Best Phoenix Underground Bars
When we say underground, we really mean underground! Most of these secretive spots are found in basements, bomb shelters and cool underground nooks and crannies. In a town as hot as Phoenix, an underground bar helps to keep the booze cool and the patrons too! When temperatures get into the 100s and a nice cold beer sounds like the only thing that will do, this is the place to look for the perfect spot to belly up to the bar and order something on tap. Looking for a snappy cocktail or an upscale wine. We've got places for those too.
Tiki themed bars are alive and well in Phoenix. This time with a modern twist. This relaxed yet hip cocktail spot features tropical drinks in fun glasses and also a great menu featuring Polynesian and American flavors. The Phoenix location is new, bright and features a nice indoor/outdoor feel with a spacious patio area. Happy hour is from 3:30pm to 6pm Monday to Friday, and all day drink specials on Saturday and Sunday.
There's also a private dining space replete with traditional tiki touches. Plenty of thatch and palm fronds for a tropical feel. And for something more intimate, there is the Captain's Cabin where craft cocktails are concocted in a nautical themed 2nd lounge. If you happen to find yourself closer to Scottsdale than Phoenix proper, then you are in luck as there is another location on First Avenue in Old Town Scottsdale.
Another fun mix that is taking the bar scene to a new level is Cobra Arcade Bar. That translates to a video game arcade with vintage games along with a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. They serve beer, cider, wine and a few specialty cocktails with names like Krazy Kong and Whiskey Business. Being that this is definitely a bar, there is a 21+ age restriction, so no bringing the kids to play that vintage game of DigDug or Centipede.
Here are just a few of the games you might find: Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat II, Joust and Galaga along with classic pinball machines. The machines are rotated, so just when you are getting good at one game, you might find your best game replaced by the one game you haven't quite mastered. All games take tokens which can be bought on premise from a machine. The good news is the same tokens can also be used at their downtown Tucson location as well. Also, you are able to reserve a table before 8pm or host a private party.
An underground pub in the basement of a liquor store. Brilliant! Follow the neon sign once in the store to find the staircase leading to the pub. It is a rather cozy joint which doubles as a wine cellar, filled to the brim with wine bottles. There's not much room at the bar itself, but several other spaces offer up couches and tables where you can sit. They have several beers on tap, but if those aren't to your liking, you can buy any beer from the fridge upstairs and give it a go. They have a reasonably large selection of hard to find beers, or go for the beer tasting on Fridays. Not into beer? If wine is your thing, they have wine tastings in the pub on Thursdays.
This is strictly a beer and wine bar though... no cocktails. As to when the basement pub is open, their hours differ from the store itself. The Oracle checked into it and was told 5pm to 11pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Honor Amongst Thieves is a swanky 50s inspired speakeasy bar with a really cool name. Also playfully known as HAT, this is the place to go for a glorious cocktail or a magnificent mixed drink with flair. The bartenders here know a lot more than how to crack open a bottle of beer or pour a glass of wine. This sultry lounge holds about 80 patrons and is accessed by staircase at the back of sister restaurant Stock and Stable. Unlike our other bars listed so far, Honor Amongst Thieves happens to be upstairs instead of down.
The Oracle recommends you check out their weekly specials like $10 martinis and Manhattans on Mondays. Or come on a weekend night to hear a DJ spin eccentric tunes, although be forewarned that weekends are much more crowded and the music can get cranking. Drinks are a little more money than in your normal dive bar, but you are paying for dimly lit ambiance and the cool factor. Open 7 nights a week until midnight on weekdays and until 2am on weekends. And here's a tip for you. Save some money on a swanky outfit to wear to this swanky bar by shopping for great deals at Nordstrom's Last Chance clearance store.
Not only is Salt Cellar a popular underground bar, but it's also a pretty phenomenal restaurant. Let's start with the bar - featuring hundreds of alcohol options and a long list of fresh seafood plates, the bar is a perfect blend of casual and upscale. Salt Cellar is a local hotspot for all things drink, food, and fun. If you're in the mood for some culinary mastery, order one of the specialties including the grilled bone-in swordfish chop, the broiled bank sea scallops, or the salmon wellington. Paired with a specialty wine or handcrafted cocktail, Salt Cellar truly is something special.
The exterior doesn't look like much, and if you're not familiar with Salt Cellar you might not even know what it is when you first see it. Featuring a stunning skylight over the bar, one look into the space is all you need to fall in love with this exceptional bar and restaurant.
This somewhat hidden underground bar has a tiki/clipper ship themed interior. In fact they take the theme to the extreme with extra special effects throughout the evening, seen through the "portholes" including a sunset and canon battles. The seating is very limited so reservations are recommended and can only be made online. Walk-ins are welcome, but there could be a wait depending on how many "crew" are already onboard. Once inside you will find yourself faced with an exotic menu of cocktails, most of them featuring rum. The menus change and come with a seafaring tale with lines like, "Aye, that is avoiding drinking anything from a skull Captain..."
The trick to finding this underground treasure is to first find Sip Coffee and Beer Garage. Once there, you'll take the thatched staircase in the middle of the premises. And if you've been smart enough to make reservations, be sure to arrive on time as they tend to run a tight ship. This unique bar is open 7 days a week starting from 4pm and a little earlier Saturdays and Sundays. Take a seafaring adventure at the Undertow... all the fun without having to swab the deck.
Originally built as a bombshelter, this bar is in a somewhat secret spot tucked in behind Dysart Liquor in Avondale. The bar opened as a truly underground bar in 1962 when Avondale was a dry city. Eventually a bar/restaurant was built above the original bomb shelter which now serves great food, has lots of TVs and you can order up a cool one that won't break the bank. The underground bar still exists and serves as a nightclub and bar scene. This bar is open 7 days a week from 11am to 2:30am, so you can pop in any time. Once you do you'll want to settle in for a game of pool or darts and a brewskie.
The Oracle also happens to know that this bar also has a nice big outdoor patio. The name is appropriate in that Aguila's Hideaway takes a bit of searching in order to find it, and the current owner is named... you guessed it... Aguila. It has however also been Wendy Jacks Hideaway and Scotts Hideaway. We figure once a hideaway, always a hideaway.
Another truly underground bar, accessible only through an entrance in the alley and a somewhat tricky set of stairs, the Valley Bar is a fun downtown Phoenix hangout. Once in the basement you'll find yourself with a choice of fun time rooms. Are you into games? There's the billiards and games room. Or try the Rose Room, named after Rose Mofford who was Arizona's first female govenor. Here you can wet your whistle with 8 beers on tap, over 50 wines and a plethora of cocktail choices. And last but not least there's the music hall where you will find a variety of entertainment including music, comedy and more.
The Oracle suggests you take advantage of their plentiful happy hours both early in the evening and later at midnight. Or go on a Monday for their free games all night. Leave the car at home and take the light rail, getting off at the Adams Station. From there it is only a few blocks. Or if you prefer rooftops to basements, there are plenty of those in Phoenix as well, like the swanky Lustre Bar on the rooftop of the Hotel Palomar.
The Event Oracle has all the answers for a great stay in Phoenix or one of the surrounding cities. Whether it is an upscale lounge or a down and dirty dive bar, we've collected the best places for a refreshing drink. Or if the bar scene isn't your thing and you need something perhaps more family friendly or only have the morning to explore, then visit the Event Oracle's calendar of events for Phoenix for more great ideas.
Have another favorite bar that you think should be on this list? Let us know!