For decades, downtown Phoenix was a sleepy business district where the streets and sidewalks emptied out after 5 p.m.
But the city's urban center has slowly come to life in the last decade, with new mixed-use developments like CityScape that are bringing restaurants, shopping and nightlife spots to this part of the city.
Valley Bar is possibly the hippest nightlife destination to land in downtown Phoenix recently. The bar features a live music space and cocktail lounge, along with a billiards and game room.
Valley Bar brings hip, vintage vibes to downtown Phoenix — Photo courtesy of Public Domain / Pixabay
One of the most unique features of Valley Bar is that it's located in the over-sized basement space of a mid-century downtown building. Basements (and basement bars) are quite a rarity in Phoenix and the Southwest.
The dim, fully furnished space – featuring lots of warm, original woodwork – offers a cool respite from the Phoenix sunshine.
Because the venue is located underground, the entrance to Valley Bar isn't immediately obvious; you have to turn into an alley to access the main door. This, of course, only adds to the venue's coolness factor.
There's a billiards and game room with two Skeeball tables, vintage arcade games, shuffleboard, darts, pinball, pool tables and a shelf full of board games and card games.
On Monday nights, the bar hosts a free game night, where guests can enjoy a mean game of Jenga alongside specials on draft beer.
The concept for Valley Bar was developed by local concert promoter Charlie Levy, who is co-owner of the nearby Crescent Ballroom and runs Stateside Presents, one of the city's premier concert promotion groups. So you might easily guess that one of the main attractions at Valley Bar is the music hall, where local and national touring acts burn up the stage several nights a week.
The music calendar includes DJs on Tuesday nights; "Cafe Latino," featuring live Cumbia and salsa on Friday nights; and soul music late on Saturday nights.
One of the best things about visiting Valley Bar is that it gives you a real sense of Phoenix and Arizona history. The venue's cocktail lounge is known as the The Rose Room, named after Arizona's first female governor, Rose Mofford.
The drink menu features cocktails named after famous Arizona politicians, as well as more than 50 wines and seven beers on draft.
If you get hungry, Valley Bar has you covered. Local favorite Short Leash Hot Dogs operates a small kitchen in the venue, delivering a tasty array of small plates, gourmet hot dogs and their famous dessert doughnuts.
Valley Bar is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends.