Bars and Pubs
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
A little Scottsdale style has managed to slip into Central Phoenix. The Vig (4041 N. 40th St., 602/553-7227, 11 a.m.–midnight. Sun.–Wed., 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Thurs.–Sat.) has become the place to go for folks who want Desert Modernist design with their cocktails and European beer. The restaurant and bar are always busy, though it’s The Vig’s “backyard” that has made it such a hotspot. On weekends, a DJ spins tunes on the large, shady patio, and friends battle it out on the bocce ball court. Despite all of the polish, the “modern tavern” is pretty relaxed and a nice place to start your evening or to finish it up with a nightcap.
Who hasn’t thought a 1960s rec room would make a perfect dive bar? Thankfully, someone had a little follow-through. Shady’s Lounge (2701 E. Indian School Rd., 602/956-8998, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily) has become a wood-paneled hipster haven, complete with pool table, well-stocked jukebox, and requisite beer selection, including Stella, New Castle, and Guinness on tap. The bar is small to be sure, but the laid-back crowd is colorful and eager to chat. As one of the regulars, Heidi, will tell you: Never a dull moment, never a dull conversation.
Phoenix loves its pubs, and the George & Dragon (4240 N. Central Ave., 602/241-0018, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily) is the most British of the bunch, with stone walls and fireplaces, Union Jack flags, and an impressive selection of English, Welsh, and Scottish beers. In fact, the “GnD” promises the “largest selection of imported draught beer and scotch in the Phoenix area.” So why not grab yourself a Tetley’s and an order of bangers and mash? You could do worse—and an irascible but lovable staff is happy to tell you so.
Phoenix is a sports town, and there’s no better place to catch a big game with a couple hundred of your closest friends than Half Moon Sports Grill (2121 E. Highland Ave., 602/977-2700, www.halfmoonsportsgrill.com, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily). Thanks to big screens galore throughout the restaurant, bar, and patio, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to follow a host of games and tourneys. The ambience and food are decidedly more upscale than your traditional sports bar, though the selection of beer is up to the test of most connoisseurs. And why the name Half Moon? You’ll figure out the cheeky reference when you get there.
Rosie McCaffrey’s Irish Pub (906 E. Camelback Rd., 602/241-1916, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–midnight Sun.) is big, loud, and always a lot of fun—perfect for a Friday night. Yes, it can be too crowded and the band too loud, but with Smithwick’s on tap and Jameson at the ready, it’s an easy cross to bear. Try to grab a booth in the back or a table out front if you’d like a quieter place to chat.
The Swizzle Inn (5835 N. 16th St., 602/277-7775, 10 a.m.–2 a.m. daily) offers everything you want in a dive bar. Cheap, strong drinks? Check. A dartboard and pool table? Check. Johnny Cash on the jukebox, a sassy bartender named Darlene, and an eccentric group of regulars who welcome newbies? Check, check, and check. This hole-in-the-wall bar feels like a neighborhood hangout because it is. I’ve even heard of people living at “the Swiz” for an entire weekend, sustaining themselves on the potluck dishes and ever-flowing cocktails. As the sign says, “swizzle in and swagger out.”
After a hike up neighboring Piestewa Peak, a little time on Aunt Childa’s patio (7330 N. Dreamy Draw Dr., 602/944-1286, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. daily) with a margarita or three could be just the cure for sore muscles. The old hacienda-style restaurant has three outdoor bars, and there’s live music Wednesday and Friday nights.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition