The Best Cocktail Bars in Phoenix, Arizona

The best hotels in Phoenix cater to everyone from desert explorers to spa seekers
The best hotels in Phoenix cater to everyone from desert explorers to spa seekers | © Nick Fox / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Taylor Haynes
19 October 2020

Looking to wet your whistle in the Valley of the Sun? Here is Culture Trip’s list of classic cocktail bars to visit across the desert in Phoenix, Arizona – whether it’s boozy beverages, an electrifying ambience or luxurious libations you’re after.

Valley Bar

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

Valley Bar, in a downtown building dating back to 1949, pays homage to Arizona’s history, lore and famous figures, and it’s as much an event space (featuring regular live music and slam poetry) as it is an intimate lounge. The cocktails here are named after well-known politicians in the state, including Gabby Giffords and Raúl Héctor Castro. Try the intense and memorable Barry Goldwater, made with Redemption Rye, simple syrup, Aztec chocolate bitters and an absinthe rinse – ask for it spicy.

The Womack

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

The sleek, mid-century-inspired Womack is among Phoenix’s top picks to enjoy a classic cocktail, such as an amaretto sour, a martini or a manhattan. You can also tap your foot to live music – primarily soulful blues and funk hits. The Womack takes its inspiration from Chez Nous, a beloved Phoenix institution that opened in 1963 and closed in 2009 and was known for its impressive lineup of musical acts. Today, you’ll find the same cool, retro ambience at the Womack. You can even order deviled eggs with your drink, a classic ’60s pairing.

UnderTow

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

Looking for a good drink and an equally intriguing story? You’ll find both at UnderTow, Phoenicians’ favorite tiki bar that resembles the interior of a ship. The menu takes you on a fictional journey around the globe, discovering new flavors and spirits – a thrilling adventure without leaving your table. Explore its wide variety of cocktail offerings, ranging from fruity tropical options to smoky mezcal-based concoctions.

Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour

Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Contemporary, $$$
Map View

Ironically housed in Phoenix’s former Prohibition headquarters, Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour serves dazzlingly creative libations in hip digs. This award-winning bar-eatery is ideal for a romantic night on the town, a celebration or if you simply want to treat yourself after a long week. Don’t be surprised if your drink comes in an ornate teacup or a vessel shaped like a rubber duck or a teddy bear – Bitter and Twisted has a reputation for pushing the limits in the best way possible.

Cobra Arcade Bar

Bar, Pub, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

Cobra Arcade Bar, smack-dab in the middle of downtown Phoenix, is the best spot in Arizona to geek out over vintage video games, such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, while sipping a creatively named, arcade-themed cocktail. This energetic (and nostalgic) bar comes alive on the weekends with the sound of clinking glasses, groups of friends huddled around pinball machines and buzzing, beeping arcade games. As for your order, try Game Over – a highly drinkable blend of Suerte Blanco, passionfruit, lemon and plum bitters.

The Ostrich

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

Leap back in time at the Ostrich in Chandler’s revitalized downtown. Beneath a pizza parlor, you’ll find a dimly lit cocktail lounge – with deep leather booths, buzzing Edison bulbs and generous pours – inspired by early-20th-century speakeasies. But what do ostriches have anything to do with it? The city’s founder, Dr AJ Chandler, was an entrepreneur and eccentric who brought these big birds to his ranch in 1905 when the ostrich-feather hat industry was booming. Without ostriches, Chandler might not exist today.

These recommendations were updated on October 19, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.