Music News

Night Train: The Ultimate Light Rail Pub Crawl

In just a few short days (December 27, to be exact), the Valley Metro will be running. With those electrified cables comes the chance to drink down Phoenix like never before. Yes, soon you'll be able to get booze from Mesa to damn near Glendale without forcing a friend to be your DD. In honor of this occasion, we spent the past month assembling The Ultimate Phoenix Bar Roll. In case you didn't see it online, we're bringing it to you here, from the easternmost stop in Mesa to the westernmost stop in central Phoenix.

A team composed of Niki D'Andrea, Jay Bennett, Benjamin Leatherman, Jonathan McNamara, and Martin Cizmar drove the route, searching out the best drinks at every stop. Yes, every single one. Along the way, you'll hit everything from scuzzy gas stations with well-stocked beer caves to some of the swankest watering holes in town. If you want to do a light-rail bar crawl the right way, this is your guide. Drink up.

Sycamore/Main

Where: Main Street Billiards, about 500 feet southeast of the station

Drink: A mug of Shock Top Ale, $2.50

Scene: Boasting more felt than the Muppets, Main Street Billiards features the most pool tables in the East Valley, making it the perfect place for you to stage your own private version of The Hustler. And though there's no scientific proof that alcohol will improve your abilities, a few mugs of Shock Top Ale will at least help calm your nerves when you're getting smoked. — B.L.

Price/Apache

Where: Bill's Market, directly north of the station

Drink: Four Maxed Citrus, a 16-ounce can of caffeinated malt liquor (with a hefty 10 percent alcohol by volume) for $1.89

Scene: Not every stop on the light-rail system has a bar within walking distance, so, from time to time you'll stop at places like Bill's Market, an old-school neighborhood bodega with a pay phone (huh?) out front and a herd of stray cats around back. It's decorated with a nice assortment of softball trophies and it sells everything you need. — M.C.

Smith-Martin/Apache

Where: El Pueblo Meat Market, a five-minute walk east from the stop

Drink: A Clamato and a Budweiser, $4.

Scene: There may be worse places to drink, but we haven't seen any. There isn't much scenery to speak of outside the joint — there's an abandoned hotel across the street — and inside, well . . . Our suggestion: Drink your drink, but do it quickly, then get back on the train. — J.M.

McClintock/Apache

Where: The Roc Bar, at 1400 South McClintock, a 10-minute walk south from the station

Drink: 100 Cracked Fists. Imagine everything including the kitchen sink (with a grenadine kiss) and you're still not even close.

Scene: With enough monitors to make the most die-hard sports fan go into convulsions and a few pool tables to boot, Roc Bar is a nice little hangout. — J.M.

Dorsey/Apache

Where: The Lucky Devil, one block west of the station

Drink: The "Shot Ski," $5 or more for top-shelf booze

Scene: The joints around ASU find interesting ways to get their patrons drunk. At the Lucky Devil you'll find the "Shot Ski," a large water ski with three shots lined up on it. Try it with a couple of your bros, or attempt to get a pair of hotties to join you. — B.L.

University/Rural

Where: Sushi 101, approximately 500 feet northeast of the station

Drink: Hot sake, $3.50 for a small carafe

Scene: While you can down a few carafes of Nipponese rice wine in the dining room, we dig hanging out in the lounge area, where a funky wooden bartop is decorated with Japanese instructions on how to properly eat sushi and Polaroid snapshots show the comedians who've stopped by after their gigs at the Tempe Improv. — B.L.

Veterans/College

Where: Paradise Hawaiian BBQ, a three-minute walk from the stop. Go east from the station, then south on College.

Drink: Kona Longboard Island Lager, $5

Scene: If it's game day, you'll have no problem getting a free beer at this stop, in the shadow of Sun Devil Stadium. Other days, however, you should check out Paradise, a casual little joint with a big patio and typical Hawaiian fare (Spam Musubi, anyone?). If you're here later in the evening, Dirty Devil Sports Bar is next door. — M.C.

Mill/Third

Where: Anywhere

Drink: Anything

Scene: Where, oh, where can you get a drink on Mill Avenue? No, really. Since Coconut Club closed, we've been hard-pressed to find a decent bar on Mill! Ahem. Seriously, folks, getting a drink on Mill is obviously easy, so pick your poison. — M.C.

Center/Washington

Where: Rolling Hills Golf Course, a 10- to 15-minute walk, northeast from the station

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