Party Crasher

20 Places to Party During the National College Football Championship Weekend

In case you haven’t noticed, the Valley has a major case of football fever right now. (And no, we’re not referring to the widespread fandom for the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals.) The biggest college football game of the year will take place a few days from now when the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide battle for gridiron glory on Monday, January 11, during the College Football National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

And just like during Super Bowl week last year, both Valley residents and everyone who’s headed to town to attend the contest (including thousands of alumni from both schools) will be in a mood to party during the days and nights leading up to the game.

In addition to the enormous Playoff Fan Central taking place in downtown Phoenix this weekend, which will include the AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! concert series, a variety of viewing parties, alumni gatherings, tailgate events, pep rallies, and celebrations in support of both the University of Alabama and Clemson University are planned for this weekend and on game day itself.

In short, there will be plenty of things going on in the Metro Phoenix area whether you rock orange and purple or holler “Roll Tide!” For proof, look no further than our rundown of where you can celebrate the National College Football Championship, watch the game or get your tailgate on.

AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!
Three straight nights of concerts featuring nationally known bands and musicians will be offered on the outdoor stage at Playoff Fan Central in downtown Phoenix. The schedule includes performances by The Band Perry and David Nail on Friday, January 8; Ciara, Walk the Moon, and X Ambassadors on Saturday, January 9; and John Mellencamp, American Authors, and Moon Taxi on Sunday, January 10. The music starts at 5 p.m. each night. Admission is free.

Hi-Fi Kitchen & Cocktails
Hip-hop artist (and noted Clemson fan) Hurricane Chris will be the featured performer at Hi-Fi’s kickoff to Championship weekend on Thursday, January 7. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Westgate Entertainment District
Given its proximity to University of Phoenix Stadium, its no surprise that the outdoor mall and entertainment epicenter will offer three straight days of festivities in connection with the game during its Westgate Weekend celebration. Running from Saturday, January 8, to Monday, January 10, the fan festival at the WaterDance Plaza will include live music, DJs, a beer garden, appearances by marching bands, a zip line and rock wall, photo booths, and more. Bands and DJs will perform, ESPN will broadcast live from the event and a variety of life-sized drinking games (including giant Jenga and giant beer pong) will be staged. A viewing party for the game will also take place on Monday. The celebrations start on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., and on Monday at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

Coach’s Corner Grill
The members of the Arizona Clemson Club will hold a “Weekend Kickoff” and southern tailgate-style celebration at this downtown Phoenix sports bar on Saturday, January 9, that will feature plenty of food, libations, and revelry. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is free.

Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill
Show off your Crimson Tide pride during a “Welcome Party” for those who support the school on Sunday, January 10, at this Biltmore-area bar and grill and infamous Valley stronghold of University of Alabama fandom. Several famed Crimson Tide alumni will make special appearances, the school’s legendary fight song (“Yea, Alabama!”) will be performed by a marching band, food and drink specials will be offered, and a silent auction and giveaways are also planned. The party runs from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free.

Maya Day & Nightclub
Maya will offer back-to-back parties during its “Championship Weekend” in honor of the big showdown, kicking off with a gig by DJ Morgan Page on Friday, January 8. Doors are at 9 p.m. and DJ Soloman opens the evening. Tickets are $10. Hip-hop artist Tyga, who’s 2011 hit “Rack City” scorched the charts, will host a separate party the following evening on Saturday, January 9. Start time is 9 p.m. General admission is $25, VIP access is $50.

The Shout! House
The bar’s famous dueling pianos will be performing rock and pop hits both in Westgate’s WaterDance plaza all weekend and inside the Shout! House on Sunday, January 10, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. No cover. A pre-game party and tailgate-style buffet will take place from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 11. $75 per person. The pianos will belt out even more tunes until closing time following the big football battle. $5 cover.

Sports fans can check out the showdown between Alabama and Clemson on January 11 at this Scottsdale nightclub and music venue during the Bud Light Championship Monday Viewing Party. Admission is free and a prize raffle will also take place. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Philly's Sports Grill
Fans of the Tigers can cheer on the team during a viewing party on Monday, January 11, at this Tempe jock joint, which is the home base of the Arizona Clemson Club, starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

W Scottsdale Hotel
Mix and mingle with such famed Clemson University alumni as Stephone Anthony, Kris Benson, Tajh Boyd, Dale Davis, CJ Spiller, Charlie Whitehurst, and others at Clemson Legends Party on Sunday, January 10, up on the W’s second floor WET Deck. Former Tigers standout and Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins (a.k.a. "Weapon X") will host the affair and Big Boi is scheduled to perform. The pre-party starts at 8 p.m. and athletes will arrive at 10 p.m. Tickets are $50.

Blue Agave Mexican Cantina ?
As the enormous Crimson Tide banner hanging from the ceiling indicates, this Scottsdale spot proudly supports the University of Alabama. As such, it will offer a viewing party for the game on Monday, January 11, that will feature a variety of food and drink specials. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. No cover.

Casino Arizona
The showroom will host a viewing party for the big game on Monday, January 11, that will be hosted by AZ Sports Talk 1060 AM and feature a game-day menu and beer bucket specials. One attendee will also win a trip for two to the Cowboy Classic 2016 that takes place in September at AT&T Stadium in Texas. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

El Hefe & Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
Loyalties will be divided during the national championship game as these neighboring Tempe bars will square off against each other during the “Battle on the Block” festivities on Monday, January 11. As such, Crimson Tide fans will gather at Whiskey Row, which will support Alabama, while Clemson Tigers fanatics can head for El Hefe. A similar situation will take place at the Scottsdale locations of both bars, which are situated along Saddlebag Trail. The parties start at 6:30 p.m.

Calico Jack’s Cantina
This Westgate cantina has a National Championship Pre-Game Party planned for those who’d like to drink and nosh before the big showdown at U of P Stadium nearby. The event, which takes place on Monday, January 11, will include a prize raffle, giveaways, and other perks. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 and VIP packages start at $200.

Crescent Ballroom
Tricky T and the other DJs of the weekly Motown on Mondays dance party will have their game faces on when they hit the decks during a special edition of the night in honor of the national championship game. Jorge Melo and DJ Element will also spin. As always, the musical menu includes plenty of funk, soul, and (of course) Motown hits. The event starts at 10 p.m. Admission is free.

Salt Tacos y Tequila
Fans of Clemson will flock to the “Rally in Valley” celebration at this Westgate spot on Monday, January 11, to get psyched up for gametime. DJ DU will spin Top 40 throughout the event. 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. Those without tickets to the game can watch the action unfold at Salt and DJ Steel is scheduled to perform afterwards.

Talking Stick Resort
College football fanatics can check out the game during resort’s viewing party at the Blue Coyote Cantina on Monday, January 11. A game-day menu and beer buckets specials will be available. Doors are at 4 p.m. and kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.

Wasted Grain
Practically every single HD screen inside Wasted Grain in Scottsdale will be tuned to the national championship game on Monday, January 11. Doors open at 3 p.m. No cover.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.