The Valley crushes it when it comes to quirky spots you won’t find anywhere else, especially those of the wining and dining variety. If you’re looking for a new place to call home for happy hour — whether you’re down for dive bars, hipster hangouts or a mix between the two — keep reading.
1. Cobra Arcade Bar
Play Super Smash Bros. while you sip a beer. Cobra boasts 40 vintage arcade games, 17 beers on tap and half a dozen arcade-themed craft cocktails. Score a seat at the bar and sip on a Princess Peach or Crazy Kong, try to guess what obscure movie is flashing across the TV screens behind the bar, or vibe out to techno tunes during DJ night.
Location: 801 N 2nd St #100, Phoenix
Hours: Monday-Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from Noon to 2 a.m.
Want to know about other bars where there’s more fun to be had than just drinking? Here are some of our favorites.
2. Casey Moore’s Oyster House
Get your seafood on. On weekends, the expansive patio at Casey’s feels more like a crowded house party than a seafood restaurant. But don’t be fooled by its rugged appearance — the bar and restaurant serves up some of the best shrimp, calamari, oysters and clams in the city. Dive into the Oysters Rockefeller or Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and wash it all down with a Cactus Cooler — an invigorating cocktail consisting of triple sec, citrus-infused vodka and Rockstar energy drink.
Location: 850 South Ash Avenue, Tempe
Hours: Daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Dog-friendly patio until 5 p.m.
3. Valley Bar
The entrance to this cozy underground oasis covertly nestles in the alley off Central Avenue and Monroe Street. The only thing differentiating the bar/restaurant/music venue from its nondescript surroundings is a small neon sign poised above the doorway.
Once you pass the threshold, a steep staircase leads into a dimly lit, two-room lounge that includes two bars, billiards, arcade games, couches, board games, a music hall and a “secret room” that proves to be even more elusive than the bar itself. Kick back on the couch, sip on a craft cocktail, play a round of Uno and pat yourself on the back for finding this speakeasy-style establishment, though you may not be able to say the same for your designated driver at the end of the night.
Location: 130 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
Hours: Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Want to feel like you’re in an episode of Phoenix’s version of Portlandia? Walk through Lux’s doors and weave your way through mismatched couches, antique chairs, picnic tables topped with typewriters and local art adorning the walls.
One part coffee shop and one part cocktail lounge, it serves unparalleled mac and cheese and always stays crowded. It’s not uncommon to see students studying quietly at the corner tables or friends curled up on the couches catching up over cappuccinos.
Against one wall, a soccer game splashes across a projection screen. On the opposite side, the bar houses beer, wine, spirits and fresh ingredients for craft cocktails. The mellow soundtrack — often provided by a DJ who sits in the corner — consists of ambient tracks that seem to oscillate between Ladysmith Black Mombazo and M83.
The staff is upbeat and friendly, although it sometimes seems like you might get snubbed if you’re not familiar with fair trade or fixed gears. Though it may be too hip for its own good, Lux is cozy and accommodating, which is likely what keeps people coming back.
Location: 4400 N Central Ave, Phoenix
Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 6 a.m. to midnight, and Friday-Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.
5. Cornish Pasty Co.
Show your friends how culturally enlightened you are with your thorough knowledge of this British street snack. Cornish Pasty (pronounced “past-ee”) purveys savory pastries filled with meat like lamb, pork, chicken and bacon and veggies like potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans and celery.
The restaurant, which has four Valley locations, also offers vegan and vegetarian pasties packed with fake chicken and beef and loaded with cheese and veggies. Come for the Cornish comfort food with a southwestern twist and stay for a round of local brews, Cornish car bombs or piquant Bloody Marys.
Mesa: 1941 W. Guadalupe Rd.
Phoenix: 3 W. Monroe St.
Scottsdale: 3800 N. Goldwater Blvd.
Tempe: 960 W. University Dr.
Tempe: 425 S. Mill Avenue
Hours: Times Vary by location
– Madison Rutherford, College Times / Edited for Phoenix.org