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Bikini Lounge's piña colada, made with Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut.EXPAND
Bikini Lounge's piña colada, made with Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut.
Lauren Cusimano

Dive In: A Field Guide to Neighborhood Dives and Bars in Metro Phoenix

It’s hard to nail down a definition for the term “dive bar.” Outlaw country singer David Allen Coe used the phrase “Where bikers stare at cowboys who are laughing at the hippies,” in 1976, and that may still apply today.

A few common denominators apply. Dives have full-service bars, usually close at 2 a.m., and are often so dark, it’s tough to tell the time of day. If there’s no bike rack, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring your rig inside or lock it somewhere. Other telltale signs include pressboard walls, bathroom graffiti, and maybe a bucket of sand serving as an ashtray/doorstop somewhere on the premises. But above all, almost every dive is considered a neighborhood bar — a place where the bartender knows your name, and, more importantly, your drink.

With that, here is a breakdown of dive bars in neighborhoods and cities across the Valley where you can find chatty regulars, sing-alongs, and cheap drinks.

Arcadia Outskirts

Wanderin

4140 East McDowell Road

602-275-1062

Opens at: 6 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards ($10 minimum)

Bike Rack: No

Opened in 1972, Wanderin offers pool tables, dart machines, card tables, an internet jukebox, karaoke, and an L-shaped bar for just sitting and drinking. Food ranges from the vending machine at the entrance to pizza, pickles, and popcorn. Best thing about this place: The patron murals on the west-facing side of Wanderin are clearly from another, beautiful era.

Gypsy’s Roadhouse

5122 East McDowell Road

602-286-9251

Opens at: 10 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: Yes

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Formerly The Lark, Baja Red’s Cantina, and Daisy Duke’s (and back-dropped by Papago Park), this biker-themed bar was once packed with Motorola employees, and referred to as the “Building L” of the complex that once existed across the street during the Lark days. Now, Gypsy’s Roadhouse has a full menu, darts, karaoke, live music, and free pool on Monday and Tuesday. Best thing about this place: Retirees call their section of the bar “Heaven’s Waiting Room.” Wisconsin native and 30-year regular Rich Pollack will let you know, “I only drink alone or when I’m with somebody.”

Break Room Bar & Grill

4729 East McDowell Road

602-267-1010

Opens at: 10 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

One of the oldest buildings in the area, Break Room Bar & Grill is a stand-alone bar that used to be The First Quarter and Johnny’s East Side. The Break Room used to just be the bar area, according to Linette, a bartender and former patron for over 15 years, and was expanded to include the four-pool table area. Other activities include dart tournaments, karaoke, poker, and live comedy — and you can reserve the place for parties. Best thing about this place: The full menu includes Bank Shot Appetizers, Run the Table Wings, Scratch Handmade Burgers, Bullseye Sandwiches, Hat-Trick Pizza, and Hot Seat Favorites.

Avondale


Aguila’s Hideaway

1235 North Dysart Road, Avondale

623-932-9394

Opens at: 11 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

You really need to know how to get to Aguila’s Hideaway to have any hope of finding it. (Hint: It’s nestled behind Dysart Liquor.) Once Wendy Jack’s Hideaway, and just Hideaway, this historic establishment was built as a bomb shelter, and opened in 1962 as an underground bar in the dry city of Avondale, according to owner Javier Aguila. An above-ground bar and kitchen were built in 2006, and both levels offer plenty of seating, TVs, and of course, inexpensive drinks. The newly renovated underground part goes nightclub Thursday through Saturday, while the surface level offers pool, darts, karaoke, and arcade games. Best thing about this place: During the dry days, Avondale law said no alcohol could be sold on the premises, but Hideaway won because it was selling alcohol below the premises.

Roman’s County Line

10540 West Indian School Road #8

623-877-8191

Opens at: 11 a.m. daily

Cash Only

Bike Rack: No

Though technically in Phoenix, Roman’s County Line has had the surrounding Avondale and Villa De Paz neighborhoods two-stepping since it opened in 1991. The second installment of Alabama-born owner Roman after Roman’s Oasis opened in 1988, Roman’s County Line features live music, lots of dancing and lessons, plenty of seating, Texas Hold ’Em, shuffleboard, darts, and off-track betting. Best thing about this place: There is so much country decor you’re amazed the walls are still standing.

Coronado


Rips Bar

3045 North 16th Street

602-266-0015

Opens at: 6 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards ($5 minimum)

Bike Rack: Yes

Previously the Pick Lick House, Dodge City Saloon, Dutch Inn, Bourbon Street Blues, Poca Poca, and a sandwich shop, Rips Bar has been under that name for over 15 years. Rips offers pool, arcade games, pinball, darts, '80s nights, and live music from local and touring rockabilly, punk, metal, etc., bands. Best thing about this place: These are the former drinking grounds of Waylon Jennings and Charlie Pride, and there are photos of them with former bar owners.

Royale Lounge

2428 North 16th Street

602-253-2217

Opens at: 10 a.m. daily

Cash Only

Bike Rack: No

The Royale Lounge has been serving drinks to the Coronado neighborhood for more than 60 years — though not always under that name. The Royale is a smallish room with a pool table, claw machine, internet jukebox, TVs behind the bar surrounded by string lights, card tables, darts, and pinball. Snacks range from egg rolls, pizza, and chicken nuggets to popcorn. Best thing about this place: that classic, brilliantly red neon “Cocktails” sign seen off 16th Street.

Gilbert Heritage District

Champions Sports Saloon in Gilbert.EXPAND
Champions Sports Saloon in Gilbert.
New Times Archive

Champions Sports Saloon

211 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert

480-545-9669

Opens at: 10 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards ($10 minimum)

Bike Rack: Yes

Found on the main drag in downtown Gilbert, Champions Sports Saloon has been some sort of bar since the 1940s, according to a bartender. Amenities include pool tables, TVs, darts, pinball, arcade games, and retro Arizona sports team posters. It also has snacks, a deep fryer, and a pizza oven, or you can bring in food from one of the many surrounding restaurants (hint: Lindsay likes the cornbread from the nearby Joe’s Real BBQ). Champions also hosts poker on Tuesday nights and dart leagues, plus an annual charity dart tournament. Best thing about this place: As this joint was once the Copper Coin, you’ll find pennies beneath a layer of epoxy at the bar.

Glendale


Overtime Lounge

5304 North 59th Avenue, Glendale

623-939-2576

Opens at: 6 a.m. daily

Cash Only

Bike Rack: No

The Overtime Lounge is another place with a lot of activity. There’s an enclosed smoking patio, two pool tables, TVs, a claw machine, and a dedicated arcade game area. There’s also a lengthy bar, the westernmost point of which has been dubbed the “Horny Corner” thanks to a little wooden sign dangling above patrons. It’s been serving thirsty customers of eastern Glendale and Maryvale for 30 years, give or take, according to the manager, Bonnie, who started off as a patron 10 years ago. Best thing about this place: During a karaoke rendition of “Leader of the Pack,” an Indian motorcycle might roll through the front door to assist with the revving effects.

Jimbo’s Bar & Grill

12224 North 51st Avenue, Glendale

602-298-1500

Opens at: 7 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

This northwest Valley haunt is more like an adult activity center. At Jimbo’s Bar & Grill, you can grab a stool at the horseshoe bar, order off a full menu (including the famed wine burger), put on your jam at the internet jukebox, post up by one of the TVs or projectors, and play pool, darts, or shuffleboard. There’s also exposed plywood, a urine trough in the men’s room, and a sweet little retro, martini glass-adorned sign out front. Best thing about this place: Patrons get a free breakfast — including three eggs, two bacon, two sausage, hash browns, and toast — with purchase of a drink from 8 a.m. to noon.

Goodyear

Roman's Oasis in Goodyear.EXPAND
Roman's Oasis in Goodyear.
New Times Archive

Roman’s Oasis

16825 West Yuma Road, Goodyear

623-932-0922

Opens at: 11 a.m. daily

Cash Only

Bike Rack: No

When Roman opened his Oasis in 1988, he could count about four houses that he could see from the premises, according to the manager. In fact, the Sarival Avenue exit to Roman’s off Interstate 10 was only a recent addition. Roman’s Oasis is the kind of place where they offer both kinds of music — country and western. Roman died in 2012, but the Oasis lives on with dance lessons, Texas Hold ’Em, a full kitchen, two dance floors, shuffleboard, live music, and cold beer. Best thing about this place: the John Deere equipment, wagon wheels, and a comically large chicken as roadside decor.

Grand District


Bikini Lounge

1502 Grand Avenue

602-252-0472

Opens at: 3 p.m. daily

Cash Only

Bike Rack: Yes

Named after Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the Bikini Lounge is a history lesson as well as a neighborhood bar. It’s been around since the late 1940s as one of the last of the first-wave tiki bars in Phoenix. The Bikini was remodeled in the ’60s, ornamented by Polynesian-lady-themed Tom Cooper murals, and has recently gained an enclosed patio and a bamboo-seeming bike rack out front. Bikini features an internet jukebox, a pool table, and DJ nights. Best thing about this place: the limited-edition, Jimmy Smith tiki mugs.

Melrose District

The Quail Lounge has some drink specials for you.EXPAND
The Quail Lounge has some drink specials for you.
Lauren Cusimano

The Quail Lounge

4134 North Seventh Avenue

602-265-1148

Opens at: 9 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: Yes

Just north of the Melrose District Arch, the Quail Lounge was known as Garnett’s Rite Inn for at least 30 years. Inside the boxy structure there’s a bar backed by two pool tables, some tables and chairs, a few TVs for football season, and an internet jukebox. The bathrooms are remodeled, but the rest is pure dark dive. You can bring your own food (BYOF), or come for Taco Tuesdays or a Cardinals game potluck. Best thing about this place: Each day the staff picks a letter, and if your last name starts with said letter, your drink is $1.

Mesa


Kay’s Place

315 South Alma School Road, Mesa

602-666-6634 

Opens at: 10 a.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: Yes

One of the only freestanding bars in Mesa, Kay’s Place was built in the 1960s as a diesel truck repair shop. This Mesa dive features pool tables, karaoke, a jukebox, and DJ nights. Sustenance comes in the form of pizza, pickled items, chips, and hot dogs, or you can BYOF. Best thing about this place: The fridge has three shelves of $2 beers like Hamm’s, Busch, and PBR.

Gabby’s Bar & Grill

635 North Country Club Drive, Mesa

480-827-9776

Opens at: 10 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

A well-known watering hole along the Old 87, Gabby’s Bar & Grill has been around for 33 years, and always as Gabby’s. Several Greg Sheldon (former Phoenix Suns artist) cartoons adorn the walls, along with the usual neon signs and collages of current and former regular patrons. Gabby’s has that old bar smell, but also karaoke nights, a jukebox, pool, darts, satellite TVs, and a full menu. Best thing about this place: The well-known half-pound Monster Burger and fries are $4.95 daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Hambone Sports Bar in Mesa.
Hambone Sports Bar in Mesa.
New Times Archive

Hambone Sports Bar

903 East Main Street, Mesa

480-833-9839

Opens at: 6 a.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: Yes

The Hambone Sports Bar is definitely unique. A note for new visitors: You can smoke inside this pool hall and neighborhood bar, as there aren’t technically windows, just screens. It has always been Hambone and dates back to 1958, but we only know that because one patron remembers his dad coming here at that time. That classic sign was grandfathered in, which guides patrons to a place with six pool tables, internet jukebox, darts (their dart team is the Hambone Hot Shots), arcade games, karaoke on Saturday nights, and an adult claw machine. Best thing about this place: Mel’s own Bloody Mary recipe, and Alex’s German chocolate cake shot.

North Phoenix

Brigett’s Last Laugh




17222 North Cave Creek Road

602-788-0507

Opens at: 11 a.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

Billed as “Your Five Star Dive Bar,” Brigett’s Last Laugh is the kind of place where you have to let your eyes adjust when entering during the day. Once they do, there’s pool, lots of seating, TVs, and a full menu with some well-known tacos on there. There’s also nightly karaoke, Tuesday night comedy, Wednesday and Friday night trivia, and Ladies Night on Thursdays. Best thing about this place: The “Shit Happens” sign above the bar has been there for years, and serves as a humbling piece of bar decor. 

Old Town Scottsdale

Coach House

7011 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale

480-990-3433

Opens at: 6 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: Yes

Formerly a bunker house, farmhouse, and dress shop, the Coach House has been around since 1959 and always under that name. Regulars and Old Town visitors find a large outdoor patio, video games, darts, TVs, internet jukebox, and a “Kraft” beer section, which consists of PBR, Hamm’s, and Busch Light. Best thing about this place: The yearly Christmas decorations involve 1,000 man-hours, which starts at Halloween and might be distracting to some of Sky Harbor’s air traffic.

Pattie’s First Avenue Lounge

7220 East First Avenue, Scottsdale

480-990-0103

Opens at: 7 a.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. Sunday

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

A dive among the restaurants and tourist traps of Old Town, Patties First Avenue Lounge offers table tennis, pool, dancing, and regulars ranging from millionaires to spring training visitors to old timers who’ve been coming here since it was called Gordy’s. Known as Pattie’s since 1992, this spot is divided into three sections: the side bars, the main bar, and the open middle hallway — where patrons are allowed to smoke since that “ceiling” is actually dense tiger’s claw. Best thing about this place: There are about $4,000 to $5,000 worth of singles hung in the main room, which started with Pattie’s sons 15 years ago. Bobby the bartender calls it the 401K plan.

Peoria


Neighbors

7530 West Peoria Avenue, Peoria

623-878-4154

Opens at: 8 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: No

Since it opened in 1992, Neighbors hasn’t gone through a lot of major changes. Found in a tidy strip mall, Neighbors features pool tables, dart machines, card tables, TVs, and an internet jukebox playing mostly ’80s and country music. The wooden walls are covered in neon, and the 360-degree bar to the left of the entrance surrounds one of those iconic rounded Budweiser Clydesdale lamps. Best thing about this place: A late patron illustrated the happy crowd window art outside, and some of the cartoon people were actual regulars at the time.

South Scottsdale

Start early at the Roadrunner Lounge.EXPAND
Start early at the Roadrunner Lounge.
Lauren Cusimano

Roadrunner Lounge

3219 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale

480-941-8340

Opens at: 6 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards ($10 minimum)

Bike Rack: Yes

Previously Bucky’s and Castaways, the Roadrunner Lounge was run by mother and daughter Cassie and Willie, though Willie has passed. Roadrunner Lounge features an internet jukebox (play Johnny Horton and you’ll instantly make friends), pool, arcade games, and a dog-friendly smoking patio. Best thing about this place: The human-size dog sitting at the bar belongs to Linda.

There's no shortage of or beer or good times at TT Roadhouse.EXPAND
There's no shortage of or beer or good times at TT Roadhouse.
Lauren Cusimano

TT Roadhouse

2915 North 68th Street, Scottsdale

480-947-8723

Opens at: 11:30 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards 

Bike Rack: Yes

A bar since the early ’60s, and formerly Caddy Shack and Lolita’s, TT Roadhouse was named after a motorcycle race on the Isle of Man. Skoog, the owner since 2009, offers American craft beer and high-end whiskey (like Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Booker’s Bourbon, and Woodford Reserve) behind the bar, while the rest of the place includes a custom-felt pool table, a tucked-away smoking patio, and a jukebox packed with punk rock and outlaw country. This bike- and biker-friendly bar also hosts a number of events, including Outlaw Country Brunch, Punk Vinyl Night, cookouts, and Tuesday Industry Nights. Best thing about this place: Skoog might be airing a punk rock documentary.

Tempe


Palo Verde Lounge

1015 West Broadway Road, Tempe

480-968-9221

Opens at: Noon Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Cash Only

Bike Rack: Yes

This is the kind of college-town dive that’s more of a retreat for local industry types than students. There used to be hitching posts out front, and a small airport out back (where the proprietors at the time would post up to shoot jackrabbits off the tarmac). The Dirty Verde offers two pool tables, the Cramps, Beastie Boys, and Brooks & Dunn on the jukebox, a Tekken 2 arcade game, famed pickle shots, super-loud punk and metal shows, and some strong drinks. Best thing about this place: Palo is the frequent host of neighborhood events like dance parties and holiday potlucks.

Take a Black Friday breather at Time Out Lounge.EXPAND
Take a Black Friday breather at Time Out Lounge.
Lauren Cusimano

Time Out Lounge

3129 South Mill Avenue, Tempe

480- 968-6491

Opens at: 11 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards ($10 minimum)

Bike Rack: Yes

Go to Time Out Lounge when you don’t want to be on Mill Avenue anywhere north of University Drive. Time Out was established by known bar owner Sandy Sunstrom and the late Greg Sheldon (artist behind the Phoenix Suns gorilla, hence the motif), and was taken over by Laura Kelly-Phillips and Ed (a.k.a. the Tall Man) in 1988. Marked by the “Sorry We’re Open” door in the back corner of the Huntington Square Shopping Center, Time Out is known for free pool Sundays, intimate rock shows, soul music dance nights, and its regulars. Hungry patrons can BYOF, order pizza from Venezia’s, or ask for some chips. Best thing about this place: Look for the forgotten keys and credit cards in the ceiling tiles.

Yucca Tap Room

29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe

480- 967-4777

Opens at: 6 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards 

Bike Rack: Yes

A neighborhood hangout and well-worn music venue since the early ’70s, Yucca Tap Room is known for its local and touring acts, DJ Organic dance nights, crave-worthy full menu, and recognizable group of regulars. There’s also a pool table, shuffleboard, smoking patio, and an impressive selection of craft beers and spirits. This spots happens to be the official Arsenal football club pub in metro Phoenix to boot. Best thing about this place: Tempe residents not much interested in sleeping are usually found here at 6 a.m., which may be credited to the breakfast burritos.

Uptown


Swizzle Inn

5835 North 16th Street

602-277-7775

Opens at: 10 a.m. daily

Accepts Credit Cards ($10 minimum)

Bike Rack: No

The first rule of the Swizzle Inn is: No Starbucks Parking. Pinned by a Jolly Roger flag within a strip mall, this beach vacation-themed haunt has been around since ’96. Visitors can pull up a stool at the half-circle bar, shoot a game at the pool table, flip through a jukebox with The B-52s, Queen, and Willie Nelson, catch the game on one of many TVs, or admire the current window dressing theme in the back-corner atrium. Best thing about this place: Just about every single square inch is covered in Christmas lights and decor during the holidays.

Pomeroy’s

5551 North Seventh Street

602-264-5411

Opens at: 11 a.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Accepts Credit Cards

Bike Rack: Yes

Pomeroy’s has always been Pomeroy’s since it opened in 1983. The wood paneling makes you feel like you’re inside a dark woodshed, and you’re fine with it. Mingle with a mix of old timers to new people in the rapidly renovating Uptown neighborhood, and order something from their full menu. Find four pool tables, darts, foosball, arcade games, shuffleboard, and plenty of seating. Best thing about this place: There’s still a cigarette machine here.

Editor's note: This article originally ran in October 2016.

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