The Best Nightlife Guide To Phoenix, Arizona

Cool down at night after a hot day in Phoenix
Cool down at night after a hot day in Phoenix | © Brian Green / Alamy
Frank Lopez


After another hot day in the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find a pack of locals and travelers cooling down in the nightspots. Join them in a trendy dive bar, tropical cocktail paradise or perhaps a rooftop lounge with views over folded mountain slopes.

1. Bikini Lounge

Nightclub, Cocktails

Bikini Lounge has sat in the Arts District since 1946, and not much has changed since it first opened. But whether you would normally head to a tiki bar or not, it offers a slice of kitsch Americana only enhanced by the pool table. Drink straight-up cocktails under neon lighting as the jukebox blasts the oldies in a cult-movie atmosphere.

2. Breadfruit and Rum Bar

Bar, Cocktails

Breadfruit and Rum Bar is a stone’s throw from the Downtown Farmers Market, offering some of the most exciting cocktails in the state. With more than 150 premium rums, this is a Caribbean dream in tasteful surroundings. It’s not cheap, but you will leave with wobbly legs having dined well on island-themed food. The fact the business is run on a sustainable model is a bonus.

3. Valley Bar

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails

In downtown Phoenix, this dive bar is where the young and hip shoot pool and cut loose. Vintage arcade machines line the walls and board games will amuse you after you’ve selected from the wide range of beers. There’s also a stage, on which local bands play towards the end of the week – it can get busy. If cocktails are your thing, head to the Rose Room where you’ll find signature concoctions named after local politicians.

4. Crescent Ballroom

Nightclub, Cocktails

The Crescent, found just off W Van Buren Street in downtown Phoenix, is a local institution where you can catch bands on their way up. As a 500-capacity venue you get the intimacy and energy of live music at its best. The margaritas help a little, too. You can also dine on pseudo Mexican cuisine and sink drinks under the stripped awning out front.

5. Lustre Rooftop Bar

Bar, Cocktails

If rooftops and fancy cocktails are your thing, head south of downtown towards the Warehouse District to the Hotel Palomar where al fresco drinking is taken to another level. Lustre Rooftop Bar is an ideal date-night spot, with a view of the distant mountains and the calmness that comes from being seated close to a pool. If you really want to relax, grab a comfortable cabana.

6. MercBar

Bar, Cocktails

The MercBar brand began in New York City, and although the original has now shut, this Phoenix outpost has been going strong since 1996. Here classic dark wood paneling and sensual lighting creates an atmosphere where the well-heeled gather over fancy drinks. Throw on your posh frocks and opt from a selection of classic cocktails; try an old fashioned with a mezcal twist to mix it up.

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