Benjamin Leatherman

Bikini Lounge

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.