Some of our favorite bars are just that – bars. And all too often, before we head out for a drink, we don't have time to fill up our stomachs. Good thing there are bars and taprooms across the Valley that allow patrons to bring in outside food.
It’s also on the level, according to Johnny Diloné, public information officer for Maricopa County’s Environmental Services Department. “It’s just like you ordering food from any restaurant and having it being delivered to your home,” he says. “There would not be a need for regulating such a thing.” Diloné says food permits aren’t required for food in bars because they they’re not the ones preparing it, and “it seems like in most cases, people are ordering it from a permanent establishment” or just bringing a snack from home. “What they’re doing is just to make it easier for their customers,” he says.
With that, grab some takeout menus or call for delivery at these 17 bring-your-own-food bars in metro Phoenix.
Bikini Lounge1502 Grand Avenue
This charming Polynesian stop is a staple of the Grand Avenue Arts District. Open since 1947, the tiki-themed Bikini Lounge has booths, high-tops, and a pool table to accompany its cash-only bar, where patrons are allowed to enjoy outside food. “We do allow people to bring in food, especially if they share,” says owner Matt Tomb in an email. The Bikini is also known for some raucous DJ nights, which may be a good way to work off that sub you just destroyed at the bar.
Champions Sports Saloon211 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Champions Sports Saloon has been some sort of bar in Gilbert since the 1940s. Amenities include pool tables, TVs, darts, pinball, arcade games, and retro Arizona sports team posters. They also have snacks, a deep fryer, and a pizza oven, or you can bring in food from one of the many surrounding restaurants. The pennies on the bar are gone, but you'll still get a stiff drink at this neighborhood bar. You’re also welcome to bring in any take out from the Heritage District’s many surrounding restaurants.
Cider Corps31 South Robson, #103, Mesa
An Arizona craft cider shop, Cider Corps opened on Veterans Day 2017, and operated by brothers Jason and Josh Duren. Set off Main Street as ones of many bars and eateries in historic downtown Mesa, the cidery has a number of unique flavors on tap, including Purple Heart, Secret Squirrel, and Mango Foxtrot. Myke’s Pizza recently started operations in the back of the craft cidery, offering slices from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. However, when Myke’s is closed, Cider Corps will host a revolving line of food trucks, as the taproom is always BYOF.
Cobra Arcade Bar801 North Second Street, #100
Downtown Phoenix's Cobra Arcade Bar features 40 vintage arcade games, 14 beers on tap, and several arcade-themed cocktails like Krazy Kong and the Garbage Pail Kid. Customers are allowed to bring in their own food, especially from the food trucks and carts set up outside from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. You can even order a pizza and have it delivered there whenever you want.
Kay's Place315 South Alma School Road, Mesa
Since 1969, Kay's Place has graced its Mesa neighborhood with beers on tap, pool tables, a busy jukebox, and the "Wall of $2 Cans." Kay’s also features its "Mesa-Style" happy hour – running weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. The bar also allows outside food at their many high-tops and at the bar. Surrounding restaurants include Taquitos Jalisco Mexican Food and Los Dos Molinos.
Kings Beer & Wine2811 North Central Avenue
Set on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Thomas Road, Kings Beer & Wine is craft beer and wine store that also welcomes those who’d like to dine in. Guests may bring in a sandwich from Honey Bear's BBQ to pair with the Double Oatmeal IPA from Fate Brewing Co. or Stellar Tidal Disruption by O.H.S.O. Brewery. This low-key beer shop and convenience store has a narrow bar to set up your lunch, and a few four-top tables in case you have some friends or co-workers with you.
Kobalt3110 North Central Avenue, #175
You can’t enjoy RuPaul's Drag Race with just beer and/or cocktails alone. Good thing, then, that you can bring your own snacks for seasonal viewings of RPDR at the recently relocated Kobalt in Park Central. This lively gay bar also features everything from drag bingo and raucous live shows to karaoke five nights a week, which can all be paired with pizza delivery or take-out.
Roman's County Line10540 West Indian School Road, #8
Line dancing can work up a hunger, so it’s a good thing Roman’s County Line allows patrons to bring in their own food before – or during – getting down. Set in the Villa de Paz neighborhood in the West Valley, Roman's is a popular country-and-western dance hall, and ideal spot for wetting one's whistle. Nearby eateries include Wong's Restaurant, Ramiro's Mexican Food, Brother's Pizza, and a slew of fast-food places.
Shady's Fine Ales and Cocktails2701 East Indian School Road
If your top 10 joys in life include good music, beer, and food, then Shady’s Fine Ales and Cocktails may be, or probably already is, the place for you. This central Phoenix bar is spotted by its illuminated, ska-themed sign against Indian School Road, and offers a full bar, craft beers on tap and ice, and tunes from the Specials, Big Audio Dynamite, and Madness. The eating part is up to you, and Shady's allows outside food and drink. Nearby spots include China Village, Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, and a few fast-food joints.
The Shop Beer Co.922 West First Street, Tempe
While Mill Avenue has some decent dining options, we encourage you to order it to-go and bring it to The Shop Beer Co. The historic Tempe tasting room welcomes outside food and snacks, as does the picturesque patio area, as long as you pair it with onsite craft brews like the Desert Pale Ale, the Church Music juicy IPA, and the Coffee Brown American nut brown ale. There’s also usually a food truck with tater tots, just FYI, and plenty of restaurants in nearby downtown Tempe.
The Sleepy Whale290 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler
Set in downtown Chandler, The Sleepy Whale is open for daily beer-slinging service, and has been happily received by the community. Part-owner Justin Evans also oversees The Wandering Tortoise and Flagstaff's Hops on Birch (as well as The Theodore, coming soon to Roosevelt Row). The beer bar and bottle shop has 32 taps, and features Arizona beer from companies like Wren House, Arizona Wilderness, Pueblo Vida in Tucson, Dark Sky from Flagstaff, and more. And as with the Tortoise, the whole taproom is BYOF.
Taste of Tops403 West University Drive, Tempe
Neighboring the well-known Tops Liquors in downtown Tempe, Taste of Tops is a seriously cozy bar and wine place known for its craft-beer selection, comfortable seating, and weekly airings of Sunday-night TV dramas. You can also BYOF. “We used to only allow from Tessio’s or Thai Basil," says manager Kirsten Eccles. “Now, you can bring food from wherever.” Tessio’s Pizza is long closed, but Thai Basil is still next door, while other nearby places include Fired Pie, Little Szechuan, and Loving Hut Tempe.
Thunderbird Lounge710 West Montecito Avenue
Thunderbird Lounge is found in the last slot of the Melrose District's historic Wagon Wheel Building. The neighborhood bar will make many nostalgic for the Midwestern taverns of yesteryear as there’s a jukebox, cigarette machine, arcade machines, Old Style beer, RC Cola, Jay’s Potato Chips, and O-Ke-Doke popcorn. However, if you need a real meal, try one of the three pizzas offered out back by Dino’s Napoletana, or you’re welcome to bring in food from any one of the Melrose District eateries.
Time Out Lounge3129 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Pinball, darts, pool tables, and plenty of unique local and touring bands create the atmosphere of Time Out Lounge – found within the Huntington Square Shopping Center in Tempe. You can also pair your beer or cocktail with a little lunch or dinner, as the Time Out allows outside food at its booths, high-tops, and lengthy bar top. Menus for Zesty Zzeeks Pizza and Wings, Culver’s, and TC Tacos are at the bar, and Venezia's Pizzeria will deliver.
The Wandering Tortoise2417 East Indian School Road
The Wandering Tortoise owners Shay Gau and Justin Evans say they focus on one thing and one thing only – beer. And not just any beer, but the best tasting beer these two can splay over their curated menu and 22 taps at this neighborhood beer shop. So that leaves the food to you. If you’re bent on pairing craft beer with your lunch or dinner, bring in your favorite carry-out or head next door to pick up something from Nelson's Meat + Fish.
Willy's Bar6322 West Bell Road, Glendale
Found in the Bell Tower Plaza in Glendale, Willy's Bar is a neighborhood bar and hangout in the North Valley that allows patrons to bring in outside food to enjoy on the slick marble bar top – as long you don’t mind eating in the dark. Nearby eateries include Sushi Catcher, Caramba Fresh Mexican Food, Il Primo Pizza & Wings, and a plethora of fast-food and chain joints. Post-dinner activities include darts, karaoke, and, of course, drinking.
Wren House Brewing Company2125 North 24th Street
A central Phoenix brewery and bar, the Wren House Brewing Company is known for “finely crafted beer with Arizona roots,” including the Bolo Tie Rye, Previously Furthermore, and Wrenovation – which happens to pair well with most food. “La Santisima [Gourmet Taco Shop] and Lou Malnati's are a couple of favorites,” says Wren House’s Drew Pool in an email. “Lou Malnati's even delivers to our taproom!”
Editor's note: This story was originally published on August 1, 2016. It was last updated on June 29, 2019.