFC fans shooting Jameson than bookish types sipping Beamish. But that’s not to say the place is lacking in history. Established in 1985 by Seamus McCaffery (namesake of the popular downtown Phoenix pub), The Dubliner is said to be Phoenix’s first pub to serve Guinness on tap. It still does, of course, along with Harp and Smithwick’s. The food menu features Irish fare like chicken with Guinness gravy and a side of soda bread, Irish beef stew, and — our favorite — Jameson chocolate bread pudding.
3841 E. Thunderbird Rd., Phoenix, 85032

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TCBC Beer

TCBC Beer
Lauren Cusimano
Litchfield Park is packed with history, which is obvious as you drive around its palm tree-lined streets and past the celebrated Wigwam Resort. But tucked into one of the Pueblo-style buildings across the street is a rock ’n’ roll brewery that’s dialing up the volume on this otherwise sleepy destination. TCBC, which stands for Transplant City Brewing Co., started in a tiny space next door to its current digs. At the new spot, the bright and welcoming brewery showcases an industrial finish, with block walls and a cement floor, coupled with copious natural light and warm wood accents. Colorful portraits of musical greats line the walls. Beers on tap feature creative names such as Get’n Funky, a fruited sour made with marionberry, raspberry and pineapple; Next Stop is the Westside Motel, a West Coast IPA; and Tiffany, Bloody Tiffany, an amber with blood oranges.
103 W. Honeysuckle St., Litchfield Park, 85340

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Luckys Indoor Outdoor

Luckys Indoor Outdoor
Luckys Indoor Outdoor
The name of this downtown Phoenix bar hints at the space, which functions really as two separate concepts: Luckys Indoor and Luckys Outdoor. Inside, the vibe is all college dive bar, complete with low lighting, pool tables, twinkle lights and Skee Ball. Outside, the huge patio space includes a large deck, a grassy area with picnic tables and swinging chairs, and a food truck slinging cheesy and delicious arepas. The unifying factor is the craft cocktails. They’re surprisingly complex; some have up to 10 different ingredients. For a simple yet trendy option, try the Spaghett made with Miller High Life, Aperol and lemon.
817 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, 85004

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The Golden Pineapple

The Golden Pineapple
Lauren Cusimano
This unassuming neighborhood watering hole located just down the street from Arizona State University stands out thanks to a decades-old sprawling and towering ficus tree that shades a cozy, street-side, dog-friendly patio. The Golden Pineapple Craft Lounge’s rustic entrance gives way to a space that exudes laid-back beachside vibes with dining tables, high-tops and a J-shaped bar where bartenders work their magic. The impressive cocktail menu features thoughtful versions of classics. Order the house margarita with mezcal instead of tequila and spicy with a five-pepper agave mixer. The Malaysian Mule gets its flair from Thai chile and lemongrass. And Wild Turkey 101 that’s infused with Benton’s bacon is the base for the old fashioned. The food menu leans heavy on plates meant to be shared. Warm plantains get the nachos treatment with a pile of queso blanco, carne asada, jalapeno and cotija; while the Navajo taco and masa fritters are departures from typical bar fare.
2700 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 85282

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Little Rituals

Little Rituals
Jackie Mercandetti Photo
At the ritzy, intimate Little Rituals, Aaron DeFeo executes intense, cocktail-geek-tickling drinks in a plush room with a view of Chase Field and distant mountains from the fourth floor of the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott. Split spirit bases are the norm. Ingredients like Amari, house liqueurs, and salty foam provide delicate edits, usually many in a single drink. A daiquiri, for example, gets fortified with curry and Sichuan pepper oil. Little Rituals is home to many award-winning bartenders and is widely regarded as a top class cocktail bar nationwide.
132 S. Central Ave., 4th Floor, Phoenix, 85004

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TT Roadhouse

TT Roadhouse
Lauren Cusimano
Upon entering TT Roadhouse, a petite neighborhood tavern with a hint of biker bar in south Scottsdale, you’re not sure where to look first. There are shelves of impressive whiskeys (and beer, don’t worry), a TT Roadhouse-emblazoned pool table felt and multitudes of racing tchotchkes (the bar is named after a motorcycle race on the Isle of Man). The small structure was a farmhouse at some point, but a bar since the early ’60s. For fun, you’ve got the jukebox packed with punk, ska, outlaw country, New Wave, and long-haul trucker anthems, a feature film playing on the TV, or conversations with a friendly, longtime bartender or patron. TT Roadhouse was run by the late Richard “Rick” Skoog (though most called him Skoog) from 2009 'till 2020, but the bar has not lost its flavor since his death. Not sure what to order at TT? Try the Trashcan Special — a can of PBR or Hamm’s with a well shot for $4.50, all day, every day.
2915 N. 68th St., Scottsdale, 85251

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Oro Brewing Co.

Oro Brewing Co.
Chris Malloy
Oro Brewing Co. has racked up an impressive list of awards for its beers, but you wouldn’t know it from the relaxed and welcoming taproom situated in an early 1900s building full of friendly servers and customers. The high-quality offerings and unpretentious attitude are two reasons it’s helped Mesa become a go-to for gregarious beer enthusiasts who love to gab about their favorites. It’s worth a visit just to try the 2022 Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner Cafe Oro, a coffee blonde ale. But Oro also pours an award-winning blonde ale called Inside the Park along with IPAs, stouts, wheat beers and rotating and seasonal selections ranging from fruited sours to spiced ales. The taproom serves wine and cider, too, but there’s no kitchen. The good news, however, is you can grab anything from empanadas and tacos to burgers and fried chicken from nearby restaurants and bring it in. Many neighboring eateries also offer delivery.
210 W. Main St., Mesa, 85201

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Sidecar Social Club

Sidecar Social Club
Sidecar Social Club
Sidecar Social Club may be one of the Phoenix bar scene’s best kept secrets. Tucked behind Ocotillo and sharing the same palo verde-dotted, string-light adorned, swoony patio, the drinking establishment can be easy to breeze past. But it’s worth the stop. The cocktail bar serves classics, including its namesake shaken drink, along with fun, inventive “cocktails of the moment,” developed in-house. Be sure to check the chalkboard inside for the latest creations. Belly up to the outdoor bar or settle into the dark, moody lounge — both are perfect after-sunset destinations. Because Sidecar shares a space with Ocotillo, guests can linger over tipples while enjoying food from the restaurant at dinnertime or during brunch.
3243 N. Third St., Suite A, Phoenix, 85012

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The Womack

The Womack
Benjamin Leatherman
The Womack takes its cues from Phoenix’s past, paying tribute to one of the city’s most famed cocktail parlors. Opened in 2016 by local restaurateur Tucker Woodbury in the heart of Seventh Street’s upscale restaurant district, it's a stylish homage to downtown’s long-defunct Chez Nous lounge, mimicking its layout, ambiance, and swanky look, right down to the gold and black flocked wallpaper and dimly lighted setting. (The name itself is a reference to Chez Nous’ original owners, Andy and Maureen Womack.) Other tips of the hat include the mirrored ceiling, vintage fixtures, tuck-and-roll vinyl booths, a parquet dance floor, and a roster of local funk and R&B musicians performing on the regular. A cocktail menu with classics like the sloe gin fizz, cobbler, and mint julep also plays into the throwback theme. Its selection of small plates and shareable items like bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms, or house-made French onion dip are a break from the past (Chez Nous didn’t have a kitchen), proving you can teach an old lounge new tricks.
5749 N. 7th St., Phoenix, 85014

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Cider Corps

Cider Corps
Cider Corps
Brothers Josh and Jason Duren live by the motto, “Out of bad comes good,” and it was this belief that created the foundation for Arizona’s widely loved and largest cidery, Cider Corps in Mesa. Jason served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and as a part of his healing and recovery from injuries sustained in Afghanistan, he decided to channel his energy into brewing craft cider with his brother. Little did the siblings know that their project would develop into a nationally known cidery. Much of the taproom’s decor commemorates veterans, while the ciders — blue-, red-, orange- and yellow-hued options blended with teas, hops and coffee — have names such as Mango Foxtrot and Private Palmer. Some of the sips are even barrel-aged or made into frozen slushies. Inside, the vibe is chill, and an expansive outdoor space is perfect for when the weather cooperates. And if you’re looking for some gastronomic support in order to go for that third or fourth sample of cider, Myke’s Pizza is on hand and providing exceptional carbs.
31 S. Robson, #103, Mesa, 85210

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Rips Bar

Rips Bar
Lauren Cusimano
True story: Waylon Jennings and the late Charley Pride both bent elbows and sang songs at Rips a lifetime ago. (Don’t believe us? The owners have the photos to prove it.) That’s your first history lesson. Here’s another: The distinctive, Googie-like angular architecture of the building and its Space Age-worthy sign underscore its mid-century origins as a neighborhood watering hole dating to the 1950s. It has undergone a dozen name-changes since – Dutch Inn, Dodge City Saloon, Bourbon Street Blues, and Paco Paco – each bringing in drinkers from every background imaginable. It's still the case, as they keep coming for strong pours from the wraparound bar, plenty of brews on tap, dozens of canned craft beers, drink specials on the regular, rock and punk shows, DJ nights, and thrice-weekly karaoke. The patio is equally popular, often packed with smokers conversing at tables over the clamor of music from inside.
3045 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 85016

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Skysill Rooftop Lounge

Skysill Rooftop Lounge
Jeff Zaruba
At 18 floors above the bustle of Mill Avenue, this buzzy spot atop The Westin Tempe flaunts the title of being the highest open-air rooftop bar in the Valley. Order your drink at the bar, the only covered space up there, and stroll around to soak up 360-degree views of downtown Tempe, iconic A Mountain, the Valley’s vast skyline and the Mill Avenue Bridge, which is stunning at night. The food menu shows an unexpected sophisticated side for poolside noshing. Duck carnitas nachos, grilled filet mignon and the signature burger are provided from the elegant ground-floor restaurant, Terra Tempe Kitchen & Spirits. There’s bottle service, Arizona beers are well represented, and the seasonal cocktail menu reflects the mood of the moment whether the winter briskness calls for dark spirits and baking spices in a rocks glass or the summer heat begs for tropical fruit and vodka or tequila in a highball vessel. But, bottom line: It’s all about the view and a must-stop for any out-of-town visitors.
11 E. Seventh St., Tempe, 85281

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Outrider Rooftop Lounge

Outrider Rooftop Lounge
Tirion Boan
A visit to Outrider Rooftop Lounge feels like a cheat. Surely you have to be a hotel guest at the Canopy Scottsdale Old Town Hotel or at least a tourist visiting Scottsdale to access this rooftop bar, right? Wrong. The high-flying bar, complete with lounge chairs, fire pits and impressive views of Camelback Mountain, is open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome during the day, and reservations are recommended at night, but still, you don’t have to sneak in to see these stunning views. A short but well-rounded cocktail list includes refreshing options that are perfect for sipping in the sunshine. Try the Life Preserver, made with tequila, lime, coconut and aloe liqueur, or Duke’s Pearl, a tropical yet not sour tipple filled with passionfruit, rum and honey. Wine, beer, seltzer and nonalcoholic options fill out the drinks menu. Outrider also offers a well-stocked food menu featuring wings, pretzels, poke, spiced meatballs and mixed tapas to share.
7142 E. First St., Scottsdale, 85251

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Far Away Wine and Provisions

Far Away Wine and Provisions
Tom Reardon
Far Away Wines & Provisions provides Phoenicians with an international dining experience right on Indian School Road. Travel the world through such diverse dishes as Moroccan spiced meatballs, Patagonia sofrito mussels and banh mi. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with flickering candlelight and plush sofas that convey a private, intimate feel. The owners are knowledgeable and help customers navigate the wine list, which reflects several regions around the world, and pick nibbles to match. Menu highlights include the carefully curated charcuterie board and deviled eggs. If you find a wine that you particularly enjoy, you can take home a bottle from this bar-cum-bottle shop. Fair warning: Once you visit Far Away once, you’ll quickly become a regular.
3031 E. Indian School Road #10, Phoenix, 85016

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Roosters Country

Roosters Country
Roosters Country
There’s a lot to crow about at Roosters. It’s been a cornerstone of the Valley’s country scene since 1972 with all the amenities you’d expect: a large stage and red-and-black checkered dance floor in the front, pool tables in the back, and rustic-wood ambiance and photos of Johnny Cash and other legendary recording artists throughout. There are also 12 tap handles built into a repurposed fire truck cab behind the bar. Roosters has hosted local country, rock, and country-rock artists for more than five decades. They also play outdoor gigs on its giant smoking patio, which is equipped with a second stage, two grills, and multiple beer tubs. The patrons are as solid here as the brick walls, friendly folk who say hello when you walk through the door, introduce you to their boozing buddies, razz the bartenders, or sing along with the lyrics during its many live shows, open mics, and karaoke nights.
3731 E. Main St., Mesa, 85205

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Karamba

Karamba
Karamba
The expansive, colorfully-lit dance floor at this gay dance club is almost always packed with bodies, whether it's boys dancing with boys, gals getting down with other gals, or various other combinations. Although the crowd and the music here leans Latino, the welcoming space is home to a diverse crowd during frenzied weekend events, when folks dance until dawn. Monday night karaoke, rotating theme nights and drag shows keep the party going throughout the week.
1724 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 85006

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The Wandering Tortoise

The Wandering Tortoise
Chris Malloy
The best taprooms stretch drinkers to try something beyond their norm. The Wandering Tortoise has a regular rotation of unique craft beers from around the country that consistently are ahead of the drinking curve in the Valley. Its bar team makes those beers accessible, however, offering tastes and showcasing them during in-house festivals, on vinyl nights and as part of community-driven activities, such as a disc golf putting league. While beer is central to the Tortoise, the bar isn’t a one-trick pony. It also offers a selection of wines and meads. If you try something you like, you can grab some cans or bottles from the cold case to take home and enjoy later. Located next to Nelson’s Meat + Fish and home to container restaurant Sink or Swim, this breezy taproom has carved out a casual but serious culinary niche.
2417 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 85016

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Swizzle Inn

Swizzle Inn
Lauren Cusimano
The first rule of Swizzle Inn: No Starbucks Parking. The parking lot in this plaza at the southeast corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road is tight, and the Swizz can’t be sharing spots with the multitudes of Starbucks fiends the intersection attracts. Opened in 1996, Swizzle's plain outside gives little indication of the fun within. Inside, there's a very specific theme of Christmas at the beach. It is one of finest neighborhood bars in uptown Phoenix, a low-key place with a couple of TVs, a pool table, a jukebox pumping out Queen, The B-52’s, and Willie Nelson, and a half-circle bar behind which the bartender pours nothing particularly fancy — but that’s not why you’re here. Just about every square inch of the ceiling is dressed with tinsel and lights sure to bring anyone a little cheer.
5835 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 85016

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AZ/88

AZ/88
Allison Young
Did someone say martinis? At this off-the-beaten-path bar in Scottsdale, you can get a London favorite Pornstar Martini with vanilla vodka, passionfruit, lime juice and a shot of Champagne. If that’s too fruity for your taste, there are always the classics such as appletinis and cosmopolitans. But AZ/88 is not your regular neighborhood spot. The people-watching here is outstanding, with crowds ranging from longtime Scottsdale locals to groups of friends celebrating 21st birthdays and bachelorette parties, from dates to businessmen holding lunch meetings, and much more. Rotating art installations also demand attention. Sometimes a cluster of disco balls dangle from the ceiling, casting specks of light around the bar; at other times, fluffy illuminated clouds fill the ceiling. During the holidays, Christmas trees made of anything other than wood and pine needles land smack in the center of the dining room. Meal options include burgers, salads and sandwiches. Insider tip: Make sure to visit the restrooms. You won’t be disappointed.
7353 E. Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, 85251

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Coabana

Coabana
Coabana
Rum often gets short shrift, relegated to tiki bars and hasty two-ingredient cocktails. At Coabana, a celebration of Miami’s Little Havana and Cuba, the spirit’s complexity is on display throughout the bar’s well-edited drinks list. Here, you’ll find takes on the classics – the Hemingway Daiquiri, the Cuba Libre and the mojito — as well as light-hearted twists such as the Angelina. What started as a riff on a pornstar martini gets a tropical upgrade with aged rum, ginger, banana and, echoing its classic build, passionfruit. The serving flute is topped with a raspberry Champagne foam and dusted with dried raspberries. The expertise on display should come as no surprise given that Coabana is from the same team behind Pigtails and Rough Rider. Coabana’s interior echoes the playfulness of the drinks, with soft pink tiles, a canopy of gold palm fronds shading the bar and cozy booths.
1 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 85004

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Lovecraft

Lovecraft
Chris Malloy
Craft beer bars are pretty similar. Large beer selection. Local stuff. Lots of taps. Lovecraft injects a dose of personality to the Phoenix craft beer bar. Its theme is New Mexican. Fiery chiles lace the mac-n-cheese, lobster bisque, and burritos, and a ristra dangles by the entrance. Its small glass chandeliers and mismatched mirrors and chairs make the place feel almost like an antique shop. Lovecraft’s beer menu is big, yes: more than 100 brews deep. Local favorites abound, including selections from The Shop, Arizona Wilderness, and Wren House. But co-owner Rebecca Golden also manages to snag hard-to-find regional offerings from favorites in Flagstaff, Southern Arizona, and beyond. The cider selection also contains some real gems, like the lauded Blueberry Spaceship Box from Superstition Meadery. Note: The rooftop bar is now open, and it's dog-friendly!
3128 E. Cactus Rd., Phoenix, 85032

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Yucca Tap Room

Yucca Tap Room
Jennifer Goldberg
Yucca Tap Room is foremost a music venue — and a legendary one at that. It’s been around since the early 1970s and is known for offering a stage to the practitioners of the Tempe Sound, touring punk bands, and many other alternative acts. But this windowless, wood-paneled strip-mall tenant is also an excellent neighborhood tavern, frequented by regulars who sometimes arrive when the doors swing open at 6 a.m. to slap the bar and down bloody marys. Yucca has expanded in recent years, taking over neighboring suites in order to add the Electric Bat Arcade. The place boasts good food, too, from breakfast burritos to late night bites. There’s an impressive selection of craft beers, daily drink specials, and a busy dance floor most weekends.
29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe, 85282

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LON's Last Drop

LON's Last Drop
Lauren Cusimano
If you live in Phoenix, it is imperative that you take advantage of the springtime weather, which often takes the form of finding an ideal outdoor happy hour spot to soak in the gentle sunshine. Many bars can serviceably accommodate this desire, but none beats LON’s Last Drop. Even the drive there is scenic, located on the grounds of the historic (though not overly fancy) Hermosa Inn. The bar gets its name from a painting by Arizona artist Lon Megargee, who founded the Hermosa Inn in the 1930s. The painting is of a cowboy watering his horse from his Stetson hat, and LON’s has similar cowboy energy, with outdoor fireplaces, lots of beer and whiskey, and a wood-burning oven that turns out menu items like black Angus beef sliders. Try the house favorite cocktail, The Last Drop, made with High West Double Rye whiskey, Luxardo apricot, sweet vermouth and blood orange.
5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd., Paradise Valley, 85253

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Hanny's

Hanny's
Lauren Cusimano
A chic restaurant, Hanny’s is also a popular downtown drinking destination for after-work drinks and post-game or theater cocktails. Housed in a former department store, the bar nods to the building’s midcentury roots — designer names like Dior are still displayed on the walls, and you might encounter a classic mannequin — and its massive bar is staffed by servers in semi-formal attire working beneath a high ceiling. Take a trip to the unisex restrooms even if you don’t have to go; you walk past a trippy house of mirrors with mood lighting. In a place like this, we always go with a classic cocktail: martini, Manhattan, mai tai, Old Fashioned, French 75 — and all are professionally made at Hanny’s. If you’re in the mood for wine, though, the list is strong, including a timestamped section titled "Six Decades of Napa Valley."
40 N. 1st St., Phoenix, 85004

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Palo Verde Lounge

Palo Verde Lounge
Jacob Tyler Dunn
A perplexing question is: What’s the crowd like at Palo Verde Lounge? All kinds park themselves at this dark, cash-only Tempe bar. Construction workers in hi-vis gear at a prolonged happy hour. Weekly regulars from the neighborhood. New drinkers from nearby ASU. Like the clientele, the atmosphere can be hard to predict. Some nights you might walk into a quiet bar of laid-back folks nursing beers, shooting pool, and watching TV, with “Neon Moon” playing serenely over the speakers. Other nights you’ll find a packed bike rack outside and a DJ presiding over a full dancefloor inside. Still other nights you’ll have to squeeze past a metal band unloading gear in the parking lot in order to enter. The man who oversees it all, Chuck Marthaler, is a former patron turned bartender turned owner, and he retains a keen sense of what drinkers are looking for in their local bar: cheap drinks, poured strong, by a bartender who’s quick to commit a regular’s order to memory.
1015 W. Broadway Rd., Tempe, 85282

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Winston's Cigar Bar

Winston's Cigar Bar
Lauren Cusimano
Note the array of stately leather chairs as you walk in: Churchill’s Fine Cigars seeks to bring a taste of luxury to its east Phoenix strip mall locale — and it succeeds. It’s hard to imagine a fine cigar without a decent drink, though, and as such the entire south wall of Winston’s, the cigar bar inside Churchill’s, is adorned with hundreds of well-organized bottles of spirits on well-lit shelves. Think of a brand of whiskey, bourbon, or single-malt Scotch, and they probably have it. In addition to the slow-sippers, Winston’s also offers classic cocktails, craft beers, wines by the glass, and even espresso. In the back, there’s a large, walk-in humidor packed with cigars for sale and in-house smoking. The staff members know their stuff, too, so ask about where to start if you’re a beginner.
5041 N. 44th St., Phoenix, 85018

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Chupacabra Taproom

Chupacabra Taproom
Charles Barth
Downtown Mesa’s Chupacabra Taproom boasts a global selection of 32 brews on tap ranging from numerous styles of craft beer to hard seltzer to barleywine, but unlike many taprooms, it also carries a decent stock of boutique wines from near and far. This makes Chupacabra ideal for expanding the palate and for groups with disparate tastes. But above all, similar to its namesake, it’s an almost mythical creature: A destination bar that retains its chill, neighborhood feel. Inside the 900-square-foot brick building dating back to 1949, patrons can strike up a conversation with the person in the next seat about what they’re drinking and what to order next. It’s also fun to snag a spot outside and grab a pizza to share with friends from the Goat and Ram food truck. Live music is common, and board games are a given at this East Valley hangout.
14 N. Robson, Mesa, 85201

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Teddy’s Preserve

Teddy’s Preserve
Teddy's Preserve
Situated both inside and outside the lobby of the gleaming Ten-O-One building at the corner of Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street, Teddy’s Preserve, which opened in February, carries off a combo of chic and rustic. Indoors, the eye-popping bar is furnished with buttery caramel leather sofas, smart oval-backed bar stools, custom-tiled walls and a modern glass flower petal chandelier. Outdoors, padded patio furniture provides private conversation areas, while an expansive tree-lined courtyard features metal tables and chairs, string lights and a food truck. The park vibe and the bar’s dedication to conservation are a nod to its namesake, Teddy Roosevelt, and the work he did to grow the National Park system, but the cocktail list forwards to the 1970s with cheeky names such as the Foxy Mama, Brick House and Boogie Down. Craft beer, canned wine, seltzers and mocktails are on offer, too, and food centers on sandwiches, sides and specials such as a smoked turkey leg. Servers are eager and helpful, with recommendations at the ready.
1001 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85004

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Whining Pig Downtown

Whining Pig Downtown
Lauren Cusimano
The Whining Pig has amassed a mini-empire of craft beer and wine bars across the Valley. But we're partial to stopping into the downtown location for a brew before catching a concert or game. Chalkboard-painted walls, funky lights, and the voluminous list of hundreds of craft beers and wines available for purchase all add to the appeal. There are also board and card games within easy reach and a bar made entirely of pennies. If you're feeling peckish, check the freshest chalk for a list of the food specials. The gourmet grilled cheeses, stuffed with the likes of fig spread, pesto, and goat cheese, are real winners.
201 E. Washington Street, #104, Phoenix, 85004

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Simple Machine Brewing Company

Simple Machine Brewing Company
Chris Malloy
Simple Machine’s modern, bright, clean decor lives exemplifies the bar’s name — simple. But this north Phoenix brewery’s creations are anything but. Head brewer and co-owner Marshall Norris has a skill for taking simple ingredients and transforming them into flavor-packed beers, such as the malty Camper Red Ale, chocolatey Paddy Smacker Irish Dry Stout and fruit-packed Tangaroo Tangerine IPA. Grab a table inside, or snag a seat on the patio near the rotating selection of food trucks. While outside, you can watch the small planes landing at Deer Valley Airport across the street. If you’re looking to take home some beer for later, the brewery also sells many of its creations by the can.
701 W. Deer Valley Rd. #1, Phoenix, 85027

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MercBar

MercBar
MercBar
A word of warning: Getting to MercBar involves a bit of a hunt, as the only signage at the cozy lounge hidden within the Esplanade is a tiny golden plaque by its front door. Once you find it, slip into its darkened interior and reward yourself with a potent craft cocktail from its ever-changing menu or a choice from its lengthy list of spirits. You’ve earned it. Sink into the plush seating, soak up the high-style speakeasy vibes, and help yourself to one of the glasses of Goldfish crackers within easy reach. The clientele is of the well-heeled and power-broker sort (befitting its Camelback Corridor locale), offering unrivaled people-watching prospects. Lurk at the Merc long enough, and you might even see a celebrity or two, as visitors to the Arizona Biltmore resort nearby are known to drop by for a drink.
2525 E. Camelback Rd. #120, Phoenix, 85016

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H.B. Hanratty's Pub

H.B. Hanratty's Pub
Benjamin Leatherman
You could drive past this Central Phoenix bar every single day for a year and fail to notice it (and many surely do, situated as it is just off the congested corner of Camelback Road and Seventh Street). What might eventually draw your attention is the sun-bleached sign and vaguely dilapidated Old West-style porch out front. Once inside, you’ll discover a hard-to-define bar. It has the vast, wooden vibe of a roadhouse, though the Arizona Cardinals and Ohio State regalia suggest it’s something of a sports bar. You can also play darts (real darts) or shoot pool at one of the billiards tables that sit beneath stained-glass windows erected on the ceiling. There’s a Big Buck Hunter and one of those boxing machines where you hit the tiny little punching bag as hard as you can. It’s a neighborhood bar, ultimately — one of the better ones in this stretch of town.
537 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85012