Some bars have a lounge-vibe with appropriately styled furniture, craft beer, and decor that looks straight out of interior design magazines. Dive bars, by contrast, have a lived-in appearance with sticky floors or a nondescript outside appearance. Bars like these might not seem like much, but here are five of the greatest dive bars in Phoenix.
This pirate-themed bar in North Phoenix has inexpensive drinks and a very friendly staff. Raucous karaoke sessions and goldfish races are just some of the events that attract people to the bar. The entire establishment has an amicable vibe to it. But be forewarned, Rum Runners doesn’t tolerate any rowdy patrons, and they aren’t afraid to make people who give guff walk the plank (out the door).
Many bars try to promote a friendly vibe, but the Westwood Tap doesn’t have to try. It has the vibe naturally. A schnauzer is known to walk among the cocktail waitresses as they serve drinks. Other charming features include a vending machine that dispenses snacks and cigarettes and a cocktail unit arcade with Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. A bar length mirror makes it easy to track the action happening in the bar like a widescreen movie. Join in watching basketball games and singing along to the music.
Formerly known as the Liguori Lounge, Kat’s hosts a diverse and sometimes tough crowd. It features a narrow bar with cat photographs that opens into a rec room-style space. This space features free Texas-hold’em tournaments, pool, and a claw game filled with adult DVDs. Locals chat away while drinking daily specials or happy hour beer news. No one hesitates to dance when a song comes on the jukebox.
Wandering is an East Phoenix hole-in-the-wall type bar with a happy hour that runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drink prices are found on drink bottles written in Sharpie. It opens at 6 a.m. for the old-school hard-drinking types who are happy to socialize. It has a back room that’s never used and an interior that is far from updated.
Microwaved snacks and cigarettes are also available to buy. There’s also a chance that a Chihuahua might take a seat at the bar looking for a few free pets. Don’t be surprised if the place breaks into song when something comes on the jukebox.
Closing Soon Saloon
The Closing Soon Saloon in nearby Scottsdale is a 30-year neighborhood institution. It serves drinks in a storefront bar space located between a taco shop and a laundromat. It plays host to a diverse group of locals who live nearby and an even more diverse playlist from ABBA to Frank Sinatra.
Customers find goldfish in gumball machines and play games such as dropping a coin in a jug of water. If the coin lands in the shot glass at the bottom, the next drink gets a discount. It’s an eclectic bar with good times ahead for anyone that comes in.
Dive bars aren’t always the most appealing from the outside or the inside. But for the best ones, looks don’t matter. What does is the warm and fun vibe that the place gives off. It can’t be duplicated. It just is, and that’s the best place to have a good time.