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The clock is running out and Les Corieri is feeling the pressure of an oncoming blitz.
Super Bowl week, one of the biggest partying occasions of the year — if not the decade — is quickly approaching, and the Scottsdale nightlife impresario and bar magnate still has plenty of tasks to do and many 16‑hour workdays ahead of him. There are contracts with performers to get signed, agents and managers to mollify, details with city officials to iron out, catering menus to finalize, and extra security and staff to be hired.
It’s familiar territory for Corieri and his wife, Diane, who have been in the Scottsdale nightlife scene for more than 25 years and hosted club parties and events when the Super Bowl previously came to the Valley in 1996 and 2008.
“Yeah, it’s been pretty crazy lately, to say the least,” he says, laughing. “I’ve already gone through two Super Bowls and there isn’t a week of the year or a 10‑year period that compares to this. Nothing.”
More importantly, the Corieris also have to ensure that all seven of their bars and restaurants — including The Mint, Livewire, Bottled Blonde, RnR, and Hi Fi — are well‑stocked with libations. When tens of thousands of people come to Scottsdale — arguably the biggest partying hub in the Valley during the week before Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, February 1 — they’ll be plenty thirsty.
“We’re bringing in a lot more extra liquor and beer, without question.”
And that includes a plethora of top‑shelf spirits, since the many celebrities who will flock to Scottsdale during Super Bowl week expect nothing but the best.
Corieri isn’t the only Scottsdale bigwig prepping for the big week. Ren Hirose, general manager of the W Scottsdale, has been busy prepping the amenities and ordering extra Hennessy and high‑end champagne for the guests of the posh hotel. And nightlife promoter Gem Ray is swamped with locking down the details on a slew of club parties around Scottsdale’s entertainment district for the big week.
All three are expecting record crowds during Super Bowl week, and not just in Scottsdale. Downtown Phoenix and the area surrounding University of Phoenix Stadium are naturally going to be major hubs as well. In fact, Corieri predicts that the activity level surrounding this year’s Super Bowl will be more enormous than the past two times the big game rolled through Arizona.
“We expect this year to be bigger than ever,” he says. “It’s very spread-out now, this year. It’s different than in years past when everything seemed to be happening in Scottsdale. And now there’s a lot of things happening in Phoenix and Glendale, too. With growth, you need spread, and that’s what has happened this year.”
And we’ve got the lowdown on everything that will be happening in the Valley during Super Bowl week: day and night, big and small, sports‑related or other-wise.
What follows is a comprehensive guide to Super Bowl celebrations and parties happening across metro Phoenix — from the big fan festival to boutique nightclub events and everything in between, as well as an exhaustive rundown of places where fans can drink, dance, or just watch pro football’s finest in action.
Let the games begin.
The biggest question about Super Bowl XLIX’s halftime show starring Katy Perry isn’t whether the pop star will top Bruno Mars’ record‑setting ratings from last year, what songs she’ll sing, or even whether it will be any good. Instead, the world will focus on how she’ll publicly diss Taylor Swift in front of hundreds of millions of viewers as their ongoing feud unfolds. And, frankly, that’s a little lame.
Thankfully, Perry’s show won’t be the only high‑profile performance during Super Bowl week. Several big concerts will take place within a Hail Mary pass of University of Phoenix Stadium.
Just south of the stadium, DirecTV has constructed an enormous temporary structure called the Super Fan Stadium (91st Avenue and Bethany Home Road, Glendale) on the grounds of Pendergast Family Farm with room for thousands of people. It will be the centerpiece of the satellite service provider’s three‑day Super Fan Festival, which launches on Wednesday, January 28, and will feature concerts each evening on two different stages and various other activities.
The festival’s first night is all country and folk, with Zac Brown Band headlining and Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, and The Cadillac Three at the HGTV Lodge. It’s followed on Thursday, January 29, with a combination of electro‑house from Calvin Harris and Alesso, as well as the R&B artistry of Jason Derulo, the raps and rhymes of Becky G., and reggae fusion from Magic! in both venues.
The soundtrack switches to indie and alternative rock on Friday, January 30, when the Young the Giant, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, and Ingrid Michaelson are scheduled to sing. Hip‑hop heavyweight Snoop Dogg will head-line the evening. A VIP-studded, invite-only affair dubbed Super Saturday Night starring Rihanna and co-hosted by hall of famer Michael Strahan will take place on Saturday, January 31, but you’ll have to have some serious juice in order to attend. Gates open at 5 p.m. daily for the public events. Tickets are available online and currently $173 to $179. See www.stubhub.com/super‑bowl‑party‑tickets.
If those prices are too steep, more economically priced tickets, ranging from $24.75 to $94.75, are available for Enrique Iglesias’ concert at Talking Stick Resort Arena (201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602‑379‑2000, www.talkingstickresortarena.com) on Thursday, January 29. Rap superstar Pit-bull and reggaeton singer J. Bolvin will open the evening, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Westgate Entertainment District (6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale, 623‑385‑7502, www.westgateaz.com) also has an offer you can’t refuse. Free concerts will be held nightly at the outdoor mall’s WaterDance Plaza as part of its Super Music Series, which will feature an open‑air beer garden and other fan activities. Things get going on Wednesday, January 28, with Los Lobos, followed by performances by chart‑topping electronic dance music DJ duo The Chainsmokers on Thursday, January 29, and country music act by the Eli Young Band on Friday, January 30.
The series will zoom back in time for ’80s pop on Saturday, January 31, when Dramarama, Bow Wow Wow, Gene Loves Jezebel, and Naked Eyes are scheduled to perform. Everything wraps up with an 11 a.m. show on Sunday, February 1, starring locals Kianna Martinez, Jared and the Mill, and Chad Freeman and Redline. The concerts begin at 6 p.m. every day except Sunday and will feature local openers. Visit www.westgateaz.com/supermusic for more info.
Snoop Dogg won’t be the only hip‑hop legend visiting the Valley during the buildup to the big game, however, as a slew of icons from the genre’s history will gather at Celebrity Theatre (440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, 602‑267‑1600, www.celebritytheatre.com) on Friday, January 30, for Superfest 2K15. The concert will include sets by pioneering rappers Big Daddy Kane, KRS‑One, and Rakim, each of whom influenced the East Coast subgenre. New York City’s King Myers will also perform, and actor Daryl “Chill” Mitchell hosts. Showtime is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $53.
Speaking of forefathers of music, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is scheduled to be the headliner at the Rolling Stone Super Bowl Party on Saturday, January 31, at The Venue Scottsdale (7117 E. 3rd Ave., Scottsdale, 480‑945‑5551, www.thevenuescottsdale.com) along with electro‑pop singer Charli XCX. You’ll need a rock star‑like bankroll to get into the event, as admission starts at $887.70 and goes up to a whopping $66,602.25 for a VIP table with your own security, hostess, private entrance, and other perks. Doors are at 9 p.m. See www.stubhub.com/super‑bowl‑party‑tickets.
And though you won’t have a prayer of rocking out with Rolling Stone without taking out a loan, the annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration on Saturday, January 31, at Gammage Auditorium (1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe, 480‑965‑3434, www.asugammage.com) might be a more reasonable way of celebrating the big game. A host of such Grammy‑winning singers and songwriters as Natalie Grant, Israel Houghton, and Fred Hammond will perform, backed up by local musician Mali Music and the members of the NFL Players Choir. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $30 to $75.
A comparable number of artists will grace the stage at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday, January 31, during CBS Radio’s The Night Before concert. Country will be the focus as the lineup features such names as Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Dee Jay Silver, as well as hometown hero Dierks Bentley. The music starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $69 to $269. See www.ticketmaster.com.
A few blocks away, the spectacular EDM duo Knife Party will pack people into The Pressroom (441 W. Madison St., Phoenix, 602‑396‑7136, www.thepressroomaz.com) for their headlining set at the Relentless Bowl on Saturday, January 31. Doors open at 8 p.m. General admission is $45 and VIP access is $75‑$325. Visit www.relentlessbeats.com.
And if you can’t afford to hang with country or EDM stars (or couldn’t score tickets to the Tonight Show taping at downtown’s Orpheum Theatre), consider attending one of the free concerts going on at Pepsi’s Hyped for Halftime stage inside Verizon Super Bowl Central (Central Avenue to Fifth Street between Madison and Van Buren streets) from Wednesday, January 28, to Saturday, January 31. All four nights, a number of local acts — including Jared and the Mill, Chicha Dust, Sugar Thieves, Harper and the Moths, Heartlyn Rae, and Jaleo Band — will perform with a big-name headliner capping off each night. Arguably the two biggest acts to be featured will be indie pop/dance-rock foursome Walk the Moon on Friday, January 30, and influential hip-hop/neo-soul group (and Tonight Show house band) The Roots on Saturday, January 31. It might serve as consolation to anyone who didn’t nab tickets to hang with Jimmy Fallon during the taping of his show at the Orpheum.
For some NFLers, it’s the best and worst of times. They just kicked off a seven‑month vacation, with time to heal, work out, or sit around and fume about not going to the Super Bowl.
Some still will come to the Valley just to hang out and party during Super Bowl week, while standouts from the AFC or NFC will be involved in one more game before cleaning out their lockers for the season. Namely, the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday, January 25, at University of Phoenix Stadium (1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale, 623‑433‑7101, www.universityofphoenixstadium.com). The NFL’s all‑star game will be televised nationally on ESPN and will pit 44 players from each conference against each other in a battle for bragging rights.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus are among those scheduled to compete. Three members of the Arizona Cardinals will suit up for the NFC, including cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive end Calais Campbell. Kick‑off is at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 and up and available at www.ticketmaster.com.
A massive tailgate is scheduled for 3 p.m. that day in the stadium parking lot and at Sportsman’s Park (1 E. Cardinals Dr., Glendale) boasting regional food selections, an open bar, live music, and interactive games. Admission is $259 per person via Ticketmaster. A bit pricey, but like we said: open bar.
And though fans are busy getting hammered in Glendale, the league will play host for upwards of 100,000 fans at the annual NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center (100 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, 602‑262‑6225, www.phoenixconventioncenter.com) starting on Saturday, January 24. The weeklong “interactive football theme park” will occupy an 850,000‑square‑foot chunk of the building and feature autograph sessions with pros, photo opportunities with the Lombardi Trophy, food trucks, beer gardens, and live music stages.
Children ages 6 to 14 also can participate in any of 50 activities being organized by the NFL’s Play60 program, including obstacle courses, skills clinics, field‑goal kicking games (laces out!), and other physically demanding activities that are sure to tucker out your tykes.
Daily admission is $35 for adults, $20 for kids 2 to 12, and free for those 2 or under. An NFLXtra package also is available ($60 for adults and $50 for children) and includes entry and access to the photo‑ops and autographs. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, and Saturday, January 31; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, January 25; 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, January 26, to Friday, January 30; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, February 1.
It won’t be the only extravaganza to dominate downtown, as a 12‑block radius stretching from Fifth Street to Central Avenue between Madison and Van Buren streets will make up Verizon Super Bowl Central from Wednesday, January 28, to Sunday, February 1. Highlights include a concert series, fireworks displays, sports‑related fan activities, an overize set of Roman numerals XLIX, beer gardens, and other attractions. Gates open at 2 p.m. daily, and admission is free.
Elsewhere downtown, fans with an eye for history can stop by the Arizona Science Center (600 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602‑716‑2000, www.azscience.org) starting Saturday, January 24, and peruse a 5,000‑square‑foot interactive multimedia experience titled “Gridiron Glory” that’s fully focused on football. Artifacts from the Arizona Cardinals’ history as the NFL’s longest‑running club (including Dan Dierdorf’s jersey and an Army Ranger uniform worn by the late Pat Tillman) will be explored, as will the science behind the game. Heck, the actual Vince Lombardi Lrophy will be on display along with hours of footage examining football’s roots.
If you’re eager to hear what the players of today are saying, Talking Stick Resort Arena (201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602‑379‑2000) will host Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, January 27, and feature press conferences and live interviews with both the AFC and NFC champs and a slew of other athletes and pundits. Attendees will get gift bags containing a radio with which to listen along. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and tickets are $28.50.
You might see some footage from the day, along with beauty shots of Camelback Mountain and Scottsdale Fashion Square (7014 East Camelback Road, 480‑423‑6943, www.fashionsquare.com), on ESPN when the network begins broadcasting more than 120 hours of wall‑to‑wall Super Bowl week coverage — including popular programs like Mike and Mike, NFL Insiders, and (of course) SportsCenter — outside the mall and in front of an audience starting on Monday, January 26.
The network also will set up three outdoor stages, all of which will be part of the ESPN Fan Fest and will include fashion shows, cooking demonstrations, NFC/AFC lounges, and even yoga classes. Admission is free, but there’s likely to be much jockeying for spots in the audience. It will run through Sunday, February 1. Visit www.fanfestscottsdale.com.
And it turns out that the battle between the champs of the AFC and NFC won’t be the only big battle during Super Bowl weekend. The merriment will include mixed martial arts action when the Super Brawl Showdown is staged at the Phoenix Zoo (455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, 602-286-3800, www.phoenixzoo.org) on Friday, January 30. A total of 18 MMA competitors will fight like animals during nine heart-pounding bouts on the card, which will air on pay-per-view and include a showdown for the Super Fight Title between Super Fight belt Shonie Carter and Shannon Ritch, as well as the headlining contest of Joe “Daddy” Stevenson versus Dominique Robinson. Red carpet entrances, celebrity and athlete appearances, live performances, DJ sessions, and a silent auction benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network will be a part of the event. A VIP cocktail reception goes from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., the fights will rage from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the after-party goes until midnight. Tickets are $250 per person via www.super-brawlshowdown.com.
Raising the Sports Bar
The formula for creating a sports bar isn’t complicated: Install more flat‑screens than a home electronics store, tune ’em to ESPN, fire up some wings, and serve beer. The formula for creating a great sports bar, however, takes something extra. As for what that X factor might be, well, that depends greatly on what sort of fan you are and where your interests lie, which will offer an assist in deciding which of the Valley’s hundreds of sports bars are right for you.
For instance, if you’d like an eyeful of sports history while watching the latest action unfold, head for the West Valley, to Max’s Sports Bar (6727 N. 47th Ave., Glendale, 623‑937‑1671, www.facebook.com/maxssportsbar), whose vast collection of more than 250 football helmets from various high school, collegiate, and professional teams — including such bygone local squads as the Arizona Wranglers of the USFL (remember them?) — fills eight glass cases. It’s as impressive as the museum‑quality memorabilia on display at Don & Charlie’s (7501 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480‑990‑0900, www.donandcharlies.com), the retro steakhouse with an athletic flair that focuses more on the boys of summer and includes more than 700 baseballs autographed by such legends of the diamond as Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson, and many others.
And if you’d like to look at something other than, um, balls and jocks, the beyond‑buxom staff at both area locations (2135 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602‑954‑8946) and (8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, 480‑483‑0921) of breastaurant chain Twin Peaks offer an abundance of eye candy delights, as well as HDTVs at every conceivable viewing angle.
Conveniently placed screens also are a hallmark of Alice Cooper’stown (101 E. Jackson St., Phoenix, 602‑253‑7337, www.alicecooperstown.com), the namesake of the shock rock icon, serving pub grub options like sammies, soups, and shareable entrées sporting imaginative names, inventive recipes, and plenty of verve (the highlight is the Randy Johnson‑endorsed “Big Unit” hot dog measuring 22 inches). Another celebrity owner and former pro offering game day dining is Dan Majerle of Majerle’s Sports Grill (24 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, 602‑253‑0118), the O.G. location of the Phoenix Suns great’s local sports bar chain. And yes, the former shooting guard and current basketball coach for Grand Canyon University occasionally hangs out and signs autographs.
Jock junkies who care as much about what’s on their plate as they care who’s batting at home plate can find solace and great eats just around the block at Coach’s Corner Grill (333 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602‑293‑3332, www.coachscornergrill.com), a downtown tavern with quality comfort food and a bar stocked with 12 different drafts and spirits like Fireball Whisky and Tuaca liqueur on tap.
The brew selection doesn’t get any better, however, than the unrivaled array of eight different cask‑conditioned and handcrafted ales and IPAs that are created and poured within the walls of Four Peaks Brewing Company (1340 E. 8th St., Tempe, 480‑303‑9967, www.fourpeaks.com). While not a sports bar in the strictest sense, the landmark brewhouse is armed with 32 high‑definition screens both inside and outside. Hit up the place during the cooler months and nab a pint or three of its renowned Pumpkin Porter.
And if you’re still thirsty for competition after the game, Duke’s Sports Bar (7607 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale, 480‑675‑9724, www.dukessportsbar.com) is packed with 12 different pool tables, a pair of shuffleboard games, Ms. Pac‑Man, electronic dart machines, a foosball table, the latest versions of Golden Tee, karaoke on Thursday and Saturday nights, and team trivia on Wednesday and Fridays. Score!
On the rare occasions when University of Phoenix Stadium hosts a concert, it becomes the Valley’s largest music venue. But it’s far from the only exceptional example of places where one can see a show or get a groove on in grand fashion.
Metro Phoenix’s live music and dance music scene is replete with unique venues, rare gems, and hot dance floors, the most preeminent of which is Crescent Ballroom (308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix, 602‑716‑2222, www.crescentphx.com). Tucked in the shadows of downtown Phoenix, the mid‑size concert hall comes by its rarefied reputation honestly with attractive digs, a varied schedule of nightly entertainment — ranging from rock and indie to comedy and drag bingo — quirky dance parties and fun hangouts in its lounge, and splendid eats via the Cocina 10 kitchen until midnight.
And since the Crescent opened in 2011, it’s influenced other nearby venues that followed, like The Nash (110 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602‑795‑0464, www.thenash.org), a red‑hot and artfully appointed jazz parlor with a supper club vibe and crystal‑clear acoustics, where a cast of older cats and burgeoning upstarts gets the air buzzing with bebop, Bossa nova, classic rags, and more improvisational stylings, fitting nicely into the vibrant tapestry of Roosevelt Row.
And what The Nash has become to local jazz fans, the Rhythm Room (1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602‑265‑4842, www.rhythmroom.com), has been doing the for the blues community for 24 years now. Owned by harmonica virtuoso and radio host Bob Corritore, is this bustling gin joint, perhaps the biggest and most beloved hub of down‑home sounds. It boogie‑woogies with regular sets from such esteemed local veterans as Hans Olson, Bill Tarsha, and Sugaray Rayford as patrons dance and drink inside or score soul and Southern eats from the Buzznbeez food truck often stationed outside.
Depending on the night, the energy level is just as high at the Monarch Theatre (122 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602‑456‑1991, www.monarchtheatre.com). The dancehall downstairs hustles and flows with its wall of PK Sound and wealth of floorspace. Upstairs, the lounge bustles with art, Latin jams and live banda on weekends, as well as the occasional rave, while the grotto‑like cellar occasionally hosts the subterranean shenanigans of goth and fetish fiends.
Downtown Phoenix doesn’t have great dance experiences on lock, however, as illustrated by the success of Maya Day and Nightclub (7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480‑625‑0528, www.mayaclubaz.com), a lush, exotic temple of boom and DJs that offers Sin City‑style indulgence around its outdoor pool or inside the adjacent nightspot ringed with lavish bars and VIP nooks, spaces for aerialist and burlesque performances, and a dance floor frequently awash in sound, color, and the excesses of decadence.
Across the street, however, is a far riskier venture: the newly opened Livewire (7320 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480‑970‑6980, www.livewireaz.com), a 1,130‑person concert hall and theater in the middle of the club‑heavy entertainment district that focuses more on live music than the pre‑recorded stuff. It’s gifted with a huge stage, excellent sightlines, and quaint touches such as a proscenium arch, grand staircase, and an antique chandelier. Its proprietors hope it draws live‑music crowds with its attractive package.
So far, it’s off to a promising start with gigs by actor/musician Jeff Bridges and ska vanguards The English Beat (neither of whom get much spin in Scottsdale these days), but it will have to step up its game even further to match the diversity of acts regularly on the roster at Marquee Theatre (730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480‑829‑0607, www.luckymanonline.com),a live music landmark for more than a decade with a packed calendar often overflowing with punk exploits, funk grooves, reggae vibes, indie strums, and hip‑hop swagger, as well as a stage that’s hosted preening rock gods and quiet folksters alike.
Ditto for Yucca Tap Room (29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe, 480‑967‑4777, www.yuccatap.com), the rock dive and Tempe institution just down the road, with its widely varied shows in its main room, which most often does not charge a cover. Craft beers and micro-distilled whiskeys are served in the adjoining lounge, where you can knock one back and rock out simultaneously.
When the celebrities come to Arizona, many will come to Scottsdale. And Judy Kabler will be ready for them.
Significant numbers of the rich and famous visit the big game’s host city each year, but the Valley’s proximity to Hollywood means there will be more than ever. And every one who rests his or her well‑coifed head at the vintage Hotel Valley Ho (6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 480‑248‑2000, www.hotelvalleyho.com) is likely to avail themselves of Kabler’s services as its chief concierge.
And she’s more than happy to give them the hookup on dinner reservations or the lowdown on the trendiest spots in Scottsdale, all while pulling strings, calling in favors, or just making use of her 30‑plus years in the concierge biz and an intimate knowledge of the city. Even where to get a pet sitter, she says, since “everyone brings their dogs with them.”
She’s survived two previous Super Bowls in the Valley (in 1996 and 2008), seen Scottsdale reinvent itself multiple times, kept abreast of current trends, and encountered more stars than a TMZ paparazzo. Suffice it to say, she’s up on where most celebrities — and, ultimately, all the gawkers eager to see them — will be during Super Bowl week.
“I think when there are special events like Super Bowl, it gets to be more of a posh thing and the celebrities start rolling in,” Kabler says. “And that really brings in people hoping to see celebrities and trying to see what’s going on.”
Naturally, Kabler expects to see the stars hanging out at her workplace, as well as at other well‑heeled resorts and hotels. That includes those living the high life at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain (5700 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, 480‑948‑2100, www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com) or soaking up the swanky scene inside the W Scottsdale (7277 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480‑970‑2100, www.wscottsdalehotel.com) and its multiple lounges and bars.
But when they aren’t sleeping, they’ll be sipping drinks and supping on steaks and seafood at Eddie V’s (15323 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480‑730‑4800, www.eddiev.com) or getting their chops in at Mastro’s City Hall (6991 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480‑941‑4700, www.mastrosrestaurants.com)
“Of course, we’re right in the middle of it in Scottsdale with restaurants,” she says. “We’ve got a few hundred of them.” And more than a few nightclubs, bars, and danceterias, too, especially in the entertainment district, which, like Scottsdale’s eatery offerings, has undergone much change since 2008.
“There’s all these new nightclubs since the last time they were here for the Super Bowl. It’s not even the same place,” Kabler says. “So it will be fun for them to come back and see some of the new nightclubs that are there. Those are going to be the hot spots.”
That’s why she will be recommending Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row (4420 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480‑945‑4200, www.dierkswhiskeyrow.com) or the ritzy decadence of The Mint (7373 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480‑947‑6468, www.themintaz.com). And it’s not limited to the clubs hosting parties, as she believes that the entertainment district’s bars will be hit up by stars both before and after more formal affairs.
The lineup of celebrities at parties is rivaled by the number of famous athletes who will pass through Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road, 480‑423‑6943, www.fashionsquare.com) to be interviewed by ESPN, which will broadcast outside the mall.
“And you never know,” Kabler says, “They also could be at Fashion Square just to shop.”
The celebrity scene isn’t limited to Scottsdale by any means, as Kabler fully expects downtown Phoenix to have its fair share, especially with the NFL Experience, and its roster of pro footballer guests, at the Phoenix Convention Center (100 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, 602‑262‑6225, www.phoenixconventioncenter.com) from Saturday, January 24, through Sunday, February 1. Celebrities who also are basketball fans might be at Talking Stick Resort Arena (201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602‑379‑2000) checking out the game between the Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls on Friday, January 30. Tip‑off is at 8:30 p.m. and tickets start at $69.75.
“Then again, you might just cross paths with them out on the street,” Kabler says. “It’s so interesting because sometimes you may not recognize them at first since they’re out of their element, unless they come in with their bodyguards.”
Where to PartyDOWNTOWN PHOENIX
Bar Smith: Pete “Supermix” Salaz and DJ Senbad keep turntables primed for local and touring selectors in their two‑story club and its weekly schedule busy with popular and innovative dance events, including the duo’s Saturday house music night Solstice. (130 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602‑456‑1991, www.barsmithphoenix.com)
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: While Ross Simon is serious about spirits, his Luhrs Building joint is light‑hearted. Ditto for its voluminous menu, filled with jokes and quotes from infamous bon vivants scattered between its rundown of well‑curated drinks. (1 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602‑340‑1924, www.bitterandtwistedaz.com)
Blues Alley Hidden House: If you sang the blues after Hidden House’s closure last year, you’d better change your tune. Wilford Rhine has refurbished and reopened the space, giving it a (slightly) different name and more of a focus on R&B, blues, soul, and rock. (607 W. Osborn Road, Phoenix, 602‑279‑0744)
Char’s Has the Blues: A lovably ramshackle juke joint with a showclub spirit, Char’s glows with red light and smolders with sounds R&B, funk, soul, and blues music nightly while patrons dance along or just watch the action unfold from a booth. (4631 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 602‑230‑0205, www.charshastheblues.com)
Element 14: Before you grab a chemistry textbook, we should inform you that the element in question is silicon, the basic building block of anything electronic. Thus, it’s ultimately the wellspring for EDM, the focus of this Central Avenue club three nights a week. (718 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 480‑650‑3248, www.e14danceclub.com)
Gypsy Bar: Gypsy is heaven for joystick junkies with 40‑odd video and redemption games in its lounge. Try not to get too caught up in a Terminator: Salvation death match with friends, however, or y’all might miss the vaudeville‑style entertainment in the main room. (50 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 602‑732‑5490, www.gypsybarphoenix.com)
Last Exit Live: An oasis of cool cloistered south of downtown, this cozy venue is a hidden gem worth seeking out. Sultry red curtains and moody lighting adds charm to intimate shows and its recent liquor license upgrade stocked its antique bar with a full array of booze. (717 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602‑271‑7000, www.lastexitlive.com)
The Lost Leaf: Great drinks and groovy sounds bring together all walks of life. Fact. For proof, we present Lost Leaf and its enviable beer and wine list, nightly live music slate, and diverse patronage, particularly during the First Friday art walk. (914 N. 5th St., Phoenix, 602‑258‑0014, www.thelostleaf.org)
Sky Lounge: Latin dance music in the rhythmic, raucous, or rump‑shaking vein dominates the speakers and drives the groove on both floors of this long‑running downtown discoteca. Head upstairs, however, for views of the stars, skyline, or the occasional banda act performing. (132 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602‑229‑1110, www.skyloungeaz.com)
The Vig Fillmore: The newest location of The Vig in the historic Cavness House has all the upscale pub’s usual hallmarks (deconstructed fish tacos, bocce ball courts) while fully embracing its downtown setting with its “vignature” drinks inspired by nearby landmarks and streets. (606 N. 4th Ave., Phoenix, 602‑254‑2242, www.thevig.us)
Chopper John’s: Ostensibly a biker bar, Chopper John’s is also a rip‑roaring dive stocked with rock and armed with inexpensive intoxicants. Hordes of tattooed misfits, BoHo hipsters, and arty weirdos jam into its black‑and‑red walls for loud and rowdy gigs on weekends. (2547 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602‑955‑0881, www.chopperjohns.com)
Hazelwood’s First Place: First place, huh? No argument here, as Hazelwood’s is on point and off the charts with everything a great bar, sports or otherwise, should have: TVs at every booth, great food (try the green chili stew), free Wi‑Fi, and a climate‑controlled smoking area. (3626 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602‑957‑2462, www.hazelwoodsfirstplace.com)
Linger Longer Lounge: Finding excuses to stick around the Linger Longer isn’t hard, especially when the kitchen is sending out wood‑fired pizzas until 11 p.m., the bar beckons with happy hour prices all evening on Sundays, or it’s the all‑vinyl night on Wednesdays. (6522 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602‑264‑4549, www.facebook.com/lingerlongerlounge)
The Little Woody: A nesting ground for Arcadians or anyone else drawn in by the glowing owl‑shaped sign outside, Little Woody attracts with bar bites and 24 beers, including The Codger, a can of Old Style chased with Old Granddad. It’s a hoot. (4228 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602‑955‑0339, www.facebook.com/thelittlewoody)
MercBar: Everything you’ve ever heard about the legendary Camelback Corridor lounge is a true, from its hard‑to‑find entrance to the dimly lit interior and unrivaled people‑watching prospects inside. Lurk at the Merc one night, and you just have some stories of your own. (2525 E. Camel-back Road, Phoenix, 602‑508‑9449, www.mercbar.com)
Shady’s: The exceptional libations, talented bartenders, lounge‑like charm, and come‑as‑you‑are atmosphere of Shady’s helps make it one of Central Phoenix’s go‑to haunts. Its illustrious jukebox, filled with throwback jams ranging from R&B classics to old‑school punk, ups the cool factor even further. (2701 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602‑956‑8998, www.facebook.com/shadys.az)
Swizzle Inn: Next time you’re in Swizzle Inn, consider buying a round for a regular. They’d need it. Beloved owner Bob Johnson passed away recently, and everyone’s still feeling it. They’re carry-ing on and keeping everything from the dirt‑cheap drinks to the nautical kitsch, just how Bob liked it. (5835 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602‑277‑7775)
Whining Pig: Greg Malkin made a silk purse out of sows’ ears last year when he repurposed a pet shop into a quirky spot with 100‑plus beers, dozens of wines by the glass, cheese plates, and vintage boardgames and toys within easy reach. (1612 E. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, 602‑633‑2134, www.facebook.com/thewhiningpig)
AZ88: The staff behind the stick makes classics (including Salty Dogs, French 75s, and Old Fash-ioneds) and does ’em well. Same goes for any of its 12 martinis, which are sophisticated and arty without being too ostentatious, just like the lounge itself. (7353 E. Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, 480‑994‑5576, www.az88.com)
BLUR Nightclub: The latest “it” club from nightlife impresarios Jonathan Wechsler and G.R. Boone is a darkened den of dance with neo‑industrial décor, go‑go girls (dubbed “BLUR Bombshells”) in satin and leather, and an emphasis on big beats via its Dynacord sound system. (7419 E. In-dian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480‑662‑5959, www.blurnightclubaz.com)
Bottled Blonde: Thanks to its mix of sexy theme nights, pinup art, heavy pours, skeeball machines, beer pong, and a lively and engaging social milieu out on an enormous patio, this combination pizzeria and beer garden proves that blondes do have more fun. (7340 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale, 480‑970‑1112, www.bottledblondeaz.com)
Cake: Enduring the large crowds and long lines at this boutique nightclub is worth it, considering the sweet life waiting inside. The libations are decidedly top‑shelf, big spenders get pampered with ultra‑attentive service, and the gorgeous retinue of scantily clad CakeDolls offers the best eye candy in Scottsdale. (4426 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480‑625‑0133, www.cakenightclub.com)
El Hefe: Good news, party people: The recent upgrades at El Hefe added room for drinking and decadence at the “super macho taqueria,” a larger DJ booth, new VIP nooks, and digital LED video walls, and more signature concoctions. ¡Ay dios mio! (4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480‑945‑6200, www.elhefescottsdale.com)
Giligin’s: An island of lowbrow fun in the heart of high‑style Scottsdale, this gonzo groggery is home to goldfish racing, gluttonous eating challenges, and the notorious pint‑size Chuey the Rock ’n’ Roll Midget slinging friendly insults and drinks at his custom bar. (4251 N. Winfield Scott Plaza, Scottsdale, 480‑874‑2264, www.giliginsbar.com)\
Hi‑Fi Kitchen and Cocktails: Everything about Hi‑Fi appears to be cranked up to 11. The open‑air bar along Saddlebag Trail blasts high‑energy music from its speakers, serves high‑octane adult milkshakes and cocktails, and paints an enormous wall with 45‑foot‑long high‑tech digital projections. (4420 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480‑970‑5000, www.hifibars.com)
INTL: In Scottsdale, the motto is often “bigger is better,” and this champagne bar and ultra lounge definitely goes as over the top with three bars, one of the largest dance floors and video setups around, and an unmatched amount of LED lights. (4405 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480‑213‑9500, www.intlscottsdale.com)
The King: Competition is king at this rustic Scottsdale haunt. More than a dozen retro arcade games and such lo‑fi pursuits as foosball and darts populate the back room while the booths feature old faves like Rock’em Sock’em Robots and Scrabble. Game on! (6830 E. 5th Ave., Scotts-dale, 480‑947‑3585, www.thekingbar.com)
The Mint: In a city where excess is encouraged, if not expected, a club that revels in the joys of wealth isn’t surprising. Those have it flaunt it at The Mint’s 30‑foot bar, inside private cham-pagne salons, or in the well‑appointed VIP cabanas. (7373 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480‑947‑6468, www.themintaz.com)
Second Story Liquor Bar: Visiting Second Story is like a trip back in time — and chasers of history accompanying drinks. The servers’ duds and décor both lean retro, as do most of its 10 fantastic cocktails, and the staff gladly shares tales behind each classic. (4166 N. Scottsdale Road, Scotts-dale, 480‑945‑5555, www.secondstoryliquorbar.com)
Wasted Grain: Not much beer or booze gets wasted at any of the three bars dotting this 12,500‑square‑foot establishment, which includes a music venue in the main room, a dance lounge upstairs, and an expansive patio in between. The clientele is another story. (7295 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, 480‑970‑0500, www.wastedgrain.com)
Blasted Barley Beer Company: At Blasted Barley, the bar top was hewn from the floorboards of a PBR brewery, the décor features repurposed remnants of the old Tavern on Mill, and the elevated pub fare comes from the mind of executive chef Jason Shaw. (404 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480‑967‑5887, www.blastedbarley.com)
Casey Moore’s: From its famed oysters and memorable selection of regulars to the surfeit of import brews and whiskeys, Casey’s is a legendary hangout and Tempe mainstay. The conversation scene outside on the wrap‑around patio is unrivaled and there’s rarely a dull moment or unfilled seat at night. (850 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, 480‑968‑9935, www.caseymoores.com)
Copper Blues: With 50‑plus crafts and domestics on draught, it’s safe to say that this rock pub and kitchen has a handle on beer. On most nights, acoustic artists, reggae bands, and cover bands grace the loft‑like stage perched above its taps. (930 E. University Dr., Tempe, 480‑376‑1243, www.copperblueslive.com)
Elite Cabaret: With its illustrious days as rock bar landmark Boston’s more than 15 years (and three renovations) ago, this McClintock Drive roadhouse has a new mission: providing a swank setting for exotic dancers and all the generous patrons who want to watch. (910 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe, 480‑966‑0707, www.elitecabaret.com)
Fat Tuesday: The blithe, boozy spirit of New Orleans during Mardi Gras is celebrated daily along Mill by ASU students gathering here and the drink jockeys happy to dole out 22 different frozen daiquiris by the yard or toss out beads. No flashing required. (680 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480‑967‑3917, www.fattuesdaytempe.com)
Gringo‑Star Street Bar: Street Fighter II and other arcade titles mix with street art murals and street food offerings inside Gringo‑Star, making it one of downtown Tempe’s quirkiest hangs and a “can’t miss” destination on Mill for anyone eager to game, grub, or get down. (501 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, 480‑306‑8633, www.gringostarstreetbar.com)
The Handlebar: Handlebar taps into two of Tempe’s biggest pastimes: drinking beer and riding bikes. Both are celebrated at the Mill Avenue spot, which features handy hooks for your ride and an ever‑changing assortment of 48 craft brews available in bottles, cans, draught, or beer cock-tails. Burp. (680 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480‑474‑4888, www.handlebaraz.com)
Mill Cue Club: Feel like shooting stick? Attain billiards bliss at this hybrid pool hall and tavern in downtown Tempe with 10 wobble‑free tables of racking and cracking action in the back and no warped cues, scruffed‑up balls, or torn felt in sight. (607 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, 480‑966‑0068, www.millcueclub.com)
Rúla Búla: Proprietor Steven Goumas modeled his 14‑year‑old public house on an 18th‑century Irish saddler shop, which harks back to the Victorian‑era origins of its building, and outfitted it with authentic and antique ephemera brought direct from the Emerald Isle. We’ll drink to that. (401 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480‑929‑9500, www.rulabula.com)
World of Beer: If you’re somehow unsatisfied with the selections on tap here, just wait 24 hours. WoB’s cicerones rotate its 58 craft and seasonal drafts from 40‑odd countries daily. And there ain’t much dust on its 500 different bottled and canned options, changed seasonally, either. (526 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480‑638‑2337, www.worldofbeer.com)
AROUND THE VALLEY
Bobby Q’s: Boasting big‑time beats after dark, Bobby Q’s dishes twice the nighttime vice in two rooms, each with its own bar, DJ, and verve. Typically, it’s Latin music in one room and hip‑hop in the other with reggae on Thursdays. (8501 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix, 602‑995‑5982, www.bobbyq.net)
Chilly Bombers: By day, Chilly Bombers rocks a sports bar atmosphere with its game‑time spe-cials, pub food, and big match‑ups on its HDTVs. At night, it becomes a Top 40 and hip‑hop danceteria serving more than 20 flavored bombers. (4917 W. Bell Road, Glendale, 602‑298‑0843, www.chillybombersnightclub.com)
The Harp Pub: Imports are available by the dozen at this stately Dana Park public house, including Smithwick’s, Magners Pear Cider, and Murphy’s Irish Stout. There’s also an imposing wall of liq-uor and different drink specials served throughout the week. (1744 S. Val Vista Dr., Mesa, 480‑507‑7827. www.theharpaz.com)
McFadden’s: Located next to Gila River Arena, this bar and eatery is as close to the action as one gets without a ticket. As such, it’s a bastion of Coyotes memorabilia and a place for fans to either toast a victory or soften the blow of a loss. (9425 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale, 623‑872‑0022, www.mcfaddensglendale.com)
Olde Towne Bar: The 1920s‑era Gaslight Inn hosts this elegantly appointed wine parlor, which also carries a variety of German import beers, where West Valley and oenophiles gather for tast-ings or just to gab about the grape. (5747 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623‑934‑5466, www.gaslightinnaz.com)
Saddle Ranch Chop House: This sprawling steakhouse doubles as a swanky saloon and dancehall on weekends, stocked with rustic digs, cowboy ephemera, and a sexy staff sporting six‑guns. The centerpiece is the mechanical bull, typically ridden by brave patrons attempting to hang on. (9375 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale, 623‑889‑7770, www.thesaddleranch.com)
SanTan Brewing Company: The crafty beer barons of SanTan Brewing have amassed a devoted following and ever‑expanding empire through years of well‑curated beers and events — and by operating one of the best brewpubs in Arizona where all seven of their signature suds are created. (8 San Marcos Place, Chandler, 480‑917‑8700, www.santanbrewing.com)
The Shout! House: Tipple on such house specialties as the Raspberry Beret or the Rick James (it’s a helluva drink) while dueling pianists tickle the ivories during rock and pop revues at this West-gate favorite. Or you can just sing, or shout, along. (6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale, 623‑772‑1500, www.theshouthouse.com/az)
Xplicit Showclub: The sirens strutting their stuff at this topless club near University of Phoenix Sta-dium are breathtaking to watch, and not just because of their particular endowments. A 30‑foot‑high pole onstage is often used for death‑defying tricks, including spiraling downward from the ceiling. (11701 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623‑872‑1365, www.xplicitshowclub.com)
Crudo: Regardless of whether you’re craving a classic cocktail done right or an inventive new drink to add to your imbibing repertoire, Bar Crudo can oblige you with craft spirits and handmade and infused syrups and tinctures. Mixologist Micah Olson curates the bar menu at the Arcadia restau-rant with a culinary mind toward pairing flavors and creating balance. Like the food menu, Crudo’s cocktail menu strives to be the standard in town for all other menus to live up to. (3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602‑358‑8666, www.crudoaz.com)
Jade Bar: One of the biggest deals on Phoenix’s mixology scene is Ryan Magarian. Some of Phoe-nix’s biggest cocktail contenders were trained under his tutelage when he came to Jade Bar the first time. In 2013, he did a massive overhaul on Jade Bar’s cocktail menu to accompany the renovation of the bar’s interior at the Sanctuary resort. His mission was to create the iconic Ari-zona cocktail experience, and with crisp, clean, and refreshing drinks. We certainly think he’s on the right path. (5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, 480‑948‑2100, www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com)
Last Drop Bar: You can’t really call yourself a cocktail nerd in the Valley if you haven’t geeked out over a Travis Nass cocktail at the Last Drop Bar at the Hermosa Inn. While the hillside surround-ings are great for relaxing, the well‑executed cocktails don’t hurt, either. Precision and balance is the name of the game at the Last Drop, with crisp flavors often based on classic drink recipes. The ever‑changing house specialty drinks and teetotaler‑friendly mocktails make the Last Drop Bar a place to frequent. (3701 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, 480‑946‑3477, www.hermosainn.com/lons/last‑drop‑bar)
Virtù Honest Craft: Virtù Honest Craft exploded onto the Valley restaurant and bar scene with rave reviews. It even garnered a spot in Esquire’s top new restaurants list. While chef Gio Osso’s modern Mediterranean cuisine is a breath of fresh air in our food scene, the mixologists behind the bar ensure that the same care and quality goes into the drinks as it does the dinners. (3701 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, 480‑946‑3477, www.virtuscottsdale.com)
Windsor: Although Windsor is known to be an uptown hipster watering hole, that’s no reason the bartenders can’t stir up some tasty, drinkable cocktails between ironic mustache combings and bowtie adjustments. Known simply by numbers, the house specialty drinks ($9.50) are eight of the most straightforward yet deliciously creative craft drinks in Phoenix. (5223 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602‑279‑1111, www.windsoraz.com)
5th and Wine: You don’t have to be a wine lover — or even a drinker — to enjoy this pretty down-town Scottsdale wine bar, which offers restaurant seating, an extensive food menu, and a tucked‑away, sailcloth‑shaded patio. But if you do have grape expectations (not to mention a fondness for bargains), know this: 5th and Wine boasts an extensive global list and features $5 glasses of select wines plus “Yanni’s Picks” (premium wines by the glass for $9, $36 for the bot-tle) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Happy hour (a different deal entirely) runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (plus all day Sunday). Oh, and there’s live music 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thurs-day through Saturday, so if you’d prefer a little peace and quiet, hit it for lunch or just laze through the afternoon on a couch. (7051 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, 480‑699‑8001, www.5thandwine.com)
Betty’s Nosh: When the Sportsmans location on Beardsley closed, Betty’s Nosh moved in, picking up the torch for West Valley wine drinkers. Yes, technically, the place is a full‑blown restaurant offering three squares plus brunch, but owner Phil Denaro Sr., who has a thing for mushrooms (and a mushroom bar to indulge his fancy), also has installed an impressive wine wall, featuring about 20 global bottles (and a handful of AZ wines), all offered by the glass. There’s also a Re-serve list for serious wine drinkers who don’t mind shelling out $100 to $200 a bottle for some-thing really yummy. (6685 W. Beardsley Road, Glendale, 623‑561‑6674, www.bettysnosh.com)
Grapeables Wine Bar & Lounge: If you’ve got the time to schlep to Fountain Hills or you’re lucky enough to live there, you can grab a table on Grapeables’ patio and watch the show as the Foun-tain Hills Fountain (one of the tallest in the world) spouts water 300 feet into the air for 15 minutes at the top of every hour. Inside, wine lovers find their entertainment checking out 200‑plus retail bottles on the rack, or simply sitting and sipping from a by‑the‑glass list that changes every other week but typically features five or six reds and the same number of whites. The food menu offers the usual wine bar nibbles (olives, antipasti, fruit, and cheese) as well as pizzas. You’ll also find live music on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, plus happy hour (and discounted wine prices) from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (12645 N. Saguaro Blvd., No. 9, Fountain Hills, 480‑816‑5959, www.grapeableswinebar.com)
Kazimierz World Wine Bar: Nobody pronounces the name right (Kaaz‑MEER‑ehz), but who cares? The important thing is simply finding this tomb‑dark replication of an Old World wine cel-lar with the speakeasy‑style entrance in the back — because if you’re a wine aficionado (and even if you’re not), you need to know that The Kazbar (winner of countless Wine Spectator awards) is Arizona’s numero uno wine bar, stocked with more than 3,200 labels and a wine list that reads like a James Michener novel. Pretentious, however, it is not. More like chatty and funny and filled with as much erudite wine lore as you can handle. Creaky, velvet‑upholstered couches and chairs may look like Grandma’s house, but this place gets lively (as in raucous) as the night progresses, thanks in large part to fantastic live entertainment every night of the week. (7137 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, 480‑946‑3004, www.kazbar.net)
Postino East: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know about Postino Arcadia (arguably Phoenix’s most popular wine bar, circa 2001) and Postino Central (its equally jam‑packed little sister, circa 2009). Now there’s a third Postino in Gilbert, and, like its older sibs, it’s going gangbusters. And why not? The crew at Upward Projects has hit on a winning for-mula: historic spaces made hip but comfy (each with a fantastic outdoor component), approach-able wines, and everybody’s favorite bruschetta, which could be the bread‑y foundation on which this empire was built. Here, you’ll find 36 mostly boutique wines by the glass and over 60 bottles. Don’t miss Monday’s and Tuesday’s Board and a Bottle for $20, but get there plenty early. The offer starts at 8 p.m., and by 8:30 there’s a wait, which is almost worthwhile for the people‑watching. (302 N. Gilbert Road., No. 102, Gilbert, 480‑632‑6363, www.postinowinecafe.com)
Terroir Wine Pub: Brian Mahoney, who owned a wine shop in the Scottsdale Seville before he opened Terroir in 2005, describes his classy retail wine shop and bar as a “pub” instead of a “bar” — partly because he’s Irish (you’ll find Guinness on the bar menu, too) and partly because he hopes to convey that Terroir is user‑friendly, despite what its wine‑geeky name might suggest. The wine list, which offers roughly 35 wines by the glass, gets tweaked every four or five days to keep Mahoney’s army of regulars alert and interested. They sit at the bar for a Cheers‑like chat with friendly bartenders or park themselves (dogs in tow) on Mahoney’s charming, lushly land-scaped patio. A pretty multi‑use room to one side can be used for private parties, business lunches or — as often happens — art classes, which surely elevates the artists’ moods, if not their technique. Meanwhile, the menu offers nibble plates (cheese, charcuterie, hummus, olives, veggies, fruits, and nuts in various combos) plus lavosh and bruschetta. By the way, Mahoney’s crew gives a hell of a pour (usually about nine ounces), so figure out ahead of time how you’re going to get home. (7001 N. Scottsdale Road, No. 157, Scottsdale, 480‑922‑3470, www.terroirwinepub.com)
Timo Wine Bar: Timo was a fire station in another life, and it still has the garage doors to prove it, which are opened up onto Central Avenue in good weather. As great‑looking as the interior of this sleek, contemporary wine bar may be, it’s damn hard to choose indoors over out when you see its tree‑shaded patio. Somebody had time, money, and good taste when they put this charming little retreat together. The global wine list includes 11 whites and 12 reds by the glass, all priced at $5 during happy hour (3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; all day on Sunday). You’ll also find cool food and wine deals such as Date Night Mondays (flatbread and a bottle, $19). (8801 N. Central Ave., Ste. 104, Phoenix, 602‑354‑3846, www.timocentral.com)
Uncorked: Hidden away between two hulking office buildings in the Promenade, Uncorked — which accurately bills itself as “the unpretentious wine bar” — is something of a miracle, successfully operating for over seven years with zero visibility. Owner and all‑around grunt Ali Amundson, a wine wonk who knows how to keep it simple, is the biggest reason for this sweet place’s success. For starters, she’s created a cozy, chandelier‑lit space that makes women feel comfortable, and you’ll see lots of women here, curled up on couches and chatting over glasses of wine. There’s a patio, too, flanked by light‑strung palo verde trees, which lend a touch of romance despite the otherwise Big Biz vibe. Amundson, a big believer in the educational value of flights, offers a slew of them, along with 40 to 50 wines by the glass from a list that changes frequently to keep things fresh for her many regulars. She’s the kind of person who remembers your palate or, if she doesn’t know you, asks questions and makes suggestions accordingly. She also offers other in-centives, including half‑price appetizers during happy hour (3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Satur-day) and Wine Down Deals every Tuesday through Saturday. Wine aside, we would come for the savory Parmigiano Reggiano cheesecake any day of the week. (16427 N. Scottsdale Road, Ste. 130, Scottsdale, 480‑699‑9230, www.uncorkedwinebar.com)
Vintage 95: Housed in a high‑ceilinged historic building in downtown Chandler, Vintage 95 is the coolest kid on the block, busy every day and packed to overflowing weekend nights. What’s the draw? The plushly furnished space itself — part bar, part living room, part dining room — plus an umbrella‑shaded patio and a daily happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.) that features select $5 wines and $20 bottles. The glass‑enclosed wine cellar features more than 200 wineries and 1,000 bottles. (95 W. Boston St., Chandler, 480‑855‑9463, www.vintage95.com)
Apollo’s: We think Apollo’s really sums it up perfectly when it calls itself “the everything bar for everybody.” This unassuming spot is easily transformed from casual dive bar to high‑volume dance party on any given night. Apollo’s is the uptown Phoenix home to recurring Tongue Tied dance parties like Comicon 2014, Mardi Gras Mayhem, and Daft Punk Tribute, plus karaoke, bingo games, and generously poured drinks. (5749 N. 7th St., Phoenix, 602‑277‑9373, www.apollos.com)
Bliss/reBAR: Bliss/reBAR has one of metro Phoenix’s best outdoor patios, covered by bougainvillea and bar patrons on weekend nights and especially during First Friday art walks. The drinking hole carries a strong community feel with its indoor/outdoor bar, weekly karaoke, weekend brunch, and great drink specials, like half‑priced alcohol on Sundays. (901 N. 4th St.. Phoenix, 602‑795‑1792, www.blissonfourth.com)
BS West: Since 1988, BS West has been the gay bar to talk about in Old Town Scottsdale. This two‑story nightclub brings plenty of events to the table, including Drunk Karaoke on Sundays, Wednesday College Boy Party with two‑for‑one drinks, an all‑male revue featuring the men of BS West on Thursday, Elements drag show on Friday, and more drink specials throughout the weekend. (7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, 480‑945‑9028, www.bswest.com)
Cash Inn Country: Look, there aren’t many lesbian line‑dancing bars in the Valley. Which is probably why Cash Inn Country stays packed. Though weekend nights naturally are some of its busiest, Cash Inn Country keeps the traffic flowing on weeknights, too, with events like Two‑Steppin’ Tuesdays, poker nights on Wednesdays and Sundays, and line dancing lessons on Thursdays. (2140 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, 602‑244‑9943, www.cashinncountry.net)
Charlie’s: Where do we begin? This Central Phoenix gay bar gets some serious action, not just from gay men but from fun‑seeking individuals of all sexual orientations. Ladies, don’t be sur-prised if the guys get in for free and you have to pay a cover. Trust us, the soaking‑wet, booty‑shaking, tighty‑whitey‑wearing go‑go dancers are well worth the admission fee. Add to that the indoor and outdoor bars, the pool playing, the volleyball court, the dance floor, and ta-cos from one of the best taco trucks in the city. (727 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602‑265‑0224, www.charliesphoenix.com)
Karamba: For first‑time gay bar crawlers, Karamba can be intimidating. But the loud colors, loud music, and even louder personalities (plus drawn‑on eyebrows as far as the eye can see), are what make Karamba really stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you love karaoke, salsa danc-ing, taco trucks, and videos of Shakira on constant replay, consider Karamba your new home away from home. (1724 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, 602‑254‑0231)
The Rock: Melrose Curve is a mecca for Central Phoenix bar crawlers, with several venues, includ-ing The Rock. This “alternative entertainment” destination is small but mighty in the way of night-life, offering everything from karaoke, darts, and drinking to drag shows and dance parties in its newly renovated showroom. For a look at what The Rock is cooking up next, visit its website. (4129 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 602‑248‑8559, www.therockdmphoenix.com)
Stacy’s at Melrose: One of the newest gay bar additions to the Melrose Curve is Stacy’s. Despite having the interior appearance of a gay church with strobe lights, Stacy’s at Melrose is as much a nightlife hotspot as its more established neighbors. This dark, upscale bar features a Spanish ca-thedral‑style interior with multicolored spotlights, dance floor, outdoor patio, daily drink specials, and attentive staff. (4343 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 602‑264‑1700, www.stacysatmelrose.com)
Twisted Peacock: This cozy little gay bar is jam‑packed with weekly events, including dart leagues on Tuesdays, Wednesday night karaoke, Friday night go‑go dancers, and Saturday sessions by retro goth DJs Halo and AKA. The bar staff is friendly, and the faces on stage aren’t too shy, ei-ther. (3108 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, 602‑267‑8707, www.thetwistedpeacockaz.com)