The Absolute Best Bars In Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk
Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Lauren Gruber

Tucson, Arizona has a lively bar scene in its downtown district. Read ahead for our guide to the best bars in Tucson.

The Shelter Cocktail Lounge

The Shelter is a cozy dive bar filled with retro decorations, like sparkly vinyl chairs, old adverts, and a Cold War theme of JFK memorabilia. The concrete, neon-lit bar features a happy hour from 3pm to 8pm daily. Specialties include a list of five cocktails, four beers and three shots. There’s also a novelty bar indulging in a go-go theme and they play old movies like Labryinth or Forrest Gump. Be sure to order their Bloody Mary with garlic and jalapeño vodka, or a key lime pie cocktail. Also, bring change for the old school pinball machines.

Tap & Bottle

Easily one of the best beer bars in Tucson, Tap & Bottle is a fun and friendly beer cafe for craft connoisseurs. The 21 taps rotate very frequently, and there are numerous beer and wine options. You’ll also find one of the largest international bottle collections in Tucson. Food trucks also line up outside, so you can enjoy their food with your drink.

The Buffet

The Buffet was crowned one of the best dive bars in America by Esquire, and this dive bar staple is the oldest continuously serving bar in Tucson. ‘Happy Minute’ occurs at 6pm and 11pm, when you can get a $1 beer of whatever you’re already drinking. The kitschy atmosphere is a throwback from the past. You’ll find a variety of locals, which makes for an interesting evening. The budget-friendly bar is cash only.

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink

Serving varieties of gourmet pizzas, from arugula and proscuitto to vegan slices, Reilly offers a relaxing experience. The beer garden in the back hosts 40 rotating tap bees with more than eight tap wines. The garden has both indoor and outdoor seating, with communal style tables perfect for large groups. This place features some of the best beers of the season from all over the country.

Barrio Brewing Co

Barrio has an extensive list of beers. The brewery sells 12 drafts, including Barrio blonde, American pale ales and their mocha java stout, brewed with Euro-espresso roasted coffee. Happy hour includes half off spinach and artichoke dips, buffalo wings and $1 off all drinks. Try out their big soft pretzels, ‘beer sponges,’ that come in twos and are great for soaking up their IPA. Menu items, like burgers, come in well-sized portions.

Dante’s Fire

The cocktail bar and gastropub spices things up with their creative cocktails. Their indulgent cocktails range from ‘sexual chocolate’ with vanilla vodka, chocolate liquor and ancho chili to their ‘grow a pear’ with citrus vodka, pear juice and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. They also have spicy and sweet concoctions as well. Happy hour is every day from 4pm to 7pm and late night from 11pm to 2am, plus it runs all day on Sunday. The bar and restaurant has a modern saloon feel, with stained glass windows and vintage beams overhead making it down-to-earth.

Ermanos Craft Beer and Wine Bar

Ermanos Craft Beer and Wine Bar features an intimate bar and wine tasting room in downtown Tucson. A carefully curated selection of craft beer and international wines are served on tap and in bottles. Every day from 2pm to 6pm, happy hour features $1 off all wines by the glass and $1 off all drafts. There are also $2 discounts on ‘happy tap’ handles that rotates daily. Several lunch and dinner plates are on special during the regular happy hour and late night from 10pm to 12am. The industrial style bar also has a slew of board games to play while you wait for your food.

Che’s Lounge

Che’s Lounge has been a 4th Avenue favorite for more than a decade. It is a great place to meet friends for cheap drink while taking in the nightlife. They offer a blend of fresh fruit cocktails (blueberry kamikazes), grown up sno-cones, beer specials and fast service, plus pints of High Life. Take advantage of their jukebox and be sure to check out the murals on the walls. The patio is also great for smokers and for those who want to enjoy the weather. Look out for specials at the bar.

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