Night Train: Sycamore/Main Street (Stop #28)

I'm on the nightrain, 
Bottoms up,
I'm on the nightrain, 
Fill my cup,
I'm on the nightrain, 
Ready to crash and burn, 
I never learn.

-- W. Axl Rose, 1987

"Nightrain," the Guns N' Roses song, is actually about a brand of bum wine that'll get you pissy, punch-your-best-friend drunk after half a bottle. But it could also be about the project we're launching today: The Ultimate Phoenix Bar Roll.

Up on the Sun is counting down the coming of light rail, which is opening on December 27, according to Valley Metro's PR people, who swore it to us on a stack of Bibles and a copy of Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Over the past few weeks, a team composed of Niki D'Andrea, Jay Bennett, Benjamin Leatherman, Jonathan McNamara, and Martin Cizmar have been driving the route, searching out the best drinks along the way.

28 days, 28 stops, 28 drinks. Not every stop on the 20-mile track will be glamorous. Some will involve drinking things you've never wanted to drink in places you'd rather not be. But, if you want to do a light rail bar crawl the right way, this is your guide. And, hey, you can always skip a few stops. We'll understand.

If you actually want to do this crawl -- and for reasons of legal liability we'd never suggest you should -- you'd need to start early, not only because it's a marathon course, but because a lot of these places close early. Train or no train, this ain't New York, and not every stop has a bar within stumbling (or even walking) distance, but, we found, there's always someplace to get a drink.

So eat some fried food to line your stomach (our food blog, Chow Bella will be bringing you a few picks along the way) and get that fare card punched: We're going drinking, and Sheriff Joe can't say shit about it.

Click "more" for today's stop.

Where: Main Street Billiards (1749 W. Main Street, Mesa, 480-969-7898). You'll find the bar about 500 feet southeast of the station, two minutes by foot.

Drink: A mug of Shock Top Ale for $2.50 

Scene: Boasting more felt than the entire Muppets troupe, Main Street Billiards features more than 40 pool tables (the most in the East Valley), making it the perfect place for you to stage your own private version of The Hustler. And while there's no scientific proof that alcohol will improve your abilities at shooting stick, a few mugs of Shock Top Lager will at least help clam your nerves when you're getting smoked by some pool shark. Numerous arcade games (such as Tekken 5Tokyo Cop, and Need for Speed: Underground) are also available for play, just in case you think you'd fare better at racing cars or kicking some virtual ass. Also on tap you'll find bottles of Miller Lite, Blue Moon, and Fat Tire for $2.75-$3.50; as well as a snack bar serving up burgers, hot dogs, and nachos.

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Jonathan McNamara