Best of Phoenix

The 26 Best Places to Party in Metro Phoenix

The 2016 Best of Phoenix edition has hit the stands. Here, we'll look at the very best of what Phoenix has to offer in terms of nightlife, music venues, dive bars — everything that makes a night out worth it. 

Best NightclubCake Nightclub
Gleaming with style and panache, Cake embraces Scottsdale's penchant for hedonism and excess with gusto. Boasting the vibe of a French chateau circa 1700 with its leatherette booths, gilded fixtures, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the club is filled with a libertine atmosphere where drinking and decadence is the order of the day. There's also dancing, which is aided by the beats coming from the top-shelf Funktion-One sound system, widely considered one of the best in the world.


Best Dance FloorMaya Day & Nightclub
It's simple. If you want to see and be seen after dark in Scottsdale, you typically head to Maya Day & Nightclub, one of the entertainment district's more prominent and well-trafficked spots. And when you want to be seen inside Maya, you head for its expansive dance floor. Glowing LED rings and banks of colored spotlights flash overhead, dancing light across all the bodies in motion as Maya's largely female clientele (and the dudes who admire 'em) get down, get their mojo working, or engage in other nighttime social rites.



Best Rock ClubValley Bar
It's not just cool because it's literally underground; Valley Bar books artists like Thundercat and Foy Vance — not household names, but hot acts among those in the know. And the speakeasy-vibe has inspired some of Phoenix's finest cultural explorations, hosting comedian Anwar Newton's Literally the Worst Show Ever showcase, New Wave dance night The Factory, and our favorite, New Times' Bar Flies (you know it).
Best Punk BarTT Roadhouse
Clad in Union Jack flags and welcoming bikers, punks, and various other counterculture-leaning drinkers, TT Roadhouse on 68th Street is about as unpretentious as it gets. Boasting cheap beers, craft brews, and signature Blue Ribbon medchiladas (with a jalapeño floating atop the beer and tomato juice) the joint wears its British pub roots proudly, and embraces the U.K. side of punk with a jukebox stocked with punk and ska.


Best Dive Bar
Palo Verde Lounge
Covered in stickers and a thin layer of grime, the Palo Verde Lounge isn't a nice bar pretending to be a dive; it's a legitimate, bona fide dingy watering hole. And if you've got no qualms with that, you're in for a good time. Sometimes bands host shows there, though there's no stage and they end taking up most of the real estate that isn't occupied by pool tables, but that's all part of the fun. You get in, belly up, and go for whatever ride the "Dirty Verde" is going to offer.


Best Tiki BarBikini Lounge
The Bikini Lounge on Grand Avenue isn't just the oldest tiki bar in Phoenix — having first opened its doors in 1947, it's one of the oldest bars in town, period. The key to its longevity is its strict adherence to core values: cheap beer, good tunes, and low lighting. With all the changes going on along Grand Avenue, we hope the Bikini remains the anchor of unpretentiousness we love.


Best Rockabilly BarLast Exit Live
Found in the historic warehouse district just south of downtown Phoenix, Last Exit Live has been around since 2013 (though it originated in 2003 as the Last Exit Bar & Grill in Tempe). Last Exit Live features a sizable stage in its 200-plus capacity venue for the local and national musicians on the bill, and has welcomed touring acts like the Koffin Kats, and Phoenix-based pompadour and pinup-style bands like The Limit Club, Whiskey Kiss, and Manual Sex Drive.




Best Country Bar
San Tan Flat
Queen Creek saloon/steakhouse San Tan Flat promises "all the fun of camping ... without having to sleep on the ground" on its website, but we'd argue it's actually got more going for it than that. When was the last time you dragged a real-life country band like Band Wagon out camping or packed up a deep fryer to make fried pickles in the back country?


Best Latin Dance NightClandestino
Clandestino was founded by Nicolas Paredes as a monthly alternative Latino dance night at Crescent Ballroom, but Paredes and crew quickly realized that switching locations and schedules up made more sense than hosting a monthly event. Now, Clandestino acts as a pop-up night, stopping at venues like the Rhythm Room and the Heard Museum.

Best Sports BarZipps Sports Grill
There's nothing fussy about Zipps, no complicated menu system, concepts, or experimental "takes" on classics, just the basics done well: cold beer, burgers, wings, fried snacks, and games on HD flat screens positioned all throughout their dining rooms on exposed brick walls, at the bar, and outside on patios. The extra touches, like shuffleboard, pool tables, and darts, are nice accents, but the core of the place is as unpretentious and uncluttered as every sports bar ought to be.
Best Blues ClubRhythm Room
Founded in 1991 by harmonica man and blues DJ Bob Corritore, host of KJZZ's long-running blues showcase Those Lowdown Blues, the Rhythm Room has welcomed blues legends like Robert Lockwood Jr., R.L. Burnside, and Jimmy Smith, remaining Phoenix's No. 1 spot for blues, Americana, and jazz.