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A dirty martini at Hanny's in downtown Phoenix.
A dirty martini at Hanny's in downtown Phoenix.
Nicci Latino

The 10 Best Bars to Take Out-of-Towners in Metro Phoenix

Your friends are heading into town and have asked you to show them around during their stay. You obviously want to give them a taste of how rad Phoenix is, so why not take them to some of the best bars in the city? Next time you have a visitor, be sure to put these 10 bars on your itinerary.

The Womack

You step back in time when you visit this 1960s-nostalgia-laden mixology bar. With plush booths, a long bar, and a low, mirrored ceiling, The Womack is straight-up sexy and cool. Jive to the sounds of funk, soul, and R&B as you delight in a classic cocktail like a gin rickey or sidecar. Between the smooth drinks, swanky décor, and lack of windows, it's easy to forget that you're in the middle of Phoenix when hanging at this local spot.

The Little Woody

A large pair of neon eyes peering out from the building lure you into this tiny gem. With wood paneling, log wallpaper, and red accent lighting throughout, the bar can be described as a lounge-like lodge. An impressive selection of whiskey and scotch (for those of you into the harder stuff) makes it the perfect place to enjoy a nightcap. Not into whiskey? Partake in darts or plonk down at a table and let the libations flow. Claustrophobes beware, for this bar is small and fills up quickly. However, its intimate size makes it a great for meeting new people. Your peepers will spot several owls during your visit, reminding you of your whereabouts.

The Rusty Spur is a longtime local watering hole.
The Rusty Spur is a longtime local watering hole.
Nicci Latino

The Rusty Spur Saloon

Officially registered as a historic landmark, The Rusty Spur was once the home of the very first Farmers' Bank of Scottsdale. While the vault may no longer hold cash, it's certainly well-stocked with booze. The former savings institution has been refashioned into a rowdy, drink-slinging saloon. Slurp down a prickly pear margarita and enjoy live country music as you two-step your way into the night. With walls and ceilings covered in Western memorabilia, license plates, and dollar bills, it's hard not to become fascinated by this watering hole. Strangers quickly become friends at this quintessential country bar.

The Duce is a big space, and it offers a little bit of something for everyone.
The Duce is a big space, and it offers a little bit of something for everyone.

The Duce

The most eclectic bar on this list, The Duce offers an experience unlike any other. Complete with an indoor boxing ring, clothing boutique, restaurant (where everything is made from scratch), drug store soda fountain, and set of high school bleachers, this bar is spectacularly wacky. Take the edge off with a Tom Collins and prepare to hit the dance floor to shuffle and swing to some classic jazz all night long.

Valley Bar

If your GPS leads you down a back alley to our next destination, know you've come to the right place. Indicated by nothing more than a glowing red sign above the door, Valley Bar is an underground lounge and music venue. The dimly lit Rose Room, or lounge portion, is adorned with campy artwork and serves up a sweet selection of draft beer, wine, and specialty cocktails named after local politicians. Traverse farther into the bar and you'll stumble upon a game room equipped with darts, billiards tables, skeeball, and more. The Music Hall (or venue side) houses everything from music and comedy to film and spoken word performances. The space features a small stage, bar, and a few tall-standing cocktail tables. A night out at Valley Bar is akin to throwing a party in your best friend's really cool basement.

The Ostrich

The Ostrich is Chandler's speakeasy. Housed in a basement below the historic San Marcos Hotel, the location gets its name from its origins as an ostrich feather storage during World War One. The plumes were eventually traded for hootch and moonshine, turning the subterranean bar into a popular destination for the 1920s elite. Nowadays, Edison bulbs dimly light the space, which features a full-size bar, as well as several booths and a few couches, making it even more reminiscent of the notorious watering hole it was in the '20s. Bring your friends here for a speakeasy-style experience.

A dirty martini at Hanny's in downtown Phoenix.
A dirty martini at Hanny's in downtown Phoenix.
Nicci Latino

Hanny's

Come for the downtown destination, stay for the martinis. At $7 a piece, Hanny's arguably has the best deal in town when it comes to martinis. The department-store-turned-swanky-bar has become a hip spot for both Phoenicians and out-of-towners during the week. With dressing rooms that have been converted into restrooms, mannequins that have been transformed into bizarre works of art, and servers dressed in lab coats, Hanny's is a wonderfully peculiar drinkery.

Cobra Arcade Bar

Recently named one of the best arcade bars in the U.S., Cobra Arcade Bar is a must-see. Level up at the bar with a signature video-game themed cocktails, like the Krazy Kong or Princess Peach, before battling with your friends in a multiplayer game of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Aside from having a plethora of video games, the bar also has some killer artwork and décor. From the graffiti-blasted walls to the neon orange drainage pipes hanging overhead, it's hard not to feel as though you've hopped down a Mario Brothers warp pipe and into a digital mecca of awesome.

Dutchman's Demise from Undertow.
Dutchman's Demise from Undertow.
Nicci Latino

UnderTow

Located beneath Sip Coffee & Beer Garage, this pint-sized bar is a must-see. UnderTow has quickly become one of Phoenix's coolest cocktail bars. Rather than an "X," the location of this hidden treasure is indicated by a wooden ship that hangs above a small stairwell in the center of Sip. Guests are greeted by the pungent scent of rum and an ornately designed tribal mask as they descend down the stairs and into the bar. Once inside, you'll feel as though you've stepped below the deck of a 20th-century clipper ship. With intricate details, such as the elaborately hand-crafted tiki men, muted light pouring over the bar from the deck above, and portholes offering views of the sea at sunset, it's hard not to feel like you're lost at sea. From the sounds to the scents, UnderTow is a complete sensory experience not to be missed.

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Duck Bath Punch at Bitter & Twisted.
Duck Bath Punch at Bitter & Twisted.
Shelby Moore

Bitter & Twisted

Bitter & Twisted is housed on the ground floor of the Luhrs building in downtown Phoenix, which was once home of Arizona's Prohibition headquarters. The mixology destination's Duck Bath Punch is a fun play on "bathtub gin," but is far from an amateur cocktail. Prepared using Hendrick's gin, amaro, Grand Poppy liqueur, pineapple syrup, lemon juice, and Earl Grey tea, the drink is served family-style in a miniature bathtub. Artfully crafted cucumber air bubbles and tiny rubber ducks are used to garnish the concoction. Whether you choose to sip a Singapore sling, knock back an old fashioned, or nosh on (more like devour) a bowl of the Hurricane Popcorn, Bitter & Twisted has something for everyone.

Editor's note: This list was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated.

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