Not only do Phoenicians get to enjoy year-round pool season, world-class spas, and Jack Nicklaus–designed golf courses, but they also get killer live music venues, vibrant nightclubs, fun bars, great restaurants, hip lounges, and cool beercades. Read on for the best places to go out in and around Phoenix.
Phoenix’s vibrant business and entertainment district is densely packed with nightlife locales. Artsy Roosevelt Row (RoRo) is home to a funky marketplace made of shipping containers called The Churchill, which features a 9,000 square-foot courtyard designated for drinking, socializing, eating, and taking in live music. Just around the corner, Angels Trumpet Ale House offers 31 direct-draw beer taps of mostly local and regional craft brews. Order a flight to enjoy on the patio. Across the street, Cobra Arcade Bar is a beercade, complete with pinball, wall-to-wall vintage arcade games like Donkey Kong and Street Fighter, and cocktails with ‘80s and ‘90s-inspired names, like the Garbage Pail Kid. Plus, they have DJs to provide the soundtrack and food trucks for when you work up an appetite gaming.
Housed at the former Arizona Prohibition Headquarters in the historic Luhrs tower, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is a Phoenix staple. The high-end bar is recognized as the “best cocktail bar in Arizona” due to its creative menu, dubbed the Book o' Cocktails. One of the world's best cocktail menus, the 18-page list offers more than 60 inspired craft cocktails, like the Duck Bath Punch, served in a mini bathtub with “bubble bath” suds. They also offer late-night eats, including Yum Yum noodles with chicken.
An entertainment complex in the heart of downtown, CityScape is a great place for lunch, happy hour, dinner with friends, a date, or before or after a D-Backs, Suns, or Mercury game or Talking Stick Resort Arena event. Centered around an open plaza, the tower contains offices, a boutique hotel, apartments, retail shops, and over 20 restaurants, like American gastro-lounge Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, where seasonal, contemporary cuisine is complemented by handcrafted cocktails and an impressive list of whiskey, bourbon, and brandy.
The complex also features nightlife spots like Copper Blues, a comedy club, and a bowling alley called Lucky Strike. Next to the lanes is a 10,000 square-foot nightclub named Gypsy Bar, where you can boogie to DJ music on a neon-lit dance floor or play arcade games in the lounge. Another great place for dancing is Bar Smith. This bar, lounge, and club’s rooftop bar boasts one of the best views of the city.
For live music, head to Downtown’s Crescent Ballroom. Located in a renovated garage, the ballroom showcases nationally-touring acts, while its lounge features free live music every night. And feel free to come hungry—Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco and Bar Bianco fame is behind the kitchen, Cocina 10.
The basement houses Crescent Ballroom’s speakeasy sister club, Valley Bar, which is part Music Hall, part cocktail lounge, and part arcade, with skeeball, video games, and board games. Owned by the same group as Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar, The Van Buren is a 20,000 square foot concert venue where some of the biggest names in music grace the stage. Housed in a former auto dealership, the venue is spruced up with chandeliers, exposed brick, and beautiful Sonoran Desert-themed murals.
Enjoy pork ribs that have been slow-braised for 36 hours and honey drizzled fried chicken complemented by craft beer or a housemade cocktail at Culinary Dropout at The Yard, which also features free live music and games.
The Vig’s Uptown location is open for lunch and dinner, but we recommend going on a Saturday or Sunday between 10am-2pm to catch the build your own mimosa brunch, where you can choose from a selection of juices and purees, or order a Bloody Mary with bacon. During happy hour on weekdays from 3 to 6pm, you can get a “Vignature cocktail” for just six bucks.
Historic Phoenix lounge Chez Nous was known for its classic cocktails and soulful music, and notable cocktail lounge The Womack is a tribute to it. Honor Amongst Thieves is a swanky speakeasy located in the 7th Street dining and drinking district. Enter the Prohibition-era inspired cocktail bar through the back staircase to enjoy live music on Wednesdays.
Located in the upscale Desert Ridge area, CB Live features a restaurant with free live music, called The Rock Pub, and a ticketed venue, The Showroom, which hosts bigger musical performances, comedic acts, and more. Within walking distance, The Whining Pig is a laidback,
underground bar serving beer, wine, and cheap eats from charcuterie boards to grilled cheese, with a generous happy hour that lasts until 8pm.
Neighboring High Street houses the chic cocktail lounge Blue Martini. The stylish martini and champagne bar features a global tapas menu, live music, and daily specials. High Street’s House of Comedy showcases live stand-up acts.
Scottsdale is the bougie desert city just east of Arizona’s capital. The downtown area, Old Town, offers a plethora of bars, lounges, and clubs, like the laidback pub, Kelly’s at Southbridge, where you can chill on a comfy couch or out on their large patio. Nearby, Beverly on Main is an intimate and upscale speakeasy-style cocktail lounge. A favorite of tourists, the historic Western-themed Rusty Spur Saloon features live country music, and a Tex-Mex menu, complete with peanut shells covering the floor.
Scottsdale’s oldest tavern, the Coach House, has been family-owned since 1959 and is one of the best dive bars in the area. They start pouring at 6am every day—even on Christmas! Head to Goldwater Brewing Co. for local craft beer. The small brewery makes over 20 brews, with an underground tap and barrel room called The Goldmine.
Sip wine and share a bruschetta board on the patio at Postino, which now has six area locations. Get your whiskey fix at the upscale Second Story Liquor Bar. Or head to Southwest-themed hole-in-the-wall Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse for some housemade white lightning and barbeque. Other honorable mentions in Central Phoenix include AZ88 and ZuZu Lounge at Hotel Valley Ho.
While the Old Town bars listed above will all do for drinking holes, if you’re really trying to party, you want to be in the entertainment district. Just a short distance from Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall lies a hub of bars and bottle service nightclubs.
The tropical-themed Riot House offers a lively nightlife scene, as does Bottled Blonde pizzeria and beer garden, the music-centric Hi Fi Kitchen & Cocktails, The District, Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, El Hefe, Dakota, INT’L, Bevvy, and The Mint Ultra Lounge, which are all within steps of each other. Party all day and into the night at Maya Day + Nightclub. Get a cabana by the pool then dance your ass off in the nightclub after the sun goes down. In the winter months, the pool is turned into a clubhouse where you can play games like beer pong and cornhole.
Sing your heart out at the popular Asian-themed karaoke lounge, The Dragon. Drown your sorrows with Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Johnnie Walker at Three Wisemen. Part of a two-story concept, Casa Amigos is the beautifully decorated downstairs space dedicated to tacos and tequila, while upstairs, Skylanes offers bowling with a side of bottle service. The entertainment district’s Wasted Grain, Boondocks and Social Tap Eatery all offer a more relaxed setting in which to imbibe.
Phoenix’s neighbor to the east offers everything from small dive bars to larger, bottle-service clubs. Downtown Tempe is within walking distance of the Arizona State University campus, so it’s more of a college town with casual sports bars and dive bars, in addition to restaurants and boutique shops.
Arizona brewery Four Peaks Brewing Company has multiple locations across the Valley, but the original flagship is housed inside a 100-year-old former creamery and ice factory on Eighth Street. Order a pint of one of their signature brews, like the Peach Ale or flagship Kilt Lifter, or something seasonal, then soak up the suds with some pub food.
Mill Avenue offers even more spots for ASU students (and the young at heart) to party, including Rula Bula Irish Pub & Restaurant, Mill Cue Club, Pedal Haus Brewery. Another Culinary Dropout at The Yard is located just off Mill Avenue, where there’s also sister locales to El Hefe and Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row. Go VIP at AURA—the 5,000 square-foot space calls itself “downtown Tempe's hottest nightclub.” For game day, go to C.A.S.A. for 32oz buckets o’ booze on the patio.
Mill Ave has just about everything, from a dueling piano bar (Low Key Piano Bar) and an Irish pub (Rúla Búla). to Zuma which offers vodka Red Bull bombs called Snorkels. Long-standing pool hall Mill Cue Club is a favorite for cheap, strong drinks, while The Handlebar is a go-to for happy hour drafts on the patio. For more local craft beers, pedal over to Pedal Haus Brewery.
The West Valley also has a Low Key Piano Bar location in the Westgate Entertainment District, which is home to many restaurants and happy hours. Glendale doesn’t have as much as a happening nightlife as the rest of Metropolitan Phoenix, but you can have a steak dinner and ride a mechanical bull at Glendale’s Saddle Ranch Chop House.