The Absolute Best Bars in Phoenix Right Now
From cozy dives to cocktail lounges, this is where you should be drinking in Phoenix.
Thirsty? Good, because Phoenix’s favorite bars are ready to quench your insatiable cravings for fancy cocktails, agave spirits, worldly drinks, tropical libations, cheap drafts, delicious wine, and Prohibition era sippers. Whatever direction your thirst takes you, you've got options. And absolutely no shortage of them, either. Phoenix is overflowing with an ostensibly endless selection of outstanding places, from swanky cocktail bars to subterranean speakeasies.
This Roosevelt Row newcomer, from the industry vets behind Jobot and Baby Boy, is at its core a tribute to the flavors of Southeast and East Asia. The indoor-outdoor space is emblazoned in murals that seem to wrap around every corner of the building, glowing lanterns sway in the warm breeze above your head, and the tables are draped in vibrant floral tablecloths. Sippers like the fruity and spicy Saigon Sour and rum-forward Manilla Ice are among the many choice options at Khla. But don’t miss The Silk Road, a boozy take on Thai iced tea. And when late night cravings strike, consult the menu at Lom Wong. The newly opened Thai restaurant shares a space with Khla and deals in drinking food.
A procession of heritage agave spirits, think tequila, mezcal, bacanora, raicilla, and sotol, are on parade at Downtown Phoenix’s Barcoa Agaveria. This lively bi-level bar features two district spaces, a more casual upstairs cantina-inspired area complete with an open-air patio and a vibey basement bar that’s illuminated with glowing bottles, decorated with eccentric art, and outfitted with bar and group seating. Barcoa’s lengthy menus highlight many rare and hard to find agave spirits, something agave aficionados can appreciate. Easy drinking classics like the tequila-kissed Paloma, gingery Mezcal Mule, and fruity margaritas are on standby upstairs. And in the basement, signature cocktails like the citrusty Elote Moda and the pear-infused Pera Tegroni are among a shortlist of refined sippers that are expertly executed by the Barcoa bartenders. The buzzy agaveria also offers a series of flights that can effortlessly accommodate every budget and palate, like the Agave Road Trip or Billionaire Flight.
Phoenix’s Bar 1912 comes from the hospitality innovators who introduced us to Valentine. Much like its culinary counterpart, the vibes at this modern-meets-minimalist hideout are indeed immaculate. The space, conveniently located around the back of Valentine, is marked with architecture elements at every turn, round stools that belly up to the bar counter, and intimate seating options for tight groups. Like the design, the menu makes a solid first impression, too. Imbibers are invited to discover a collection of craft drinks that surprise and delight that are built primarily on local spirits and regionally-sourced ingredients, inspired by Arizona’s Five C's—copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate. Look for the illuminated “cocktails” sign on your next visit.
The elevator down to this basement level bar is kind of like a time machine. Drawing inspiration from 1800-style cocktails, Rough Rider, from the folks behind The Whining Pig, leans into the pre-Prohibition era with its old world atmosphere and Victorian-inspired cocktails. The cavern-like speakeasy is outfitted with ritzy horseshoe-shaped booths, tables for small groups, and a luxe marble bar stretches across the space. Rough Riders’ scopic menu encompasses traditional tea punch drinks, cobbler-style cocktails, and original recipe drinks that date back to the 1800s era like the President’s Julep, a refreshing libation made with champagne, peach brandy, and mint. Rough Riders is fittingly positioned on the corner of Central and Roosevelt and features an unmissable mosaic of Teddy Roosevelt (the primary inspiration behind the bar) at its exterior.
So Far, So Good
Nineties grunge and ‘70s cool ooze out of this Downtown Phoenix shipping container bar. Among the roster of walk-up residents at The Churchill, So Far, So Good satisfies the senses with its lineup of well-poured and thoughtfully imagined craft drinks. Mezcal fans can appreciate the Thousand Mile Stare and if you’re into tropical cocktails Return to Passion, constructed with aged rum pineapple-pear liqueur, and passionfruit, is your ticket to paradise. So Far, So Good shares the community space with a shortlist of neighbors that can fuel your night out with noshes like vegan pizza, churros and tacos, and craveable burgers.
Baby Boy is a relatively new addition to The Pemberton—the downtown Phoenix dining, retail and art collective—that fits in perfectly to the space’s existing fun and colorful atmosphere. The cocktail trailer is a go-to for tropical, frozen cocktails that will transport you to a beachside vacation with drinks like the Oax Acolada made with mezcal, coconut, lime, pineapple, and bitters.
Garden Bar Phx
Garden Bar opened in late 2021, and our 2022 is already significantly better because of it. The bar, housed in a warm and welcoming white bungalow, gives the feeling of enjoying the perfect cocktail in the comfort of your home—if you had a James Beard-honored mixologist mixing up your drinks that is. The libations, imagined by Kim Haasarud, vary by season and include one-of-a-kind creations like the cranberry jubilee with stewed cranberries, earl gray infused gin, lime Perrier, cava, orange, and rosemary.
This hotel hotspot has already become an Uptown Phoenix hotspot thanks to its stunning rooftop views, cozy 60s-inspired decor and vast selection of old-school spritzes and highballs. While the unique assortment of cocktails is impressive, our go-to is the truly unforgettable Sicilian crafted with Solerno orange liqueur, sweet vermouth, Aperitivo Cappelletti, a heavy bit of fanilla, and prosecco.
This elegant cocktail bar was meant to be great with Bitter & Twisted co-owner Ross Simon at the helm, and it’s lived up to the hype with high-quality cocktails crafted with house-made elements and seasonal flavors. Even better—thanks to their daily lineup of specials you can always get a deal, from 20% off cocktails to a complimentary chef’s board with a bottle of wine.
AZ88 has been the Valley’s go-to for a great martini, since well, ’88. And while the giant martinis are reason enough to visit (take it from us and opt for the Pornstar Martini for a sweet vanilla cocktail with a shot of champagne) their art installations are just as alluring. The ‘Gram-worthy bar even recently unveiled a can’t-miss new disco ball art piece.
Highball Cocktail Bar is a contemporary, swingy upstairs cocktail lounge positioned on the buzzy corner of McDowell and 7th Avenue. The award-winning cocktail bar offers a meticulously detailed menu of drinks, spanning from shaken and stirred concoctions to a designed-to-share large format punch that’s perfect for small groups. Bar bites like snacky kimchi popcorn, rave-worthy Cubano sandwiches, and refreshing ceviche are available thanks to nearby Sink or Swim.
Lylo Swim Club
A fixture of ARRIVE Phoenix, Lylo Swim Club offers a poolside escape for visitors and locals alike. A rotation of chilled sippers including sorbet bellinis and rum-spiked pineapple soft serve, best enjoyed poolside, of course, are just a couple of the boozy delicacies you can order.
Killer Whale Sex Club (KWSC)
This new-ish drinking den takes up residence in an unmissable mural-clad spot in the Roosevelt Row area. When it comes to drinks you’ve got a spectrum of options that span from ornate craft cocktails complete with fancy garnishes to your basic lagers and seltzers. And if you’re hungry you’ve got a lineup of delicious eats like packed-full burritos and gourmet street tacos on standby courtesy of Chubas Tacos.
Practically the Disneyland of Phoenix drinking experiences, and a must-visit for any cocktail enthusiast, not only can you sip some of the best cocktails you’ve probably ever tasted, you’re in for an unparalleled immersive experience when you visit this trio of classy bars. Inspired by the turn of the century, Platform 18 resembles a moving train car traveling across the transcontinental railroad system with the optics and sounds to make it seem very, very real. And just steps away is Grey Hen, an apothecary-style bar serving up tinctures and boozy cures to all of your ailments. And tiki fans have something to get excited about: UnderTow has made its anticipated return. The award-winning tiki bar neighbors these two formidable drinking experiences.
Ground Control to Major Tom, this out-of-this-world pinball lounge with rock-and-roll-inspired drinks pays tribute to David Bowie with its ultra-glam decor and cocktail menu inspired by Ziggy Stardust. The barcade has a light-up dance floor, retro artwork on the walls, and neon, lots and lots of neon. Oh, and there’s more than a dozen pinball machines just waiting to eat your tokens. You can find the secret entrance to Stardust Pinbar through Ziggy’s.
Provision Coffee Bar
Part specialty coffee shop and part cocktail bar, Provision blesses us all with their lineup of crave-worthy caffeinated and boozy drinks for when you want to be buzzed and caffeinated simultaneously. The Arcadia neighborhood coffee shop has an expansive, and socially distanced, outdoor patio which is perfect for gathering up your whole crew for weekend drinks.
The White Rabbit
Do you have the secret password? You’ll need it to get into this swanky speakeasy haunt. Inspired by the Prohibition Era and decorated with posh furniture and vintage photographs, The White Rabbit offers an elevated experience with a roster of ornate cocktails and small bites to match.
When it comes to hard ciders, you’d be pressed to find anybody doing it better than the crew at Arizona’s first, and largest, craft cidery, Cider Corps. Arizona’s first cidery and taproom, Cider Corps delivers inventive takes on classic hard ciders by adding unique ingredients like cucumber, blackberry, hibiscus, and prickly pear. And the results are delicious. In addition to cans, cases, and growlers, Cider Corps is tickling our taste buds with their 32-ounce chocolate and pomegranate cider.
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Award-winning Bitter & Twisted is Phoenix’s undisputed top spot for over-the-top craft cocktails. You won’t long for variety here either—with a book-like menu of 60 cocktails to choose from including the classics, like the martini, to the creative, such as The Accidental Connoisseur with Carpano Bianco, plum wine, bitters, lemon juice, and house-made grenadine. Or make it your own with one of their build-your-own style market cocktails.
Scapegoat Beer and Wine
An assembly of wine and beer is what's on deck at this laidback Old Town Scottsdale wine bar. Take your pick from a parade of prosecco, pinot noir, cabs, and red blends or savor a locally-made cider or saison—there’s really no wrong choice here.
The Captain's Cabin
Did somebody say rum? The rum’s always flowing when the red light is glowing outside of the industrial-looking door that grants your crew access into this dimly-lit drinking den. Here, rum-heavy tiki-style drinks are standard. And for a tasty, boozy adventure, try the rum flights.
Linger Longer Lounge
This Uptown Phoenix spot has everything you’d come to expect from your standard neighborhood bar. Linger always has a solid lineup of drafts. And you can even find amaro on tap here. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the pop-up pub grub provided by Der Wurst Hot Dogs. And, the killer jukebox soundtrack is worth-mentioning, too.
Postino seemingly has it all—a hip, laid-back vibe, impeccable service, top-notch food, an extensive wine list, and one of the best happy hours around. And they’ve got a location in practically every corner of town, which means vino and bruschetta is never too far away.
Gracie's Tax Bar
Funky artwork, formica tabletops, and a masked-up taxidermied javelina head are just some of the, well, interesting artifacts that make up the vintage vibe of this divey drinkery. Located in a former tax-service building, Gracie’s is a no-frills bar with cheap drinks and a kitchen that stays until the early morning hours to satisfy your midnight munchies.
This former department store turned restaurant and bar deals in all sorts of classic cocktails and refined noshes, including a number of unmissable sharable Italian-style desserts. But first, you should probably order those martinis.
Lauren Topor Reichert is a writer, photographer, and social drinker. She likes her margaritas with mezcal and her coffee spiked on occasion. See what Lauren is drinking right now on Instagram.